Desperate tenants struggling to find a home are offering landlords more than the advertised weekly rent and pet bonds to get a roof over their heads.
Some of the sweeteners offered are at odds with the Tenancies Residential Act, but experts in the industry say the housing crisis is pushing people to new extremes - and on occasion, unsuccessful applicants have become abusive.
Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said "people are desperate and will do just about anything, which is sad".
However, potential tenants who wanted to increase the rent would only drive up prices.
"We have had it in our office where people wanted to pay more but we can't auction off a rental ... and I think it is a horrible thing to do to people."
On February 11, revolutionary tenancy law reforms would come into force.
Tenancy Services national compliance manager Steve Watson said landlords could not invite or encourage rental bidding and they could be fined $1500 if they did.
However, prospective tenants could choose to offer to pay more than the advertised rental price, and landlords could accept, he said.
Bonds were also capped at four weeks' rent and any additional bond could not be added for keeping a pet.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment could not break down its complaints to rental auctions and pets.
Tauranga Property Investors Association president Juli Tolley said she had also heard of tenancy applicants offering more money.
"If there is reason to consider additional funds such as additional occupants to cover the increased wear and tear on a property, then some landlords may take that into consideration, but it usually is not a deciding factor.
"First and foremost is determining if the applicant will pay on a timely manner and take care of the property."
Showing up to viewings on time, references outside of family members and good credit history would help potential tenants and "character speaks volumes".
On the flipside, landlords had been abused by applicants who weren't successful.
"This behaviour does nothing to help secure a property. For example, we had a woman come into our office last week virtually accusing us of refusing to rent to her because of how she looked."
Rotorua Property Investors Association president Debbie Van Den Broek said she had just rented a property which attracted 34 applications.
She whittled that number to eight and three people didn't show up. One offered more rent and one offered less, she said.
"I disregard that because I don't really suppose it makes any difference. If you are a tenant and rock up, clean, tidy and punctual and you can look the person in the eye, there is a good chance you will be in the top 10 per cent."
Van Den Broek said most of her tenants had pets and she had never charged for that.
Simon Anderson, managing director of Realty Group Ltd, which owns Bayleys and Eves, said when demand outstripped supply in property it "causes people to do funny things".
''Some of these people are desperate for a home for their families and because of the shortage of properties available for rent, of course, they are going to look for an angle to beat the system, but at the end of the day all of our property managers are there to do is to engage with the owner of the property to protect their investment.
''They do this by getting the best tenant they can into their property who have a good track record with good references to make sure they look after it and don't cause problems for the landlord."
The latest data from Trade Me shows the median weekly rent in Tauranga in November jumped to $560, a 7 per cent increase on the same month last year. In Rotorua over the same timeframe, the median rent was $450 compared to $440.
At the time, Trade Me Property spokesman Logan Mudge said the Bay of Plenty had a stand-out month, with the median weekly rent reaching a new record of $535.