Renters and landlords need to read this… 68



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Seniors who rent their home are becoming increasingly afraid of asking for repairs for fear of being evicted by their landlord in community housing, strata title and residential parks, according to new research by the University of Western Australia.

In shocking findings, older tenants are being bullied by their landlords and forced from their homes, leading to an increase in homelessness in over 60s in Australia.

This is a critical issue as we should be able to feel confident and safe in our own homes and reserve our right to tell our landlord about any issues that arise. Surely there are laws in place… how can they just evict seniors on the grounds of maintenance? Well, in Western Australia particularly, there is no statutory regulation of ‘assets for care’ arrangements, nor are there strict policies on how powers of attorney are governed. This means seniors could be at risk of losing their home thanks to a loophole in the system that is meant to protect them.

In some cases older people can be evicted on a whim, and the study also found that there was horrible bullying of seniors via landlords, management and other residents when the renters asked for repairs. This fear was most common in boarding or lodging accommodation, where seniors have little or no legal protection despite numbers of over 60s looking for a place to stay.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the need for homelessness services by over 55s increased by 14 per cent in 2012 and 2013, and largely because of evictions and lack of support to maintain their homes.

The focus groups in the UWA study were seniors, their family and friends, government and non-government organisations and agencies working with seniors and in the housing area. Lead researcher, Professor Eileen Webb, said that “As people age, housing security is of considerable importance and the downside of the changing economic circumstances was, in our view, falling disproportionately on older people”.

So why don’t we have more protection for our seniors in this housing? It is a misconception that all seniors are living relaxing lives in a retirement village, or have paid off their home, but in reality, 28 per cent of all Australians rent their home or accommodation.

Even if you are protected by a tenancy act, you can be made to feel bad for mentioning a problem with the place you pay to live in. It is not your fault if something is impeding on your quality of living. Clearly we need landlords to have understanding of issues facing seniors and we also need our governments to make more legislation to protect the basic rights of us all.

What do you think should be done? Have you had an issue with your landlord? What happened? Tell us below.

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  1. This is terrible wake up Western Australia change this law

    1 REPLY
    • I rented in regional WA for many years & mostly it was a positive experience….. But you must know your rights & responsibilities as a tenant…. Try to keep it as you would your own home…(it is)
      Landlords also need to remember that they have rights & responsibilities as well. Your tenants are paying your mortgage (in most cases) & if you would not live in a property, do not expect others to do so.

  2. Landlords only want to make money so are not interested in doing repairs. This is also true of government housing. A lot of people are paying for substandard housing. Greed wins every time

    5 REPLY
    • Please beware of generalising….. this might be the case with MOST landlords but it is not the case with all. I know because I am one ….

      1 REPLY
      • I totally agree Sue – there are MANY landlords out there who are miserable and mean, but there are also many tenants out there who have absolutely no respect for the property they are renting. That’s not to say that that applies in this story. I am a landlord and I would NEVER evict anyone who needed genuine repairs to their property.

    • Don’t think it’s ok to generalise as not all landlords don’t like doing repairs, it is their property and looking after it would be in their interest in the long run – although there are a few who are in it for the money I wouldn’t say it’s the general rule.

    • I agree. I too am a landlord and I like my tenants to live in a home that is well looked after to a high standard. We attend to repairs immediately and we also do regular maintenance. We are not wealthy. I am fortunate that my husband is a good handyman so that most jobs can be done by him. When it comes to gas/electric though, we only hire professionals both for safety reasons but also because you can void your insurance if you don’t.

    • Very pleased to hear there is still some landlords out there that do the right thing. Good tenants deserve good landlords. Bad tenants make it hard on the rest of us.

  3. That’s what your politicians are for. The more this is out in the open the more chance of it being corrected. You don’t need this at any stage in your life. So traumatic.

  4. wow that is really bad, why are they not legislation to change this? No matter what State you live in they are supposed to Govern for all citizens.. not just the young

  5. Fortunately I have a great landlord who has no hesitation in fixing any thing wrong. Is it any wonder I have stayed here 20 years.

    9 REPLY
    • I am 72years old. Think I will die before her,and she has told the real estate that the house will not be sold while I am a tenant.

    • I have rented out a bungalow, to various tenants, over many years.

      Always promptly repair anything that crops up. However, have rarely had it left as spotless – when a tenant leaves – compared to how clean it is, when they move into the bungalow! Ceilings and walls, cupboards (insides, too), benches, oven, window and door frames, doors, windows (both sides), plus whole bathroom, all MOST THOROUGHLY cleaned/disinfected, then carpet steam-cleaned.

      TWICE, in a row, had tenants who left absolute FILTH AND MUCK behind, each time leaving ME to fill SIX very large, orange, heavy-duty GARDEN BAGS with this vile mess and take it to the tip in MY car! Bond did not cover the cleaning, tip fees and vacancy – lack of rent – while advertising, ‘screening’ prospective tenants, etc. ‘Screening’, even by an agency, is a very LOOSE term, I have discovered! The owner is NOT as protected as you might think!

      I have had similar results, whether going through an agency or advertising it myself!

      There ARE about five tenants, two of whom became, and remain, firm friends of my family, for whom I would write a reference without hesitation!

    • Meant to add that, even when a tenant has stayed for a few YEARS (even FIVE), I have NEVER increased their rent. A good tenant is an absolute joy, especially living on my 1/2 acre property in a lovely garden setting!

    • If you have read any of Diane Star-wisher’s other comments Sandra and Sue you will see she really is a nasty piece of work.

    • Sandra for 11yrs (when I was married) we rented a house .. owned by the country roads board as it was known then .. they came to inspect it and said they didn’t want us to shift as the house was always clean.. except for wear and tear like floors were only given 1 coat of stain and all house only had 1 coat of paint in insides.. that house was left in a very clean condition all cupboards were cleaned and stove was immaculate .. when we bought this house it was filthy.. took me days to get the much out of the cupboards.. wish I had looked in there before we transferred the money..

    • when I my daughter was looking for a place to rent I told her to give me the keys to take back to the estate agent when she asked what did I think of the place.. I said well I not going to beat around the bush.. I wouldn’t let my dog live there rat shit all in the stove.. cupboards need ripping out…and the cracks in the walls all need fixing.. that kitchen was bloody disgusting u expect ppl to pay rent to live in there??? u can shove that place where the sun don’t shine.. I made sure there was others in that place looking to rent also.. absolutely filthy and dam disgusting

  6. Each state has it’s own legislation on rental properties. Most states you are well protected. However, it is up to the tenant to take the necessary action.
    They can join the Tenants Union at a very minimal yearly fee and they will get help to take these issues to the Small Claims Trubunal. Or they can contact the Residental Tenancies Authority in their state for assistance. A number of states also have Tenants Advocacy Service to help them.
    It’s a matter of asking for the help. Hard, I know. But you can’t get help if you don’t ask. And if you don’t ask, then no one knows you are having a problem, so they can’t offer to help.

  7. Lobby your state MP’S form groups and badger them till they change the laws, getting old does not seem to have many lurks and perks, someone is always trying to have a swipe at us

  8. I am a renter I have asked for and received repairs done. The fact that some privite landlords are not maintaining their properties is will cost them BIG $’s in the long run.

  9. I’ve heard of this type of situation in SA. Older people, especially those who are frail, being treated with disdain in community housing and their lives being adversely affected.

    1 REPLY

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