A Tauranga mother has transferred her daughter to another school after she struggled to find a rental property in the same area.
The woman - who did not want her name published due to privacy reasons - said she and her teenaged daughter had to move out of their rental “due to circumstances beyond our control”.
She found a new rental in another suburb within two weeks, but the move meant her daughter would be starting at a new school in the new year.
“If you’ve got kids, there’s all these other factors that come into it.”
It comes as a local rental expert says some tenants are having to sacrifice “a lot” in order to secure a home, such as giving up pets or moving their children to new schools.
The latest Trade Me figures, for November, put Tauranga’s median weekly rental price at $640 - up seven per cent when compared with the same month last year. In October, Tauranga’s median weekly rent hit an all-time high of $650.
Speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times, the Tauranga mother said “panic” set in when she was given two weeks to move out of her rental.
“I applied on every rental agency’s website [...] and literally, you turn up to places with like 15 other people.”
She was unsuccessful for all of them, despite having “great references”.
Being a cat owner also made it difficult to find a rental, with some landlords offering her a home provided they got rid of their cat.
But the cat was “part of the family,” she said.
“Some [houses] were really lovely, but some were just, like, the prices they were asking for rent were not up to par with the standard of houses.”
As “the clock was ticking”, she put a post on Facebook saying she was looking for a rental.
Eventually, someone messaged her saying they knew someone who had a house available to rent.
“And it was amazing. I met my landlord, she was really great, and I could basically move in straight away.”
She and her daughter have been living in their new place (which is cat-friendly) since December 14.
However, she said moving costs and rental prices were “just ridiculous”.
She said it was “not a biggie” that her daughter had to move schools.
“But when you’re looking at people that are desperate for rentals, they’ve got to look at the schooling and everything like that.”
Tauranga Rentals principal officer Dan Lusby said tenants having to move children to new school or give up pets was “constant”.
Tenants were having to work their lifestyles around the location of the home, he said.
“We have people starting in Welcome Bay and ending up in Brookfield or Bellevue or somewhere like that, and the kids do have to change [school], or they’ve got the extra expense of having to run the kids backwards and forwards to their old schools.”
Lusby said it was “not as bad” as it used to be for pet owners.
“There are still a lot of owners who insist on having no pets, and if the tenant wants the property, they’ve got to oblige.
“They’ve got to sacrifice a lot, some of them, just to move. It’s forced on some of them, with houses being sold or owners moving back in, and they’ve got no choice.”
Lusby said there was a “major shortage” of rental properties.
“We’ve still got way too much demand for what we’ve got available.”
Property Brokers’ Bay of Plenty property manager Abby Blain said it was seeing strong demand for rental properties in Rotorua, Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty.
“We are constantly contacted by prospective tenants desperate to find accommodation.”
Blain said it was starting to see a gradual increase in properties moving to the rental market, where the owners were either unable to sell their property in the current climate for the price they were expecting or needing, or they were specifically wanting to hold onto their asset, rent it and go overseas.
Trade Me property sales director Gavin Lloyd said the Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Wellington regions were tied as the most expensive regions to rent, with all three seeing a median weekly rent of $600 in November.
New Zealand rents remained at an all-time high in November, with the regions seeing prices jump while they dropped in the main centres, according to the latest Trade Me Property data.
Lloyd said the national median weekly rent was $580 for the second month in a row in November.
“However, if we take a closer look at the numbers, there was a lot of variety around the country, with most of the regions seeing rents boom, while Auckland and Wellington saw no year-on-year growth.”