Housing crisis: Pregnant mum's 'five months of hell' in infested rental

'The cockroaches would crawl on us in our sleep, and sometimes I could feel them under the sheets.'

A pregnant mum has recalled the trauma of spending five months in a cockroach-infested hotel room she took in desperation after failing to secure a rental property during Australia's ongoing housing crisis.

On their first night in the $280 per week Mackay accommodation in Queensland, the woman and her husband saw the roaches coming out of the holes in the floors and walls.

"They were multiplying every day we stayed there, it was like a horror movie," she told Yahoo News.

"They would crawl on us in our sleep, and sometimes I could feel them under the sheets."

Housing crisis: The mother said the room was invested with cockroaches and that they would crawl on the couple in their sleep. Source: Supplied
Housing crisis: The mother said the cockroaches would crawl on the couple in their sleep. Source: Supplied

Also struggling with morning sickness from her pregnancy the distraught mum struggled with her mental health and would "break down" on several days. The couple raised the shocking condition of the room with the owners of the property but said they were largely ignored and told the room had been fumigated.

They were fearful of losing their bond, and desperately wanted a good reference to help them obtain a more permanent home. “I didn’t want to get on anyone's bad side, already having low income and a lack of rentals available," the mum said.

The couple tried to use bug spray, traps and baits to get rid of the insects, but nothing worked. Eventually, the emergency housing organisation that had helped the couple into the temporary accommodation found them another hotel to stay at and they left, with their bond, after five long months of “hell”.

Tenants share videos of bug-infested room

The woman shared several videos of the roach-infested hotel room to Facebook, showing the bugs running across the bedroom floor and over her husband’s clothing, as well as throughout the building’s corridors. Her social media post also included a clip of the insects inside a bucket of vomit on a day when she had succumbed to morning sickness.

“I know this is disgusting and highly embarrassing,” she posted on Facebook. “It was horrific. Trying to sleep here every night being crawled on. Everything I owned was instantly infested and had to be disposed of upon leaving. The walls had eyes and thousands of them.”

The journey to the roach-infested hotel

The woman told Yahoo News her family had been renting a private property earlier this year when the house was sold and they were given two weeks to get out. With competition from hundreds of other applicants they had struggled to find a property. After finding another private room, they discovered housemates were stealing from them. They moved again but found themselves being scammed and lost their deposit." It was getting exhausting, and more and more stressful,” the woman said.

They ended up in the roach-infested hotel as short-term emergency measure. “Upon inspection it seemed clean so we accepted that as a temporary platform until we could access a real estate property,” she explained.

Calls to ‘name and shame’ property

The traumatised woman condemned the property owners. “It literally hurt,” she said. “People are making profit off those desperate for accommodation to the point where you’re paying to live in a place with no hygiene or health.”

After sharing her post on Facebook, many people called on the woman to “name and shame” the property. “It might push them to clean up their rooms,” one person said. “I hope you contacted the health department,” another said. “This is an extreme issue and should be dealt with ASAP. No one should be living like this. We are not a third world country.”

But the woman explained she was worried naming the property might cause it to be shut down, forcing the current tenants out with nowhere left to turn.

“Some are disabled, and some are elderly,” she said. “Some have cancer and health problems, and some are shift workers. They seemed to get over it for the security of having somewhere, and others were scared that they wouldn’t find anywhere else.”

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