Coronavirus and Retirement Housing - Residents questions anwered
Many retirement village residents have questions about their rights in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, so we put this factsheet together to answer some of the most common ones.
This factsheet is deliberately very broad, meant to cover a lot of different housing types. In general, we recommend communicating with your landlord or manager (in writing!) to let them know what you’re concerned about and find out what they’re doing to deal with the issue. If you need information or advice about your specific situation, please call one of the numbers at the bottom of the page.
This is obviously an extraordinary situation, and existing laws don’t cover all the issues that are coming up. We need your help to lobby the government and industry about the changes needed to protect older residents, so please also get in touch and let us know what the most important issues are that you’re facing.
They're still letting guests in???
If you have concerns that people are coming into your retirement housing who shouldn’t be, and that this could present a health risk, the first thing to do is address your concerns in writing to management. Tell them what you’re concerned about and why, and suggest any specific steps you’d like them to take to make you feel safer.
They're not letting guests in!?!
Many parks and villages are limiting access for a range of guests and visitors – and the Victorian Government’s Staying At Home directions also limit the reasons people may leave their home or visit yours. If you need someone to come to your home and management are trying to exclude them, the first thing to do is to write to management and let them know why it’s important for that person to visit, and ask them to reconsider.
They're not providing something we pay for!
Many parks and villages have had to suspend access to a wide range of common services and facilities – from dining and internet areas to hairdressers and regular bingo games. In most cases, they have been required by law to make these changes. Some residents may be entitled to a reduction of rent or maintenance charges if services or facilities have been withdrawn. Again, in the first place we recommend writing to management outlining your concerns, and asking whether they can consider reducing your fees until the services are restored.
They're threatenining an eviction!!!
As you may have heard, the federal government recently announced a six-month ban on evictions. We are still waiting on details about what this will mean and who will be covered, so retirement housing providers are still serving notices to vacate and, in some cases, evicting elderly residents. If you have received a notice to vacate or are concerned management may try to evict you, please get in touch for information about your rights.
Housing for the Aged Action Group’s Retirement Housing Advice Service can give advice to residents of caravan and residential parks, rental and retirement villages and other kinds of retirement housing. We also run a Worker Advice Line for people assisting retirement housing residents who’d like information to help your clients. Get in touch with either RHAS or the Worker Advice Line by calling 9654 7389 and pressing extension 2, or email email@example.com.
Tenants Victoria has a regularly updated guide to tenants’ rights around the coronavirus and related issues at tenantsvic.org.au. Consumer Affairs Victoria has their own guide to key housing issues at consumer.vic.gov.auresources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/coronavirus-covid19-and-your-rights.
If you need more information about the coronavirus itself and how you can best take of yourself and your loves ones, the Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus page has a range of useful information at dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
If you suspect you have the coronavirus, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.