Nine elderly residents living in Masonic Care Tasmania houses in Newstead have been given until the end of the week to vacate without their belongings over fears the houses could be contaminated with mould spores.
Staff door-knocked five houses on Docking Court on Wednesday to tell the residents they would need to move to temporary accommodation in Quest apartments on Paterson Street.
A further three houses were already vacant after Masonic Care did not replace the last residents, and another resident had been relocated 12 months ago due to suspected mould issues.
The residents were in shock, fearing the houses - which were built in 2011 - would need to be completely rebuilt. They doubted whether they would be able to return.
Kay and Klaus Decker, 79 and 80, bought their house off the plan, while Masonic Care retain ownership of the land. Workers had previously painted over mould in the ceiling of their premises.
Mrs Decker said they had failed to get answers from Masonic Care.
"They have to decontaminate everything in the house so we can't take anything with us," Mrs Decker said.
"I've been suffering symptoms - runny nose, runny eyes, dizziness. We went to Queensland for four weeks and the symptoms were gone, then they returned as soon as we got back home.
"We're not coming back here, we doubt that very much."
It remained uncertain whether residents could take their clothing with them as mould spores may have spread to all contents within the houses, and no timeframe for the residents' return had been offered.
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Mrs Decker said it was distressing for all involved as most were aged in their 80s.
"We were hoping to be here for the rest of our lives. I don't want to live in a retirement home," she said.
The eight houses are located on the south side of Docking Court and replaced former red brick houses eight years ago. The red brick houses on the north side of the street were unaffected.
Masonic Care Tasmania chief executive officer Jackie Howard said the organisation was being "proactive and genuine" in its approach.
"When we discovered an issue with a small number of our residential living units in Newstead we treated it with the utmost seriousness and have taken immediate action," she said.
"It is imperative to ensure our residents' health and wellbeing is protected and on the advice received from experts this week we have provided information regarding the recommendations to our residents.
"We are working individually with the residents to support them through this extremely unfortunate situation."