Landlords in the Bay of Plenty who are selling up have gone to bat for their tenants by finding them new homes as rents in the region reach record highs.
One landlord told NZME she felt it was her ''social obligation'' to try and help her tenants find a new home while another feared for the family of four who had been in her house for two years because ''it's tough out there and I know how hard it is''.
Debbie Van Den Broek was in the process of selling four rental properties - a decision made on the back of new tax laws that would kick in on October 1.
She wanted to clear debt to keep the rents low for her other tenants.
The Rotorua Property Investors Association president said she was an animal lover and that influenced which properties they sold.
''We've chosen to sell the properties where tenants haven't got pets because tenants with pets just can't get another house.''
Van Den Broek has also held back the sale on one unit, which is occupied by a widow with a dog, to coincide with another tenant moving overseas so "he will move into that unit, which is warmer".
The remaining tenants were given 90 days notice but she had sent out an email singing their praises to every private landlord and property manager she knew.
Emma Scott took the social media route for her tenants who ''are amazing''.
Talking to NZME from Northland she was selling her house in Tauranga to buy at Whangarei Heads and knew how difficult it was to get a rental.
That prompted her to put up a Facebook post entitled ''excellent tenant'' who has ''been absolutely brilliant, never a day late on payments and kept the property so tidy it shocked our real estate agent''.
Scott received about six replies to the post but said the working family of four was still looking and needed somewhere by mid-October.
Tauranga Property Investors Association president Juli Ann Tolley said many landlords had been giving their tenants grocery vouchers, gift baskets and offered a break on rent during the lockdowns.
''Keep in mind, there are many investors who are hit just as hard. Outside of the few professional investors, landlords are most often people who have one or two properties to help save for their retirement... they are working class.''
Tolley said, in her view, landlords had been painted in a negative light as people tried to find someone to blame during the housing crisis.
''Landlords seem to be one of their favoured targets. With their rhetoric, they have set the stage for anyone to generalise that landlords are a social evil.''
Trade Me Property sales director Gavin Lloyd said last month the median weekly rent in the Bay of Plenty reached an all-time high of $560, up 7 per cent when compared with the same month in 2020.
In Tauranga, it was $595 and Rotorua was $495 for August and he said the New Zealand rental market has been running hot since we came out of our first nationwide lockdown in 2020, despite many predicting it would slow down.
Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said about 10 of its rentals were sold every month however fortunately he was able to replace those.
''But I'm running flat stick to stay in the same place.''
He said the average rent in Mount Maunganui central was more than $700 a week and some were $1000.
Lusby said despite the 90-day notice '' we still have people crying on our doorstep because the time has flown by and they still haven't found anywhere''.
''So this is how the overcrowding is happening in Tauranga because they are moving in with friends or relations because they have no choice.''
During the lockdown, Lusby said he encouraged tenants who were doing it tough to meet the rent to let them know.
''We told them not to stress and they could catch up because that is how things are at the moment. Last year was the same and those people caught up and it wasn't an issue.''
Rotorua Rentals director Pauline Evans said supply was shrinking and $550 a week was not uncommon.
She said many of its landlords had asked for reduced rent increases or no increases while others had also given their tenants grocery vouchers.
Rotorua Budget Advisory Service manager Pakanui Tuhura said clients were finding rent was using up a greater portion of their household income and more sacrifices were being made.
''The sacrifices are affecting not only other living costs but the needs themselves like less food, non-payment of power and living in lower quality housing.''
Accommodation sharing had also become more prevalent with generations of the same family living in a house while some were taking in boarders to supplement the household income and other costs.