Broke ex-pats and low-income earners who can't find affordable homes are just a snapshot of Tauranga's rental crisis, experts say.
Another was a rental company with no rentals and soaring rents which have reached new highs.
The latest data from Trade Me shows rents in the city have jumped to $550 a week, increasing on the same month last year from $535, and $500 the year before - an increase of 10 per cent over two years.
Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said last week he had no properties for rent.
''We had nothing on our books to rent and it's the first time that has happened. We are having real trouble with supply.''
Now it had four houses but those were expected to be gone within days because the company had a long waiting list of applicants.
Lusby said it was getting desperate people who had returned from overseas and couldn't find or afford the rentals.
''Many of them are rushing home due to Covid and got big issues getting through quarantine and then they get to Tauranga and they have nowhere to live. There are a lot who are in the low socio-demographic that don't have much to their name.
"They are bunking down with family, friends or relations.''
The people were across the board and not just those who had been on their OE.
A three-bedroom home in Tauranga in a good location would cost about $580 compared to $550 one year ago, he said.
Simon Anderson, managing director of Realty Group Ltd, which owns Bayleys and Eves, said between 20 and 40 people viewed every rental property, showing a "huge demand" that he couldn't see slowing down anytime soon.
"If a property came up, we'd have someone straight away, on that day ... our job is to select the correct tenant for that property to look after the landlord's assets," he said.
"Sometimes people are going to miss out, that's the hard facts of rentals at the moment."
He said landlords were being "quite responsible" and "looking after tenants" by not increasing rents at the same rate property values had increased over the same time.
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Shirley McCombe said there's no room to move in the tight budgets of people already scraping by in paying for rents.
"Where is the extra [money] going to come from," she said.
"If they are already receiving the correct entitlement from Work and Income then they need to cut back on other spending. For many of our clients, their budgets are so tight there is no room to move."
Rent made up the largest cost of most of their clients and when it rises, they have to cut back in other areas, she said.
To keep a roof over their head, people are moving in with extended family, taking on boarders or flatmates, looking for cheaper places, going to foodbanks, not paying other bills or borrowing to meet the shortfall.
And there was "such a shortage" that people will say yes to accommodation they can't afford and figure out how to pay for it later, she said.
Tauranga Property Investors Association president Juli Tolley said landlords wanted tenants who paid the rent on time, took care of the property and were responsible.
In regard to rent increases, Tolley said investment property owners had been hit with a myriad of law changes over the past few years that required increased investment costs.
''When costs rise, so do prices - basic economics. Rents will continue to increase as long as costs do. An investment property must pay for itself, in the long run, to be viable. If it doesn't, most investors will sell and move on to an investment that will.''
But many landlords had either foregone a rent increase if they can afford to or have only implemented a minimal increase.
''Some are choosing to only put the rent at market rates when a tenant moves on.''
However, there were other investors that do go straight to market rent every time because they are treating their portfolio as a business ensuring to maximise profits.
''These investors typically own newer properties that are well-maintained and normally have modern fixtures. Higher standard of living costs more and demands higher rents.''
Data from Trade Me revealed the median weekly rent in Tauranga in December jumped to $550, increasing on the same month last year from $535, and $500 the year before.
The number of rentals listed onsite in Tauranga dropped by 1 per cent compared with the same month in the year prior.
The most popular rental property was a four-bedroom, $550 per week rental on Olympus Grove at Pāpāmoa Beach which had 48 inquiries in its first two days.
Trade Me Property spokesman Logan Mudge said nationwide rental supply was up 11 per cent in the year to December.
It was the highest year on year supply increase seen in recent years, he said.
"However, national demand was also up by 13 per cent year-on-year in December meaning we didn't see prices cool off as a result of increased market supply."
Mudge believed the increase in nationwide supply, yet to be felt in Tauranga, was driven by short-term rentals, and accommodation being moved to the long-term rental market due to lower demand with the borders closed.