The story behind our business
In 1995 Alice Sumption created Taunton Vale Properties Ltd by modernising and revitalising a residential property portfolio originally established by the family in the early 1960's.
In the 1960s there was little choice for those wanting rented accommodation. The choice was essentially between "lodgings" in which the tenant had a resident landlady or one of the few self contained flats that existed then. In the days prior to the introduction of Assured Shorthold Tenancies in 1988, landlords were reluctant to let self contained accommodation in the form of flats because not only were rents artificially regulated with government controls but also because tenants had permanent security of tenure. This had the effect of stifling the market through lack of supply.
1988 proved to be a watershed. The introduction of Assured Shorthold Tenancies meant landlords knew that they could now in extreme cases obtain posession. Tenants knew that they had security for the initial period of the tenancy. Things were now well balanced between landlord and tenant with the result that a lot more flats became available to rent and at the same time tenants had more choice. Rents found a natural market level through supply and demand forces, tempered ultimately by affordability. A second consequence was that tenants, with greater choice, became more discerning and would no longer accept third rate accommodation. This market force, over the last 30 years, has radically improved the majority of the nation's stock of rented accommodation.
Before Alice took over the business, facilities were modest, accommodation simple and parking was not an issue as few people ran cars. Rent was paid in cash and collected personally every fortnight. Rent books were mandatory and printed tenancy agreements rare.
How things have changed! When Alice first started to get involved in the early 1980's the main priority was to gradually get the bathrooms or showers upgraded and make the flats completely self contained. Then the new fire regulations and 'Health and Safety' issues had to be addressed which took time and a great deal of investment.
Now, after a major investment programme over the last 20 years, the entire portfolio consists of desireable comfortable and spacious self contained flats. Each is contemporarily decorated with classic bathrooms or showers and fitted kitchens. We are proud of the high standard of presentation and maintenance and this is reflected in our low tenant turnover.
The safety of our residents is paramount and consequently fire alarms, smoke detectors, heat detectors and emergency lighting are fitted throughout to the highest "L1" standard. Heating is provided by safe, economical and environmentally friendly electric off peak storage system. Residual current detectors and micro circuit breakers are provided to all circuits and tested annually.
For the future, parking will be the issue. Many flats have never had any parking or been built deliberately without it. Fortunately all our properties are well provided with car parking so this should not become an issue until all our residents become two car families!