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PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: Rightmove CEO set to exit | Wales lettings legislation change

What next for Rightmove as CEO quits?

After six years in the top job at Rightmove, present CEO Peter Brooks-Johnson is set to leave in February 2023. Who will fill his position and what are the big challenges on the horizon?

Everyone is aware that Rightmove is the darling of the stock exchange, it sees growth every year in revenue defying all the odds, and its level of profit remains constantly high, too. Last year it made an operational profit of £226 million on a turnover of £305 million. That’s a 74% margin. A truly remarkable set of figures.

But is the timing of Peter’s departure significant? Will it be like the Bank of England, when Mark Carney, who was the governor from 2013 to 2020, bailed out leaving Andrew Bailey to deal with what will be the worst economic position the UK has seen since the 1970s? 

Peter Brooks-Johnson will step down as CEO of Rightmove

Interest rates continue to rise and the cost of living crisis deepens. Plus the residential housing sector in the UK is taking a pummelling together with other businesses in the UK. So, will early 2023, the point when the new CEO takes office, be the point that profits start to dip for Rightmove?

If fewer properties sell, fewer agents will operate, and those in play will certainly be looking keenly at their operating costs. Rightmove, which looks to increase its prices annually, may find it has to change its business model.

The bigger problem that I see for Rightmove is its relevance. By 2030, the general public, which runs most of its collective life in the digital space, through smartphones, tablets and voice assistants, will see visiting a digital billboard, like Rightmove, as a little bit ‘old fashioned.’

The truth is we now live in an app-dominated world, and with three-quarters of the world being under the age of 35 years of age, logging into a portal and searching for happiness on a very old looking interface isn’t going to do it for people doing property. 

Rightmove can publish the stats of the multi-millions who visit their site each month, yet stubbornly the amount of completed sales stays constant at around 1.25 million a year, clearly showing that people viewing pretty property pictures is not translating into a doubling of business for the estate agents who are paying for their stock to be listed. 

It will be interesting to see who Rightmove appoints. Will it be an executive from Apple or Amazon? A person with a tech background, a proven digital pedigree, or will it be someone with a different background to keep the city happy? 

Whoever it is, there has never been a better time to grow the business further. A failure to do so might consign the mighty Rightmove to oblivion as new agile upstarts look to swoop in and “eat their digital shorts”.        

PRESS RELEASE: Wales, are you ready for the changes in lettings legislation?

Lettings agents have had their hands full trying to keep up with the legislative changes that both have been and are going to come into play within the sector, especially in regions such as Wales that is perhaps seeing the most drastic changes. This is according to Paul Offley, Compliance Officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, who says lettings agents need to prepare for the changes ahead to be able to provide their landlords and tenants with the best possible guidance.

He adds that from 15 July this year, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will change how landlords in Wales rent out their properties. “Whether you are a landlord, or a letting or managing agent, the changes will affect you and it is important to understand how to implement these into your business to remain compliant,” Offley says.

“In Wales, tenancies will become occupational contracts and tenants become contract holders. Landlords will need to give their tenants six months’ notice on no-fault evictions, which cannot be served until the first six months of the new tenancy has passed. There are also changes to joint contract holders’ rights, as well as the introduction of succession rights for contract holders. “The new legislation goes through various other aspects pertaining to a rental agreement in Wales, including a property being fit for human habitation. It is important that lettings agents familiarise themselves with new changes and integrate them into the business practices going forward.”

According to Offley, The Guild will be hosting two Rent Smart Wales events for Members as well as prospects, to discuss the changes and help ensure a smooth implementation and transition. This first event will be in Llandudno on the 19th of May, and the second the day after in Cardiff on the 20th of May.

“As with any change in legislation it always brings some resistance, however, the key is to remain calm and work through the details. We will be working with our Guild Members in Wales over the coming months; helping them understand what is required and what preparations they can start to make now so that it does not have a massive impact on their businesses and their clients. Landlords and agents who are fully prepared for the coming changes will find them easier and they will be in a much better position to assist their clients adapt to the new requirements,” Offley concludes.

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Andrew Stanton Founder & Editor of 'PROPTECH-X' where his insights, connections, analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are based on writing 1.3M words annually. Plus meeting 1,000 Proptech founders, critiquing 400 decks and having had 130 clients as CEO of 'PROPTECH-PR', a consultancy for Proptech founders seeking growth and exit strategies. He also acts as an advisory for major global real estate companies on sales, acquisitions, market positioning & operations. With 100K followers & readers, he is the 'Proptech Realestate Influencer.'