A young solo mother of two believes she is being "discriminated against" after being rejected for 52 rental properties in the Western Bay.


She has to be out of her current rental home today and is now hanging her hopes on one last application before her family are left homeless.

Saxon Stempa's story is the latest in a series looking at the chronic shortage of rental properties in Tauranga. Figures from Trade Me show the number of rentals listed for the city dropped 30 per cent in 2014 while the median price had increased 21 per cent.


The 22-year-old has been living in her Mount Maunganui home for one year but on February 13, her landlord asked her to move out because the owner planned to move into one of the flats and was putting the rest of the block on the market.

Since then, Miss Stempa says she has applied for 52 rental homes across the Western Bay.

She believed her trouble finding a home may have been because she was a young Maori mother relying on government benefits.

"I feel like I'm discriminated against ... I've had viewings in just about every suburb and not been successful.

"I've got two children, I'm Maori and I'm young, I think that straight away they just assume bad things about me."

One potential landlord had told Miss Stempa he did not want to rent to her because her young children would wreck the house, she said.

"There are a lot of people in the same situation as me, young mothers and mothers in general, struggling to find housing for them and their children.

"I want people to have a little bit of heart to help mothers with children."


Miss Stempa said she was well prepared with everything she knew she would need, including good verbal and written references, proof of income and identification.

"I was perfectly prepared every time.

"I know it's a privilege to be accepted for a home but at the end of the day, people need housing."

When Miss Stempa's youngest child turns 1 in August, she hopes to be able to return to her job in construction that she left when she fell pregnant and said she could not wait to be back in work again.

Miss Stempa was to look at a property today and hoped she would get the house otherwise she and her children would be forced to stay at a friend's house.

Miss Stempa's landlord, Josh Fitzgibbon, said she had been a reliable tenant who kept her rental home clean and tidy and paid her rent.


Mother of two Melissa Edmonds also had trouble finding a rental property after her rental had been sold and believes being a young, Maori, mother may have counted against her.

"I walked into one house to apply for it and got asked straight away if I could afford it, maybe because I'm Maori with two kids.

"People are really quick to judge a young mum or dad and I think it's more against Maori and Islanders.

"I'm not a bad person."

Ms Edmonds' landlord found her another house.

Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust director Tommy Wilson said racial discrimination was an issue for some although it was becoming less common in Tauranga.


"It's not the first time I've heard that this month but I do feel that we've grown up in Tauranga over the last couple of years and this sort of thing will become less and less than once a month," he said. "It is the truth and it's good that she's putting it on the table. How do you become a bicultural society if Maori people don't have the chance to stand on their own track record?"

The trust's social worker, Erin Smith, said she had been doing what she could to help Miss Stempa find a home, but the situation in Tauranga was dire, and young people often found it hard to find people who were willing to give them a chance.

Ms Smith said the trust was fielding up to five or six inquiries a day about housing.

Last week there were 251 properties listed on the site for rent in Tauranga with 128 listed at $400 per week or less, 94 of those had a rental value of $350 or less with only 49 properties in the up to $300 range.