A NSW Riverina mum has felt the full force of Wagga Wagga's rental crisis, after she found herself stranded in an mould-infested home with nowhere to go.
19-year-old Taylah Galvin is a single mum to seven-month-old Ziggy. Earlier this year, with the help of her dad, Ms Galvin managed to secure her first rental after weeks of searching the low-stock market.
Just months later, the mum was horrified to discover her new home was making her son sick.
"I realised there were mushrooms growing in my son's room under his cot and in the bathroom," Ms Galvin said. "Ziggy had been sick but I didn't think anything of it until then, I thought it was teething or a cold. When I went to the doctor he said he's got a bacterial infection that he thinks is from the mould."
She said while there is no dispute about her vacating the property with the current real estate agents, the scarcity of rentals means she hasn't managed to find an alternative and is still stuck in the home.
"It's not ideal, I can't use half the house and I'm paying $320 on my own for it," Ms Galvin said.
Ms Galvin who works casually and receives CentreLink payments said when she reached out to social housing she was told she could expect to wait four years for a home.
She estimates in the last month she has submitted at least 20 applications with no success despite having a clean rental history and pushing her minimum price up in an attempt to compete.
"I'm a month in front of my rent always, I always have a clean house, I try my best to give my son the best life but it feels like there's always something getting in the way," she said.
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Sonia Greentree is the head of property management at Fitzpatricks and she said lack of stock on the market is making it extremely hard for people to find rentals, regardless of their rental history.
"The rental market is still very very tight, there's not much available and still a large number of people looking," she said.
"We have great tenants who have always paid their rent on time who are struggling to find something, as well. The struggle is across the board - when you don't have availability there's lots of people impacted."
Rental vacancy in the Riverina has dipped to 0.7 per cent according to the Real Estate Institute's August report, and Ms Galvin isn't the only one who has found herself stranded.
Re/Max agent Nicole Kemp said she has heard of other vulnerable families left with nowhere to go because of the house shortage.
"I have heard of a lot of people couch surfing because they can't get anything," she said. "They're couch surfing with children because they can't find a rental property ... those living situations are not ideal for anyone, let alone children."
She added: "There's a huge shortage of rentals because of the influx of people moving into regional towns. There's more people coming then there are rentals available."
The city has struggled for 18 months with increasing rent prices and close to zero availability.
Earlier in the year, single mum Kathleen Heritage revealed she was close to despair as she too struggled to find a home for herself and her children in the current climate.
In May single mum Amanda Cain revealed she was forced to move into a tent with her children because of the lack of affordable housing in the city.