Renters are crying foul as they struggle to find affordable properties in Hawke's Bay.

Hastings couple Alexi and Tainui August said they had been looking for a bigger rental property for their expanding family for nearly one year.

With two teenage sons, Rover the dog and a third child on the way, Mrs August said she was frustrated they couldn't find a bigger rental in their price range.

"Obviously we've been pushing more actively since we found out about the pregnancy. It's more urgent that we have more room, with two teenage boys too.

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"The only affordable places we've found within our price range have been in Flaxmere or Camberley. Anything that is in a better area is way out of our price range; 400 to 450 for a three bedroom place."

She said both she and her husband worked full time in retail and horticulture respectively, and were not entitled to help from Housing New Zealand.

"It's frustrating and disheartening, especially with my hormones. I'm just getting really upset every time we get an email back saying Trade Me listings have closed or you go to look at one and it says they're not accepting any more applications due to the ridiculous demand."

However a Hastings landlord, who did not wish to be named, said he was sceptical about the rental shortage "hype".

Having recently put a freshly renovated, three bedroom property up for rent in Flaxmere, he said it had 2000 views in five days on Trade Me.

"We had about 100 people get in touch within a couple of days and after sending out third party internet forms only 20 people got back to us. Of those, only about 10 people filled the form in properly.

"So if you've got 100 people saying they're in desperate need, but they can't fill out a form, that's where I wonder about some of the hype."

The Hastings man said applying for rentals was akin to applying for a job in the sense that applicants should be putting their best foot forward.

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Landlords struggled to find suitable tenants, he said.

"You've got to be someone we can trust with our money. Another way to put it is if you would lend someone your car for a week. For a lot of people a house is their asset and there's a lot of risk with it."

Kylene Fister, 49, said she and her husband Steve were living with her elderly mother after struggling to find a rental in Waikato, and now Hawke's Bay, since moving back from the United States in 2014.

"It was difficult to get a rental there but coming back to Hawke's Bay to be closer to mum is just ridiculous. They have open homes for rentals that are like open homes for houses, and you're competing with 30 or 40 people."

After being served a notice at their last rental property the couple had now decided to take a financial risk and dip into their retirement savings to buy a plot of land in Otane and a house to move on to it, she said.

Hard work and many sacrifices were needed to buy a home and get out of the rental market, the Hastings landlord said.

"Some people forget that to own a property you've got to work hard to get that money, it doesn't just happen. You've got to make a lot of sacrifices.

"We were never given any money, we've worked for every cent and made sacrifices to try and get the money that we needed. That's why we're in the position we're in now; because we had the discipline to save money. You don't own a house because you're entitled to it."