Tauranga is facing a rental shortage that is leaving quality tenants without a home - and the situation is likely to get worse.
A Papamoa mother viewed 14 rental properties in six weeks without any success until she found something suitable after having to vacate the home she had rented for a decade.
Telessa James was given 42 days to move out of the home she had rented for 10 years in January because the landlords wanted to move back home after living in Australia.
"It was very stressful as my partner had gone back to work after the Christmas holidays so was all on me," James said.
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James' situation is all too familiar in Tauranga, which has a rental shortage that property managers say is getting worse and leaving quality tenants without a home.
It took six weeks and 14 applications before the 34-year-old found a three-bedroom Papamoa rental for $500 a week. The family moved in during the weekend.
"Not much notice at all was horrible," James said. "So [it was] such a relief when I finally got the call to say we had been finally offered a house."
James started looking for a rental on January 8 and wanted something close to Papamoa where her two children attended school and daycare. Her budget was $500 a week.
The mother-of-two said she viewed 14 rentals before the family was finally accepted for a rental in Papamoa for $500 a week on February 12.
James believed the reason it took so long to find a rental was because of the competitive market and said it was "very overpriced" to rent in Tauranga.
"[There are] so many other people out there trying to find homes too," she said.
Finding a rental had made it difficult for James to be able to afford her own home.
"With the price of food, power and everything thing else it's hard to get ahead," James said. "Everything goes up but your wages."
Rental prices in the Bay of Plenty increased 7.1 per cent from January 2017 to January 2018, according to the latest Trade Me Property Rental Index.
The median weekly rent in the Bay jumped from $420 in January 2017 to $450 in January 2018 - slightly dearer than the $395 median rent in January 2016 and more than $100 dearer than the $340 median rent in January 2015.
The most popular rental in the Bay in January was an Oceanview Rd property that attracted 62 inquiries in the first two days of listing.
Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said "there certainly is" a rental shortage in the city, which has been progressing since the start of the year and will likely get tougher.
"We've had a couple of really good tenants come through who have been missing out and missing out," Lusby said.
This followed the market flattening off between June and December last year when there seemed to be a lot of new houses becoming available, but those had since dried up.
Lusby said tenants were not choosing to move but owners were either moving back in or selling properties.
He said an average of about 350 homes were usually rented out every month in Tauranga, but in the last few months, there were about 230 rental properties being advertised.
Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said the Bay of Plenty was one of the top five regions in New Zealand for popular rentals.
More Aucklanders were looking for rentals in the Bay of Plenty, Jeffries said.
"It is treated as a halo area," he said. "Many people move to the Bay for the lifestyle."
Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust director Tommy Wilson said the rental shortage was a problem that was not going away soon.
"What we have seen is, because this time of year it gets colder, people might have been bunking in the garage or possibly sleeping in tents and people are wanting to migrate indoors," he said.
Wilson said he had not seen a drop in the number of people needing emergency housing in Tauranga.
"Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust has housed 40 families all over Tauranga and helped about 60 families into long-term accommodation in the past year," he said.
Bay of Plenty's median weekly rent:
Jan 2015: $340
Jan 2016: $395
Jan 2017: $420
Jan 2018: $450