Tauranga's rental prices have jumped up by $255 in 20 years - and looming law changes and insulation requirements could push them up even higher.
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment data released by CoreLogic showed the average rental price in January 1998 was $193 per week. But 20 years and $255 extra later, the average price in September 2018 sat at $448. This was an increase of 130 per cent.
The data is collected monthly and based on bonds lodged around the country.
But with rental law changes on the horizon and insulation requirements coming into force next year, there was every chance landlords would choose to pass on additional costs to their tenants.
The Government proposed to reform the existing Residential Tenancies Act to "make it better" for renters.
Proposed changes include scrapping no-cause tenancy terminations, taking away a landlord's right to say no to pets, limiting rent rises to once a year and extending the 42-day notice landlords must give tenants to 90 days.
Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said the average price for rentals at the agency had sat around $480 per week.
He said local rental prices had been climbing each year as demand continued to rise, but the proposed law changes would put extra pressure on landlords and tenants.
Lusby said there had been a shortage of rentals as people moving to the area were building houses to live in and rentals made up the leftover stock.
This demand had caused some Tauranga residents to struggle and when tenants missed rent payments it was hard to get back on top.
"We've almost been a budgeting advice service for some people," Lusby said.
CoreLogic senior research analyst Kelvin Davidson said Tauranga's rents had generally risen faster than the New Zealand average since 2015. The average rental price nationally sat at $189 in 1998 and was $416 in September 2018.
Davidson said this would in part reflect the popularity of the area.
Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said the rise in rental prices would be in line with the rise in property values.
Anderson said there was still a strong demand for rentals in the city but with incoming law changes he expected rental prices to continue to rise.
"Some extra compliance costs will be put on to the consumer, just like any other business."
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said at least 50 per cent of people seeking budgeting advice had an issue with high rent costs.
"We look at the complete picture of income and expenditure and due to the high cost of rent often there are also rent arrears."
Bruin said in some cases people may have had secured credit when rents were lower and now they had to pay increased rent costs.
"If incomes are not increasing then this creates a shortfall and is difficult to get on top of."
Bruin said the service worked with clients and landlords to manage repayment plans when necessary.
"We see a definite improvement on people prioritising rent payments as properties are hard to get and they want to stay where they are."
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service's top tips to stay on top of rent payments:
1. Prioritise your expenses, rent is paid first then power and food.
2. If you have a choice and don't have enough for rent and food the service can always help with one-off food assistance.
3. Set up payments automatically when you get paid so you keep on top of payments.
4. Keep your rental accommodation clean and tidy, and if you have issues talk to your landlord.
5. Avoid short-term high-interest loans to pay rent.
6. Don't borrow money unnecessarily for treats.