Online agency to be sold after financial troubles come to light – Property Industry Eye

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Online rental agency Howsy is to be sold in a distressed sale after it ran into financial difficulties.

The agency, which bought former rival Upad in liquidation for an undisclosed sum in 2020 and The Happy Tenant Company last year, is said to be in the process of being sold to a major real estate agency, although it is unclear at this point which company it is.

Founded in 2016 as No Agent, a fixed-fee management service, before rebranding in 2018, the company has attracted significant investment from institutional shareholders and crowdfunding.

In the latest round of funding, the agency, which manages over 7,000 properties, raised £800,000 from investors in March last year. But it is clear that more funds are now needed.

The most recent accounts filed as of 31/12/20 show net liabilities of £3.378m, up from £188,485 in January 2020.

In a letter sent to shareholders, founder and CEO Calum Brennan confirmed that the company was to be sold.

Brennan said: “I am writing to you today to inform you that Howsy, its directors and its majority shareholders have agreed that the group will be acquired by a chain of leading estate agents.

He continued, “It was not an easy process or decision, but the board believes this acquisition is in the best interest of the company as a whole.

“This acquisition became the first way to go for the board because of the speed at which the buyer could move. This was necessitated by the company’s current cash position and the fact that we had been supported over the past six months by shareholder loans, none of which were sustainable.

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