A Rotorua mother with two toddlers never thought it would be this difficult to find a rental home.

Willow Toon has been looking for a rental house since February for her and her children aged 2 and 4.

She said they had just switched from staying in a cabin on her friend's property to moving into the house.

Her friend's mother swapped with them because it was warmer inside for the children, who had been getting bad coughs, she said.

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She said the cabin had been small, with the children sleeping in a queen-sized bed with her.

Miss Toon said they had gone between the house and cabin at night, which had made it hard if the children needed to go to the toilet, because it was cold.

She said she was in Taihape when she first started looking for a rental. Her family were in Rotorua and she needed to move so she could have family help and support, as she was struggling with two toddlers.

A friend went and saw about 10 different rentals for her, with pricing which she probably could not afford anyway, and it had been difficult to find a property safe and fully fenced for two children under 5, she said.

"I applied for so many and probably 90 per cent didn't even get back to me, so I was left on the day I had to be out of my other house absolutely terrified of what we would do."

She said she applied for a lot of houses through TradeMe and her friend went into rental agencies.

She had been prepared to go into a one bedroom place she could afford and considered boarding with other people, even though it would not have been ideal, because she was desperate.

"It was scary as a mother not knowing where I was going to live or if we would have a roof over the kids' heads."

She could not search at the moment because the cabin had a six-month minimum rental hire so she had to wait six months, and she could not afford it at the moment.

She said a few people had told her it was difficult to find a house, but she had assumed it would not be this hard and would not take months.

At the moment her children were in part-time daycare. She said if she could get them in for more hours she could start looking for work, but that was expensive and she would possibly spend more on childcare fees than earning working.