sex work


PHOTO: ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF The tenant, who did not want to be identified, said she was generally struggling to pay for her living expenses but the rent increase pushed her into sex work.

Wellington woman Karen, who does not want to be identified, was on a sickness benefit getting $312 a week when her landlord told her that her rent was going to increase, from $245 a week to $295.

The reason, she said, was that she had been given a heat-pump in her one-bedroom Paparangi unit.

She said she had been asking for a while before the appliance was installed and had been paying power bills as high as $500 a month for the 42 square metre property.

“We were standing in the lounge and [the landlord said] this has cost us money so you’ll be getting  a rent increase. My heart sank… the clear message was ‘I am the landlord, I have the power. I can increase your rent’.”