Rental nightmare as astonishing photo captures the moment after a bedroom ceiling COLLAPSES on sleeping woman
- Melissa Ware, 49, was crushed by a roof
- It collapsed while she slept at her sister’s home
- Her sister says the real estate was warned roof was sagging
A woman has narrowly escaped serious injury after being crushed by a collapsed roof while she was asleep – as the horrific incident draws attention to the dire issues faced by renters amid Australia’s housing crisis.
Melissa Ware, 49, from New Zealand, was visiting her sister on the Gold Coast last October when she awoke about 2am to a loud bang and the sensation of an ‘enormous’ weight pinning her to the bed.
In the pitch black, unable to see what was going on, she began to panic.
‘I couldn’t see anything until my sister and her husband opened the door to try to find out what the noise was, and a bit of light came into the room … they were shocked to find me laying under everything pleading for help,’ Ms Ware told the Courier Mail.
A photo taken moments after the roof collapsed shows an anguished Ms Ware crying out in pain as she laid on the bed covered in rubble – only her head poking out from beneath the debris.
Melissa Ware was crushed by a collapsed roof at her sister’s Gold Coast home in October (pictured)
Ms Ware suffered head, neck, and back injuries that required pain medication and physiotherapy.
She now struggles to get to sleep as she grapples with anxiety, nightmares, and hypervigilance in the wake of the incident.
But Ms Ware’s furious sister says the cave in could have been prevented if the landlord had sign off on much-needed repairs on the Hollywell home.
She said she had contacted her rental property manager eight months earlier about the cracking and sagging ceiling in that bedroom – but even though a maintenance worker came in to provide a quote, the issue was not addressed.
‘I kept contacting Ray White and asking them what was happening with it, but they kept saying they were waiting for a response from the landlord,’ Ms Ware’s sister, who does not want to be named, said.
‘I was calling and emailing them for months, including just before my sister came to stay with us, but no one fixed anything. And this was after us raising the issue with them at every inspection we had over the three or four years we lived there.’
After the roof collapsed on Ms Ware, the property was deemed unsafe and they moved out soon after.
The family say the damaged roof was reported to the real estate eight months earlier
The family said it was also not the only time the roof had collapsed, with falling debris narrowly missing an elderly relative in February last year- when they first reported the problem.
Around that time, Queensland was being smashed by heavy rain and flooding, with numerous reports of ceilings collapsing at homes and businesses in the state’s southeast.
Ray White Runaway Bay principal Ali Mian said the agency was sorry to hear of Ms Ware’s injuries.
‘We discovered the issues with the ceiling during a routine inspection by the property manager,’ he said.
‘We advised the landlord of the maintenance issue and had been waiting for instructions from the owner to engage a tradesperson.
‘We are sorry that someone’s been hurt in this accident. The owner is now undertaking a full repair and renovation of their property’s spare room.’
Slater and Gordon Public Liability lawyer Peter Adams said the incident showcases what can happen if tenants’ concerns are neglected.