An influx of tenants moving into the city for work or study is expected to cause more stress in Auckland's rental market.
Mangere Budgeting Services chief executive Darryl Evans said the year had barely got under way and there were already signs families were struggling to pay higher rents.
"I've already seen three families where the landlords have already told them the rent is going to be increased."
Mr Evans said some were choosing to relocate to more rural areas such as Pokeno, Mercer and Ngaruawahia in the hopes of cheaper rent.
The Auckland Property Investors' Association Incorporated (Apia) said higher rents were likely, as this month's expected influx of tenants coming to the city for new jobs, or a new year of study, pushed up demand.
It said landlords were also being forced to increase rents to cover mortgage repayments, higher council rates and the other costs that came with owning a house.
Vice-president Peter Lewis said it certainly wasn't about raking in profits as those with a "fairly ordinary, stand-alone house" spent around $4000 to $5000 a year in costs.
"The value of assets of a rental property is not as high as tenants think," he said. "The first $80 to $100 of rent tenants pay each week goes straight back out again from the landlords' pocket to meet these costs."