In Victoria a number of advocacy groups are campaigning for a special Ombudsman to administer complaints against the retirement housing sector, including residential parks.
The Consumer Law Action Centre (Victoria) has reported older people routinely calling for advice about unfair fees, complex contracts, bullying and intimidation. Sound familiar? Some of these issues are what we regularly hear about from park residents.
Retirement housing, or housing targeting older people falls under a number of different laws in Victoria, as it does in NSW. The idea behind a special Ombudsman is that one body would have oversight over all of the different types of housing.
In NSW we are seeing a huge expansion in residential parks targeting older people and there are often calls for greater regulation and oversight of the retirement village industry. So, would NSW also benefit from a special Ombudsman?
Amelia Christie from the Combined Pensioners & Superannuants Association (CPSA) believes that a NSW Ombudsman able to deal with issues arising in retirement housing could be worthwhile: “CPSA hears from far too many people who have been duped by the retirement housing sector. Unfair contracts, neglected maintenance and services, and rapidly increasing fees that weren’t explained are far too common place.”
“Right now people have limited avenues to take to get these issues rectified. CPSA would welcome the introduction of a housing ombudsman to keep the sector in check.”