Out of Order

8 May 2019

Mr and Mrs Armstrong* live in a for-profit retirement residential park (aka ‘lifestyle’ village) located in a rural area outside of Melbourne. Mr Armstrong called up for assistance in requesting that village management complete repairs to their property. He explained that over 6 months earlier, workers hired by management had backed a waste truck into their unit and damaged the guttering on the veranda. Mr Armstrong understood that the damage wasn’t especially urgent or dangerous, but he wanted the guttering to be  fixed in a timely manner. He was concerned about the possibility of heavy rain causing the gutter to overflow and that any damage would reduce the value of their unit.

The village management said they would repair the gutter, but provided no time-frame for this. No village maintenance worker or management staff contacted Mr Armstrong to organise a time to come over and assess and repair for 6 months. Mr and Mrs Armstrong stated that between them they called the village of ce over 10 times in that 6 month period to enquire as to when they could expect these repairs to be completed. They received no repairs and no response. Mr Armstrong is a reasonable and realistic man, he understood that there may have been other urgent repairs in the village that needed to be attended to first, but the lack of communication, transparency and repairs were increasingly concerning him.

Mr Armstrong and a Retirement Housing Worker discussed what assistance would be the most effective. Mr Armstrong initially was considering submitting a compensation claim under Australian Consumer Law, but the quote required to establish losses may be been equal to the cost of the repairs - Mr Armstrong thought this would not be worth it. They decided that the best step was HAAG’s retirement housing worker contacting the village management on behalf of Mr and Mrs Armstrong requesting the repairs be completed within two weeks before further action would be pursued. The worker posted the letter but did not receive a response. Mr Armstrong and the worker decided that a follow up email to the CEO and the management was the next step to ensure the letter had been received. Fifteen minutes after this email was sent, a maintenance person attended and  xed the guttering. Mr and Mrs Armstrong were very pleased that this issue was settled promptly with the support of an advocate and they could get on with enjoying their home and retirement without worrying about future heavy rainfall or a future reduced sale price for their unit.

 *not their real name