A continuing shortage of rental properties in Rotorua has led to rent increases, according to local real estate agents.

The median rent in Rotorua rose again last month, to $340 a week, according to new data from Trade Me.

The increase was $10 a week from July's average, but $47 since August last year - an annual rise of nearly 14 per cent.

LJ Hooker Rotorua principal Malcolm Forsyth said they had had no more than eight properties listed for rent at any one time for months, and recently had 25 people attend one viewing.


Pre-election jitters could be a factor with recent talk about capital gains tax, he said, but he thought any impact a new government had would be limited.

"In all reality, unless Gareth Morgan gets in, nothing's going to change."

Rotorua Rentals' Richard Evans said he had only six properties available for rent and there was strong interest in three.

"It's just a difficult, crazy time in the market."

Pre-election jitters were largely responsible for the current shortage, he believed.

"It always goes quiet about a month before a general election."

Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said the shortage of rentals was simply due to high demand.

"That's just come about from very strong demand ... there's been quite an influx of people to Rotorua recently.

"I don't think the election's had too much of an impact on the rental market."

The high demand had resulted in the slight increase in median rent, he added.

Mr Evans said rents had not risen hugely because most tenants were unable to pay very high prices.

"A high proportion of Rotorua tenants are beneficiaries and accommodation supplements haven't gone up."

Nationally, the median rent has remained the same for nine months, although rent on apartments, units and townhouses has increased.

In Rotorua, the median rent for small (one to two bedroom) houses has risen by $40 a week in just one month, from July to August.

Rent for three to four bedroom houses, however, remained the same. Trade Me was unable to provide data for apartments, units or large houses.

"There is increased pressure because at the end of the day landlords are running things as a business," Mr Forsyth said.

"We are constantly looking at properties and asking, 'Is this the best return we can get?'"

Although the rental market was competitive, Mr Forsyth said there were things prospective tenants could do to increase their chances of finding a property.

"If you turn up in a onesie to a viewing, it's not going to make the best impression.

"You've got to put your best foot forward."

Mr Evans said some parties' policies on rental housing - such as the Greens' idea of landlord licences and bonds - would make renting more expensive.

The Rotorua Rentals co-director, who owns several rental properties himself, said he believed most landlords were not worried by the idea of new standards being implemented.

"I think everybody's happy with a rental warrant of fitness. Probably 80 or 90 per cent of properties that I manage would pass."

Rotorua Property Investors' Association president Philip Macalister said landlords would be happy with a voluntary warrant of fitness, but not a compulsory one.

"If you had a voluntary scheme that would be good because it would be like having a consumer tick."

He said there were concerns that a compulsory scheme would be too prescriptive, or that more rules would creep in.

"When you look at the warrant of fitness schemes that have been put out there, they're starting to get pedantically prescriptive."

Landlords already had an incentive to maintain their properties, Mr Macalister said, because it made it easier to find good quality tenants and ask higher rents.

"The concept of a warrant of fitness, you can sort of understand where it's coming from, but the view of investors we represent is that they're unnecessary."