Writing heartbreaking pleas, preparing tenancy "CVs", offering to pay higher than the listed rent, and references for pets are some of the lengths people are going to in a bid to secure a rental property in Rotorua.
Hopeful Rotorua renters are being urged to get organised and prepared as demand for homes skyrockets and an increase in savvy Aucklanders puts pressure on the local market.
LJ Hooker principal Stephen Pepper said there was pressure right across the property market and much of that was due to an increase in people - especially Aucklanders - moving to Rotorua.
He said some coming from out of town were better prepared and with the current market, more pressure was coming on the renters to prove they would be good tenants.
It comes as the latest Trade Me figures show the weekly median asking price for rentals in Rotorua is now $310, 11 per cent up on the same time a year ago.
Data showed listings are also being snapped up faster than the same time a year ago - with the average time on the site for Rotorua listings dropping from 22 days to 15.
Mr Pepper said some prospective renters were turning up to view properties armed with "almost a CV" which included references and credit checks.
Some prospective tenants were even getting employers or families to act as guarantors for them, Mr Pepper said.
"If you are going to be a tenant it's almost like you need to learn how to be one."
Mr Pepper said at the moment his agency had three properties available in Rotorua, with 30 applications ready to go - not including those with problems in tenancy or checks.
Professionals McDowell Real Estate Rotorua owner Steve Lovegrove said "absolutely" people were finding it difficult to find properties.
He expected rents to continue to increase, as landlords were becoming more aware of the shifting values and looking at returns.
He said the increase in people moving to Rotorua saw a different set of people becoming renters, including people who had relocated but weren't able to find a house to buy, and those in between properties.
"People who wouldn't normally rent are becoming renters."
Professionals McDowell property manager Sarah Hart said people were going to extra lengths to get themselves noticed.
She said there were cases of people offering to pay more than the listed rent to get into homes.
Ms Hart said one property rental she had listed at the moment had about 60 people registered for a viewing, while another at $500 per week attracted about 20 viewings.
"Six months ago anything over $500 per week would have been difficult."
Tenants were doing whatever they could to give the best impression to landlords, who often had a stack of tenancy applications to choose from.
She said those with pets especially were encouraged to get "pet references" from previous landlords.
Rotorua Rentals co-director Richard Evans said each house his company advertised garnered between 15 and 20 emails.
He said the high demand had led to an increase in "heartache stories" attached to applications.
"It is quite fascinating to see a rise in applicants writing stories about what nice people they are and how desperate they are for a nice, clean, dry home. You do feel for them because it is just so hard to find a nice home."
Mr Evans said he encouraged people to check real estate websites daily, apply for properties quickly and be organised.
"A property will be advertised on Monday, we'll have applicants through on Tuesday and have it tenanted by Wednesday. On that Wednesday we are getting emails from people wanting to view the house and we have to tell them 'sorry, we've already filled it'. People looking for a rental need to be organised, fill out applications and be checking websites daily."
On the Rotorua Daily Post Facebook page, readers have shared their difficulties in finding a suitable rental property.
"Not only is it still ridiculously hard trying to find a place, it's even harder trying to outlay the deposit to try and secure it. Basically you need to be a millionaire," one person wrote.
Another said she was turned down for a number of properties before finally securing one, after being employed full time.
Tips to nab a rental:
* Get references off past landlords - especially around your pets if you have them.
* Have all paperwork ready to go
* Talk to all agencies
* Register for as many as possible
- Additional reporting Stephanie Arthur-Worsop