Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) has welcomed proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) that bring stronger protection for older renters in caravan park and residential parks. In recent years, hundreds of home owners across Victoria who thought they had security in retirement have found themselves suddenly facing homelessness as developers closed the parks in which they lived. Under the proposed reforms, residents will be able to access compensation if their parks close down and they are forced to move.
Last October, the Victorian Government made promises to the community that you would pass legislation to ‘make renting fair’ in Victoria. We wrote to Minister Foley to urge that these reforms must be introduced to parliament without further delay to give them any chance of passing before the election, and to make sure that they don’t undermine the safety and security of older Victorians.
“Our members have been calling for an Ombudsman for the Retirement Housing industry for years,” said HAAG Chair Phyll Williams. “At the moment, older residents struggle to resolve disputes with their managers in quickly, cheaply and fairly. An ombudsman is sorely needed by many residents of retirement housing.” Ms Williams called on the Andrews government to match the LNP’s commitment. “Now that the Greens and the LNP have expressed support for an Ombudsman, its time for Labor to make it unanimous. Proper protections for older Victorians should not be a partisan issue,” she said.
On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Home at Last, a specialist housing support service for older people has revealed recent data showing a sharp spike in the number of clients reporting elder abuse over the last year. Since January 2018, 63 older people have reported abuse. This number has more than doubled since the same time last year.
Home at Last, are appalled at the findings of the Inquiry into the Public Housing Renewal Program which revealed that the previous redevelopment in Kensington (a model for the current program) actually decreased the total number of Public and Community houses by 36% and the number of bedrooms by 54%, while selling off the public land for just 5% of its market value.
Ageing on the Edge is seeking to form a national network of older people who are interested in being involved in taking action to get more help and housing for older people who don’t have a secure and affordable home in retirement.