A Wellington property developer has become an unlikely saviour for desperate students struggling to find accommodation.
Ian Cassels is offering affordable rooms in a central city hostel to shelter students feeling the property pinch.
International students Ali Al Bughubar and Salem Al Zbaden came to Wellington for the Kiwi experience.
They've discovered it includes a rental shortage.
- Trade Me data reveals Wellington is the most expensive place to rent in New Zealand
- Tenants warned to brace themselves for record rents around the country
Mr Bughubar says the experience is very stressful.
In the month since they arrived here to study English they've viewed well over a dozen properties.
"Many people, students here, are looking for the same places."
Finally ending up in The Rise hostel on Willis Street, which is becoming a safe haven for students.
The owner, Mr Cassels, started offering students a room for just $20 a night, "out of love".
"We love the city, we want it to work. Why should we be happy when so many people are without somewhere to stay."
President of Massey University Wellington's Student Association Jamie-Lee Bracken says the city is not working, at least not for students
"A lot of students just go from couch to couch which is not good because they need a home base while studying."
Trade Me figures show why that home base remains so elusive - the median rent hit a record high of $565 in December and continues to rise as the capital bears the brunt of a rental shortage.
Mr Cassels' solution is only temporary. Victoria University takes over the lease on his hostel in on February 10, leaving students like Ali and Salem to consider a 'backpackers' as a more permanent solution.