Prospective tenants are struggling to save enough money for bond payments as rents rise.
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said it had become a constant struggle for clients to find up to four weeks' rent payable as a bond.
As rent costs rise, so too does the bond amount needed to move into a new rental property and she said the situation had become so acute, potential renters had often been forced to borrow money from friends and family for a bond.
"We can help them out with food parcels but we have to see people putting that money aside for a bond," she said.
Those strapped for cash had indicated bonds could be a stumbling block to renting a home - even if they were in a position to afford the rent.
Mrs Bruin said clients were referred to Work and Income if they needed assistance with a bond, which then had to be repaid.
The Bay of Plenty Times reported last month the average cost of renting a home in the Western Bay had risen across the board - average rents had increased in Mount Maunganui by $15 to $385 while in the Kaimai/Te Puke area they had gone up by $10 to $295.
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment figures show 7757 active Tauranga bonds worth more than $7.5 million - with any interest belonging to the Crown. In 2012/13, there were 11,662 active bonds valued at $11.2 million.
Tauranga Rentals business manager Dan Lusby said bonds had gone up because rents had increased. The average rental on a three-bedroom home of $350 could result in a $1400 bond, which some people could not afford.
He said, however, many people already had bonds in place, which could be transferred.
Garden maintenance business owner Ross Marsh moved from Auckland to Papamoa three weeks ago with his wife Stacey. They paid $1410 in bond and a $470 letting fee which was the equivalent to one week's rent. They found it to be an expensive move because they could not transfer their bond from one property to another.
"That was really annoying and frustrating because we had to get the money together, which was a struggle," Mr Marsh said.
Emma Jones and her boyfriend paid $1700, including a letting fee of $340, for their three-bedroom home in Bureta.
Miss Jones said it was a stretch, despite dipping into their savings.
The cafe assistant said she was planning to study fulltime next year and might have to get a flatmate to help out.
Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services, said the bond, normally equivalent of four weeks' rent on a property, was a fair price.
"In general, what tenants are moving into is a significant asset which the landlord wants not just a return in investment but also wants the house looked after, and, if they are a good landlord it will be well maintained too, so the bond is a reflection of the value of an asset and there is always a degree of risk with tenants occupying a house."
Ministry lead communications adviser Victoria Evans said Section 127 (7) of the 1986 Residential Tenancies Act allowed all interest income from the Residential Tenancies Trust Account to be treated as MBIE revenue.
Average market rent
• 3-bedroom home Mount Maunganui - $384
• 3-bedroom home Papamoa Beach - $371
• 3-bedroom home Bethlehem/Otumoetai - $364
• 3-bedroom home Pyes Pa/Hairini/Welcome bay -$357
• 3 bedroom home Tauranga Central/Greerton $337
- Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment