A MUM says her hair started falling out after her home flooded with sewage, forcing her and her eight-year-old son to live in a tent.
Former army paramedic Brooke Van Der Maat, from Australia, says they were left with diarrhoea and hair loss as their house was plagued with mould and traces of faeces throughout.
Brooke says she was not told the property in Queensland had been overflown with sewage just two months before she bought it.
Within weeks of moving in, Brooke says she and her young son Oscar started to suffer because of the reported contamination
“All my hair was falling out. It’s very bad for your mental health,” she told A Current Affair.
A report from a health and safety consultant revealed faecal mater was found in multiple areas of the house – including up the walls of the kitchen and bedrooms.
“I was told that it wasn’t safe to breathe the air inside the house,” the mum added.
“It’s in the air, it’s up all the frames, it’s under the tiles, it’s basically everything inside the house.”
She says they were forced to move of the house after being told it was unsafe to live in and resorted to staying outside in a tent while bathing in a plastic tub.
After she signed to buy the house, Brooke says the previous tenant handed her photos which showed it had been swamped with sewage just two months prior – which the mum says she was not told about.
“I was told the tenant had left the tap on overnight and that’s why there was a cut out in the carpet in the rooms behind the bathroom but certainly nothing about sewerage,” she said.
But the estate agent which flogged the home to Brooke told A Current Affair: “Brooke was aware of the flooding issues prior to and after settlement.”
Brooke, who lives on her veteran’s pension, says although she has insurance on her home, her insurer won’t cover her for the damage as it happened before she bought it.
The previous owner had made a claim through his policy with CGU Insurance, who funded a laboratory report of the property.
All my hair was falling out. It’s very bad for your mental health
And the company has agreed to pay Brooke 300AUD (£158) a week to help with costs to live somewhere else.
A spokesman for CGU Insurance told A Current Affair: “Once we became aware the property had been sold, we contacted Ms Van Der Maat to check on repairs at the site.
“We have offered temporary accommodation to Ms Van der Maat on several occasions, which she has not yet accepted but this offer is still available.
“As an alternative to providing temporary accommodation and at her choice, we have provided Ms Van der Maat with a weekly payment for her rental accommodation since September 2021.
“We will continue to provide these payments (or organise temporary accommodation) until repairs are finalised on the property.”
The company confirmed a site visit has been organised for this month to assess the property so repairs can be made.