Rents throughout the Bay of Plenty region have skyrocketed but landlords say the abuse they have faced due to the housing crisis is "appalling".
One property investor felt like a "modern-day witch" and said she would have sold up if it weren't for her great tenants. And she is not alone.
The news comes as the latest data from Trade Me reveals median rents in Tauranga have jumped $8140 from March 2016 to March 2021, or from $440 a week to $595.
In Rotorua during the same timeframe, it has spiralled by $9880 or from $300 to $490 a week.
Rotorua Property Investors Association president Debbie Van Den Broek said: "I personally feel like a modern-day witch."
"If it wasn't for my great tenants, who love their homes and have begged me not to sell, we would have sold up and spent the money on our lifestyle. The general public, government and some landlords' own families' rhetoric has been appalling."
In her view, the solution was to build more homes and any suggestion of a rent cap did not work in the 1980s and would make things worse for renters.
She said high rates, high insurance premiums and the extra compliance costs forced on landlords in the past four years had driven up rents.
Tauranga Property Investors Association president Juli Tolley said the biggest challenge was the demoralising effect of the negative rhetoric on people.
"For all the hoopla about mental health and messages of 'be kind', the language used by both the Government and media towards landlords has been anything but kind. The messages have bashed the hell out of people that dared to save and work extra to get ahead and save for retirement."
Investors provide a service and most are damn good at it, she said.
"There are a few ruffians out there that need to be brought into line, but there are laws and the MBIE compliance team to do that. Most are genuinely good people and certainly don't deserve the mental beat-up they have received."
She acknowledged rents were high but so was buying and maintaining a house.
Rotorua Rentals owner Pauline Evans said any property manager doing the job properly was part budget adviser, part counsellor and sometimes even part marriage guidance advisor.
"We are good listeners who dispense solid, commonsense replies to the myriad of different and sometimes challenging situations we are faced with day to day."
Sometimes they were in the firing line and had to ensure the remarks and hurtful comments were not taken personally and move on, she said.
The most difficult aspect of the job was the delivery of notice to vacate to long-term tenants.
"A recent case in point, the tenant became hysterical, I could not leave, the owner needed to move back into the property and unfortunately the tenant did not understand ... That could have gone horribly wrong if we had not spent time in calming the situation."
Often some owners also chose not to raise rents.
"They appreciate their tenants and recognise that the peace of mind that a happy, engaged, loyal tenant offers is worth more than a few extra dollars in the bank."
Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said the market was pumping and he had noticed people who were a better fit for government housing and social support but could not get it - were trying for anything.
"They don't care what the price is. But unfortunately, they are hard for us to house because they have bad credit or they don't have good references."
Animosity towards landlords was not new, he said.
"We have always had that because there is that tall poppy syndrome where people are jealous of others who have done better. But I like to think the tenants who come to us respect us."
McDowell Property Management Business Development manager Rhiannon Greenwood said landlords did not want to put someone into their investment property who was going to trash the place or could not afford the rent.
"Tenants are really going to have to up their game, there is no easy way of getting into a rental property now. Tenants really do have to have glowing references and little to no history of arrears."
Trade Me Property sales director Gavin Lloyd said demand for rentals in Tauranga increased by 61 per cent increase when compared with the same month last year.
"Looking ahead if demand continues to outstrip supply it is unlikely that we will see
rental prices cool off in the district."
In Rotorua he said supply would also have to catch up with demand for rents to fall and "there are no signs this will be the case anytime soon".
Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Tenancy Compliance and Investigations manager Steve Watson said by improving the quality of rental homes, New Zealanders who rent would experience improved health, as well as lower medical costs and lower levels of hospitalisations.
On Thursday Treasury officials mooted the prospect of the Government implementing rent control measures in a bid to offset the "negative impacts" of recent housing policy changes.
They are also looking into implementing a "stamp duty" – a tax property investors pay on legal documents used when a house is sold – to reduce demand in the housing market.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Arden told 1 News the growth in rental prices was not the same as the property market but "we are keeping a close eye on it".
Meanwhile the latest figures from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development reveal $2.9 million a week was handed out in the Bay of Plenty in accommodation supplements in the last financial quarter of last year.
That coincided with two Bay budget services, whose clients had accumulated more than $50m in arrears and said rising rents were a major factor.