THIRTY-SEVEN seven students have been found living in a single house in Brisbane's south.
The shock discovery at Sunnybank Hills was made as part of a series of council raids on properties across the city in a bid to curb residential overcrowding.
Since July last year, Brisbane City Council has inspected more than 1000 homes and units, issuing about 180 notices for non-compliance with sanitation, planning and fire regulations. A further 179 amenity issues have been identified in just the past month.
Among the breaches of the Housing Code, garages had been converted into bedrooms and temporary Port-a-loos were being installed in back gardens to accommodate the illegal numbers of people being packed into residential homes.
brisbanetimes.com.au revealed in May foreign students were overwhelmingly the victims of overcrowded accommodation, with four young women forced to share a bed in one case.
"Previously, the most we've seen is about 19 people living in one house, so this [at Sunnybank Hills] is quite extraordinary," Brisbane Deputy Mayor Graham Quirk told brisbanetimes.com.au.
"In many cases these are overseas students being charged top dollar to live in substandard accommodation with not enough toilets or bedrooms.
"Students bring over a billion dollars to our annual economy and they spend a lot of money to get here, yet some find themselves victims of poor housing and sanitation."
Council last week passed amendments to its House Code, reducing the number of people allowed to reside in one household from six to five.
Cr Quirk said the council would continue to push for power of entry provisions to be granted to it, despite a previous refusal by the State Government on privacy grounds.
Local authorities have only been able to gain access to homes to conduct inspections with the assistance of the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, which can demand entry into private property.
The raids have resulted in a single but successful prosecution for breaches of fire safety laws earlier this year.
Cr Quirk said some overseas students were choosing to live like sardines to save cash.
"But there is no doubt some landlords are clearly profiteering from Brisbane's good reputation," he said.
"What we are seeing is organised accommodation in a lot of cases."
Individual fines for landlords can range up to $100,000 for non-compliance.
As well as "spoiling the experience" for international students, Cr Quirk said overcrowding posed serious health and fire risks.
He said improvements had been made in the past year, but warned the checks would continue.