All Sylvia Courtney wants is a house to call her own.

In the time since she and her family of six moved out of their rental they've stayed in three motels and now the family is cramped into a three-bedroom home with five other family members.

Her story comes as one rental agent says the rental shortage is the worst it has been in 25 years. Trade Me rental price figures for August also show the median price of a rental in Rotorua is now $29

Sylvia and her children are among 11 people living in a three-bedroom house. Photo/Stephen Parker
Sylvia and her children are among 11 people living in a three-bedroom house. Photo/Stephen Parker

While Ms Courtney said she was grateful to have a roof over her head, 11 people in a three-bedroom house was not ideal.


She and her partner and their four children aged between 7 and 3 share the house with her parents, and brother and his two children.

She and her partner shared a room with their two youngest children, while the two
eldest slept in the lounge.

As many as 90 people had shown up at some of the rental viewings she had attended, she said.

"There's a lot of people in the same situation."

Ms Courtney said other than wanting a home close to her children's schooling and her partner's work, they did not have many other criteria for a house.

"I just need a home for my babies."

They had applied for more than 50 homes, and had family and friends on the hunt too.

The family moved in with her parents after her sister moved out, and stayed in three motels before that.

The most recent cost $1500 a week which was paid for by Work and Income, she said.

She said they'd spent about two months in motels which was tough on the children, especially with the constant moving.

They were able to move into her parents home after her sister, Bernie Courtney, found a rental a couple of weeks ago.

Bernie said she'd been looking for a year to find a home and found it particularly hard because she and her partner were first-time renters - so had no rental history to give to agents.

"It was finding someone who would take us on."

She said she was used to turning up at viewings with dozens of others already there, which could be disheartening.

"I was becoming that person, all the agents knew me."

"We looked at hundreds online... I've looked at so many I could start up my own agency. I was that clued up I knew just what to look for."

Bernie said it was "marvellous" to be in her own home and to have found a landlord prepared to give her and her partner a chance.