A PROPERTY management firm in charge of hundreds of homes in south Essex has gone into administration.

Rylands Associates, based in Lancaster House, Aviation Way, Southend, had been the subject of legal proceedings when it ceased trading on Thursday.

The company blamed “tough trading conditions” for its closure.

A spokesman, declining to comment on the court case, said: “It is with regret that after seven years, our journey has come to an end.

“Unfortunately, Rylands Associates has ceased trading having experienced extremely tough trading conditions.

“In order to safeguard the interest of our clients, customers and staff are pleased to announce Gateway Property Management agreed to take over the majority of our business.

“Gateway is a long established company with the infrastructure available to best serve the portfolio going forward.

“Those customers who did not transfer to Gateway will be hearing directly from their landlords about new arrangements in the near future.

“We have appointed DCA Business Recovery to liquidate the company.”

A spokesman for DCA Business Recovery said: “Rylands Associates Limited has instructed us to assist with placing the company into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation.

“We are awaiting the necessary information from the director of the company in order to notify the creditors of the situation.

“Anyone who may be affected by this should contact DCA Business Recovery LLP on 01702 344558 or by email at keelyedwards@dcabr.co.uk.”

A spokesman for Gateway said: “We confirm Gateway has not taken over Rylands.

“We have however, taken on management contracts for some properties that were previously managed by Rylands.

“These new properties have been integrated into our business and we very much look forward to being of service to our new customers.”

Ayers and Cruiks has taken over properties on London Road.

At the time of closure Rylands Associates was facing a legal battle following a financial dispute with the Victoria Gardens Residents Company, run by residents of the 160 home development in Victoria Road, Southend. The legal case was being heard at Southend Magistrates’ Court and was brought by a retired London detective who also sits on the board of the residents’ company following claims funds were incorrectly diverted.