One family of seven is back to the "degrading" struggle to find their seventh rental home in two years since shifting to Hawke's Bay.
Marama Haira is working woman who takes pride in her home and five kids. Her husband is a business owner who also works.
The family have great references but, again, find themselves struggling to find a rental in the region after receiving a 90 day notice after just one month in their new home.
Each time the search gets harder. This time is maddening.
New figures show Hawke's Bay has experienced the highest year-on-year rental price increase in New Zealand, as demand vastly outstrips an ever-barren supply of rental homes in the region.
Trade Me data shows the rental price increase in March 2021 compared with March 2020 was 13.6 per cent up, compared with a 5.9 per cent increase nationally.
Rents in the region have now reached an all-time median high of $535, Trade Me property sales director Gavin Lloyd said.
Pukeko Rentals Napier/Hastings/Havelock North rental manager Vicky Harris said the increasing prices are down to a simple supply and demand issue.
"There was already high demand last year, and this year demand is probably about 30 per cent higher."
Harris said on Trade Me there are currently 37 houses in Hastings and 40 in Napier, and in a normal market this time of year there would be "well over 100 houses available in each city".
Haira, her husband Rick, and their five children are an example of the significant human impact of that change.
The working family arrived in the region from south of Christchurch after 10 years living in Australia in 2019, expecting to be able to find comparably affordable housing.
Since then the only thing certain about their housing situation has been uncertainty.
They've moved six times, and have spent time in emergency accommodation and transitional housing.
Some of their struggle stems from the fact they had to take the landlord of the first private home in Hawke's Bay to the tenancy tribunal.
According to the tenancy tribunal order, Tara Hope attempted to charge them an unlawful $400 security fee before giving them the keys to the Flaxmere house. This was despite the fact that Haira had already paid a $1600 bond and $400 rent in advance.
The tribunal found in Haira's favour and Hope was ordered to pay Haira back the $2000, plus an additional $2000 compensation.
Haira said despite winning the case, her name now popped up in searches of the tenancy tribunal and she often had to explain it.
She has also been told by potential landlords that their family has "too many people".
In 2020 they got a home that lasted for 13 months before the landlord needed it for family. Their next and current home, which they have lived in for a month went on the market and sold in about a week after it was listed.
They've been given 90 days' notice to get out and are back out in the market, now looking for a three-plus bedroom house, in any area, between $450 and $600 a week.
They pay rent on time, have great references, their children are well behaved and Haira takes pride in her home.
But being turned down for properties feels "degrading".
"I just need to keep my babies in a stable environment.
"It doesn't even matter where; we just need a home."
Isaac James, a primary school teacher in his 30s, is also struggling to find a 2–3 bedroom rental for himself, his lawyer partner and cat.
While coming from a position of privilege that means he has no time pressure to find somewhere, James says his situation highlights just how tricky it can be to find rentals in the region.
For a month they've been applying for properties between $500 and $600 a week in Napier but think they will have to raise their budget to $650.
"As yo-pros in our 30s with good jobs it's challenging. I can't imagine what it is like for those on minimum wage, who have children or who are in temporary accommodation looking for a place."
James says "getting a job as a teacher was almost easier than the rental application process".
The "intense" process often includes multiple landlord and character reference checks, a police check, breaking down their incomes to how much they receive fortnightly, providing information about their lifestyles and asking if whether or not they smoke – which they don't.
And that's just to apply. So far, they have not been shortlisted for any properties.