A Rotorua grandmother who was rejected from rental after rental because of her granddaughters' "essential" pets has found a home.
The news comes a week after the family feared they would be left "homeless for Christmas" after struggling to find a home because landlords refused their "therapy pets".
The woman, who asked not to be named to protect the children's identities, had raised her two grandchildren, 12-year-old twin girls, since they were 6 months old.
One suffers from severe fetal alcohol syndrome, while the other has ADHD.
The pair relied on their cat and a dog which have been signed off by doctors as "essential", but finding a rental that allowed pets seemed almost impossible.
The family had been living in their Western Heights rental for six years but the landlords had chosen to move back to Rotorua.
She had scrolled Trade Me for properties every day with "tears" in her eyes - none allowed pets. She had applied for 10 rentals but been rejected because of the animals.
Then this week, she got the news a rental off Malfroy Rd with a "big yard" for their pets could be theirs.
She was "feeling so, so good and just so relieved".
"It's been such a hard time and I am still in shock. Thank god it's over."
She said there was lots of space for the family and even a creek near the property she knows one of the girls will love.
It was also in a "much quieter" neighbourhood.
"The kids are ecstatic. Now I've just got to make sure the cat doesn't go for a swim, she loves water."
She said she was getting everything packed up and they planned to move in on December 5.
They had faced the possiblity of leaving town if they couldn't find a rental and she said that would have been an upheaval for the girls.
A life-saving home
From losing her dad to a relationship breakdown, Rotorua's Pauline Harris has experienced her fair share of pain for 2020.
And she was facing the possibility of putting down her beloved dog Jet because securing a rental with him was near impossible.
She had been living in a Sunset Rd rental for 14 years but then moved in with a man to ease the stress post Covid-19.
She sold her furniture and gave up her beloved rental but before long, the relationship fell apart and she was left "homeless with nothing" but her staffie.
She was placed in emergency accommodation for two months and said trying to find a rental with her dog had been "unbelievable".
"Once you tell them you have a dog, no one gives you a chance."
She had been to several viewings and been "overwhelmed" by the high number of people looking for rentals, she said.
She was worried she might have to put down her dog because finding a rental with him was so difficult.
He was a rescue dog that had been rehomed several times and she did not think it would be fair to rehome him again, she said.
However, after months of looking, she finally secured a rental in Fairy Springs with a "big yard".
"I was absolutely over the moon."
She was moving in this week and planned to stay there.
Rotorua Property Investors Association president Debbie Van Den Broek had helped both the grandmother and Harris into the rentals and said helping tenants with pets into homes was one of her company's main priorities.
She said the rental market made it "really hard" for tenants with pets.
She had never experienced any "dog damage" in any of her rentals, she said.
Van Den Broek said when she told Harris she had got her a rental with her dog, it was like "telling someone they had won a million dollars".
In both cases and many involving pets, she said it was a "bonus" because it usually meant they were a "long-term tenant" who "really appreciated" the home.
She said they would make it their own with their animals and it was always wonderful to see.