A Brief History of The Trust
In 1989 a number of significant problems arose regarding the housing sector in Jersey. The property of Troy Court, having been offered to the States of Jersey, was eventually sold to a Guernsey businessman, the States (including the Housing Committee) having voted by 40 to 8 not to approve the purchase. Shortly thereafter, Troy Court tenants were presented with a potential increase in their rents of 70%. Some five months later (in June 1989) the tenants of the 96 flats at Troy Court were given notice of their forthcoming evictions.
The Housing Committee were quoted as saying that it did not want the properties at Troy Court, “…because they would have to spend too much money on refurbishment, because no new units of accommodation for local people would be created, and because many of the tenants of the flats would not normally qualify to be their tenants…” [JEP 13/1/89].
In September 1989 the tenants of Landscape Grove (40 flats) were presented with rent increases of 150%, their property also having recently been sold to a new owner. Also in September 1989 the tenants of Valley Court were advised of imminent rent increases of approximately 80%.
Thus the States of Jersey were faced with a politically embarrassing problem which they were unable to solve, principally that a large number of residents were suddenly facing large rent increases, which they would probably be unable to afford, and thus were facing imminent evictions, with no alternative accommodation apparently being forthcoming.
The solution to the Troy Court dilemma was proposed by the late Deputy John N. Le Fondré, who suggested that a Housing Association be created, that would borrow money (at a fixed rate of interest of 4%) from the States of Jersey to purchase the property, and the rents of which would be used to fund loan repayments, and maintenance. The Association would consist of a number of honorary members, with an agent to manage the day-to-day administration of the property. The idea was presented as a States loan, but one that was being made to an organisation to fund the acquisition of a large number of properties, rather than just to an individual.
On 12 December 1989 the States of Jersey unanimously backed a recommendation by the Finance and Economics Committee to lend the newly created Les Vaux Housing Association £5,600,000 to purchase the properties of Troy Court and Vale Court and thus the Les Vaux Housing Association was created.
During subsequent years, the association acquired additional properties, being Valley Court, Landscape Grove, Berry House, Leonard Norman Close and 6-7 St Saviour’s Crescent.
In October 1993 it was decided to change the name of “Les Vaux” from that incorporating ‘Association’ to one incorporating the word ‘Trust’. The principal reason behind this change was because it was considered that the term ‘Association’ was a misnomer and wrongly implied a direct comparability to the activity of housing associations in the United Kingdom.
In July 2000, the Trust acquired Perquage Court, Sandybrook, St Lawrence, principally in order to avoid similar potential problems as arose at Troy Court and more recently La Folie Estate and to maintain the security of tenure that tenants had previously enjoyed at the estate.
January 2006 saw the first tenants set up home in John Le Fondré Court (named after our founder) Victoria Street, St Helier being the first property built by the Trust.
In August 2008 the development on the site of the former Aquila Youth Club and now known as David Moon House (named after our past Chairman) was completed and occupied by tenants over the age of 55 in 26 one bedroom units. Later in that year the construction of 10 three bedroom houses were completed and tenanted at Clos Lempriere, Rue de Maupertuis, St Clement.
Following negotiations with the owner, in February 2012 we purchased the Estate known as West View, La Ville Vautier, St Ouen which had been constructed some five years earlier. It is a mixed development of 19 units but the one significant fact is that it increased our total stock of three bedroom houses from 11 to 23. Later in March 2012 we completed and tenanted an over 55 development of 14 two bedroomed bungalows at Jardin de Haut, St Mary.
In March 2018 the Trust purchased Dun Na Ri for a consideration of £1,250,000 with the assistance of a loan from the States of Jersey. The property is a Victorian four storey, town house in St Saviour’s Road which was recently converted into four one bedroom flats and extended at ground floor level to create a further one bedroom cottage and is currently leased to The Shelter Trust.
As at 31 December 2017 the Trust owned 341 units of accommodation with some 843 occupants. Since that date the Trust has acquired a further 5 units of accommodation to bring the current total to 346. The Trust also owns a retail supermarket and 3 small commercial shop units at Grands Vaux Court and 60 new units of accommodation are currently under construction at Troy Court.
The total cost of the Trust’s property as at 31 December 2017 amounted to £39.9 million (including acquisition, refurbishment and redevelopment costs), funded originally by borrowings of £32.26 million but now reduced to £11.92 million as at 31 December 2017. As a result of the Trust’s acquisition of Grands Vaux Court in 2017 and the ongoing costs in connection with the redevelopment of Troy Court, the cash reserves previously held by the Trust have now been utilised. The Trust had an overdraft of £1.09 million as at 31 December 2017, pending a new loan facility being taken out by the Trust to re-finance the property portfolio and ongoing redevelopment costs.