Auckland Council has confirmed that several of the garages rented out by so-called property manager Debbie Iskandar do not have the necessary building consents or permits for people to live in and are, therefore, illegal conversions.
Tenants have told Newshub that Work and Income recommended Ms Iskandar for rental accommodation, and in some cases staff even gave them her business card.
One tenant said that Work and Income paid her $2000 bond for the illegal garage conversion she rented off Ms Iskandar and she paid more than $400 a week for it.
Ngareta, a former tenant of Ms Iskandar’s, said she went to Work and Income to ask how to get on the waiting list for a state house.
“They told me if it was really urgent to ring that number and they gave me her card.”
She ended up renting two different garages from Ms Iskandar. Auckland Council has confirmed neither have any consents or permits for people to live in.
Ngareta said her benefit was $324.10 a week, including her accommodation supplement, and she paid $280 of that each week to Ms Iskandar for her half-share of the garage rent.
She believes Work and Income should not be recommending the property manager saying “she is just ripping people off”.
Another former tenant, Jacine Greaves, who rented an illegal garage conversion from Ms Iskandar, says she also had part of her benefit and accommodation supplement paid directly to Ms Iskandar by Work and Income at her own request.
It means Ms Iskandar is receiving thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for illegal and dubious rentals.