Increasing demand, rising rents and changes to tenancy rules could force more people into emergency housing, a property manager warns.
Weekly rents in the city reached a record median high of $450 last month and issues surrounding emergency accommodation in city motels continue to hit the headlines.
Donna Russell from Russell Hardie Property Management Rotorua said lots of prospective tenants were looking for properties but landlords are being "selective".
''Landlords are being particular in who goes into their houses, taking into account the new tenancy reforms. The removal of the 90-day notice means any tenant with the slightest slip up in their tenancy or credit history will find it harder.'
''I think it's important that tenants view renting a property as a privilege.''
She said they should dress and present themselves as though they were going for a job interview.
''They are asking someone to entrust a large asset in their care so confidence needs to be given that the asset is in safe hands.''
Ministry for Social Development regional commissioner Mike Bryant said its housing brokers worked to overcome any perceived barriers to people finding permanent accommodation by increasing connections and confidence with landlords, property managers and the private rental market.
MSD clients could also take part in the Ready to Rent programme run by community providers which focused on topics including what landlords look for in a tenant,
home budgeting, managing costs and debt.
However, Rotorua Rentals director Pauline Evans said every time it had put homeless people into properties the experience ended badly.
'[Some] 'homeless individuals enjoy being looked after having all the support from the agencies that house, feed and assist them," she believed.
''Previously we have helped to find rental accommodation for homeless individuals and in each case, they either did not stay very long or their tenancies ended badly as they left without giving notice leaving dirt, damage and debt.'
''Other homeless are ex tenants, having rented either here or out of Rotorua and have Tenancy Tribunal orders against them as they did not care for the rentals they had.''
She acknowledged not all homeless fell into that category but with changes to the Residential Tenancy Act the company was being more careful when considering any prospective client.
''We owe it to our owners, neighbours in our community and our staff, to choose the best client to rent one of our properties.''
The company recently had strong interest for some properties priced between $600 to $700 per week but lower-priced properties from $350 to $450 attracted the most interest.
She said the rise in house prices over recent times was partly because of the inability to build enough houses to match the population demand.
McDowell Property Management Ltd Business Development manager Rhiannon Greenwood said the rental market in Rotorua was strong.
'We are seeing a large increase in landlords coming on, thus creating a few more housing opportunities for tenants, which is wonderful. The prices do continue to grow and we have seen an upwards curve in this area for quite some time now.''
On average the company was getting about 20 to 40 applicants for each property.
Because there was a need for more rentals, she also expected to see more investment properties come on stream.
Rotorua Property Investors Association president Debbie Van Den Broek said as a landlord she had recently spent thousands of dollars on heat pumps, insulation and other items to meet regulations.
Not a lot of building was happening in the city so demand for rentals was huge.
''It's just a case of recouping some massive capital costs. I haven't got $30,000 to $40,000 sitting around a year.''
However, Rotorua was still an attractive place to invest.
''It's a good city because we have got such a range of diverse industry even though international tourism has stopped people are still visiting. As a regional town, we have got a lot going for us.''
Rotorua Budget Advisory Service manager Pakanui Tuhura said finding rental properties had become competitive and they were more expensive.
A few clients had also been forced to move out of the city because of rising rents.
And even though emergency housing was being used in Rotorua ''there are still homeless'', she said.
August data from HUD showed 1490 people were on the public housing waiting list, up 22 from the month before. There were 264 transitional housing places, up 2, and 2862 public housing tenancies - an increase of 15.
On Trade Me, the median weekly rent in October was $450, up 13 per cent compared to the same time last year.
Want to stand out from the crowd
• Have good references and plenty of them: previous landlords and employers are great but a good character reference is always a nice touch.
• Be confident and shake someone's hand, don't be shy and hide away as it can be harder to get noticed among a crowd of applicants.
• Have all of your ducks in a row to prove that you are a great tenant and a winning applicant.
• Tenants need to apply as soon as they find something. Taking a while to think things over and not getting applications in fast will result in missing out on that perfect house. - Source McDowell Property Management Ltd