Council officials were warned years ago about a faulty drainage pipe that apparently caused flash fooding in West Auckland at the weekend, according to a property manager.
Residents of a Glen Eden apartment block have been left without homes or belongings for the past three days after the flood and say they want compensation.
The council says it appears the problem was caused by the collapse of an underground pipe and subsequent flooding of the stormwater system.
The property manager, Tony Teague, says the council has known about the faulty pipe for years.
"That drain was notified to the council, as I believe, three years ago with a letter saying it's got to be upgraded. Nothing has been done," he said.
During the flood, an area under the apartment building was completely inundated with water.
Structural engineers believe the upward pressure from the water caused hairline fractures in the concrete floor.
Clive Manley of Civil Defence says the pipe should have lasted a lot longer.
"It wasn't at the end of its lifetime. It's probably only halfway through it's lifetime, so there was no reason that we're aware of why it should have collapsed early."
But structural engineers assessing the building today say it is safe.
Resident Sapu Ale has no insurance and no money to clean up after the flash floods tore through the block.
His belongings are strewn on the driveway and he cannot take his washing to the laundry.
"The thing is the laundry needs money right now and we wait for the landlord or someone to give us money so we can wash our stuff," he said.
Civil Defence has given him $120 worth of food vouchers and a motel room.
"If they give us some money we help ourself," he said.
Across the road, flood damage has shut down Tony Xu's furniture business, his staffs' future now in doubt.
He says most of his employees have worked for him for over eight years and he is worried for them.
Teague says the council should be paying compensation.
"They should relocate most of these people and really basically replace what they've lost. Because at the end of the day my opinion is they should have been upgrading these pipes."
The council says it has no record of complaints about the pipe.
It hopes to know what caused the collapse before the end of the week.