Three queen beds, televisions, microwaves, blankets and cutlery are all among items moteliers say have been stolen by emergency housing clients staying in Rotorua motels.
The businesses say it can be a battle to keep track of their possessions and if the thefts are big enough, they will make a claim with the Ministry of Social Development to recoup the losses.
Moteliers spoken to by the Rotorua Daily Post didn't want to be named as they weren't the owners of the businesses, just the managers, and they were afraid that complaining could jeopardise their relationship with the ministry - which was the only business keeping them afloat as a result of a downturn in visitors.
One motelier said they installed security cameras as they were losing a lot of equipment - including three double beds in separate thefts.
He said the queen beds were made up of two singles and on all of the occasions the thieves split them apart and removed them one by one before they checked out.
He said it was difficult to get the items back because the emergency housing clients were naturally of a transient nature.
Other items taken included televisions, pillows and cutlery.
"There are some desperate people out there. Once they have got the items they take them to [pawn brokers] and get their money."
He said the problem had eased since they installed CCTV cameras.
Another motelier, who didn't want to be named, estimated half of the emergency housing clients who stayed at his motel would take something when they left.
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He said sometimes it was bigger items like microwaves and televisions, or just pillows, blankets and cutlery.
"There's no solution and nothing can be done. It's hard to track it down if you call the police or the ministry as mostly the stuff is valued under $500. If you do track down the person, they've usually sold it or given it to someone else."
He said they usually wrote it off as part of the cost of running the business.
"Insurance is hard to claim. I've seen a lot of motels take on Winz clients and they can't really handle themselves well and police are always going there and they are destroying the rooms."
Rotorua police acting area controller Inspector Phil Taikato said the problem of motel thefts had come up recently again.
"We have had stuff go missing, it was a couple of televisions from motels and there have been reports made."
Taikato said people living in the motels often had drug debts and were using the stolen motel equipment in lieu of payments.
"That's just anecdotal but that tends to be the general behaviour."
He encouraged moteliers to continue to report the thefts.
Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Mike Bryant said a security deposit was available to help safeguard accommodation suppliers if clients or their guests caused losses or damages.
Bryant said if a supplier asked for a security deposit, the agreed amount would be available to be claimed, if required, during or at the end of the client's stay.
Damages or losses were charged to the client and they had to pay it back to the ministry at an agreed rate, he said.
Rotorua Motel Association chairman Mike Gallagher said he hadn't heard moteliers talking about thefts being a major concern.
Tiny Deane, who runs Visions of a Helping Trust that looks after homeless people in Tuscany Villas and Emerald Spa Resort, said security working at their motels deterred anyone from stealing equipment.