A firm described as one of the country’s 20 best small estate agencies has closed both of its offices.
Estate Agent Today has been unable to contact Hayes - which has offices in Ledbury and Monmouth - but local newspapers claim both branches are shut and the 16 staff have been made redundant.
The agency’s website is still functioning without any suggestion of a closure, and the telephone messages suggest business as normal, allowing callers to leave messages.
The agency handled the sale of Donnington Hall to actress Liz Hurley for a reported £6m price tag in mid-2012. Six months later it was described in the Daily Telegraph as one of the country’s leading small agencies, with this review in the newspaper: Increasing profit margins during a downturn is no small achievement. Colleen Hayes, who opened her office nine years ago, puts it down to “staff willing to work six days a week to win and satisfy customers”. She sells country houses and equestrian estates from £400,000 to £3 million, and has earned a reputation as the go-to agent in the area.
However, the Hereford Times local newspaper says Hayes is now in administration and quotes an anonymous former employee as stating: "We are all not getting paid for the last month.”
Hayes opened in Ledbury in 2004 concentrating on mid- to high-end properties in the Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and Shropshire areas. Its Monmouth office opened in 2013.
The Hereford Times claims the sales of the business will be handled by Harrison's Business Recovery and Insolvency Specialists.