Boettcher Law Pro Bono Negotiations on behalf of Retiree and Elderly Mr Fluffy Homeowners

In response to the recent Mr Fluffy saga affecting many Canberra based homeowners, Boettcher Law is pleased to provide services free of charge for retirees and the elderly who want to stay in their Mr Fluffy affected homes.

The scope of our pro bono services

Boettcher Law intends to negotiate with the Asbestos Taskforce for certain concessions that would allow retirees and the elderly to continue living in their homes while simultaneously being allowed to enter the Buyback Program.

We believe that this group of people (retirees and elderly) have a reasonable chance at receiving such concessions from the Asbestos Taskforce given their unique circumstances. Individuals within this group are also more likely to suffer adverse health and social consequences through the current operation of the Buyback Program.

Our proposal for an alternative surrender deed

We hope to bring about these concessions by negotiating with the Asbestos Taskforce for an alternative surrender deed.

The way in which this alternative surrender deed would operate is that individuals who fall within our class would be given the option to sign it instead of the present surrender deed. Once signed, the deed would have the same effect as the present surrender deed but its effect would be delayed.

Instead the alternative surrender deed would have an additional provision that delays both the date the surrender sum would be paid and the date the property would be surrendered. The delay would be until such time that the homeowner no longer resides in their home, either as a result of their passing or their choosing to leave their home and live elsewhere.

The effect of this clause would be that those who signed it could live the remainder of their years in their home.

Other options that could be investigated with the Taskforce

  1. Assistance payments from the Territory to meet asbestos management requirements from July 2015 onwards;
  2. Options to access an early payment under the surrender deed, should the owner’s living requirement change suddenly and they need to transition into alternate accommodation;
  3. Options to access early part payments under the surrender deed to assist in meeting urgent expenses.  

What we are doing in the near future

We have organised the following times to meet at the Eastlake Football Club in Manuka:

Friday 6 February 2015 at 6pm; and

Thursday 12 February 2015 at 6pm.

The address is 3 Oxley Street Canberra ACT 2603. All are welcome to attend, even those who do not feel they would fall into our class of individuals.

During this meeting we will discuss whether people are happy with our proposed ideas and whether they have any thoughts on how these ideas could be improved. After these meetings we will meet with the Asbestos Taskforce to begin negotiations.

How you can help us and our group

Due to the fact the ACT Government has not intentionally released the list of Mr Fluffy homeowners to the general public we have had difficulty coming into contact with members of our proposed group.

Retirees and the elderly are typically not the most avid users of social media so it has been difficult coming into contact with them through these means as well.

Rory Markham, Special Counsel at Boettcher Law, has appeared on a couple of radio segments and we have a friendly contact at the Canberra Times that may help us get a newspaper article out. However, as it stands, we have met only a fraction of those we hope to meet.

If you are aware of any retirees or elderly individuals that want to stay in their Mr Fluffy affected homes please pass on our contact details or tell them about our meeting.

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