Soaring house prices leaving more people without a home in Bay of Plenty's Ōpōtiki

The tight squeeze in Aotearoa's rental market is spreading to the regions, with soaring house prices and changes to tenancy laws leaving more people without a home.

In the eastern Bay of Plenty town of Ōpōtiki, it is a reality facing a growing number of whānau.

Ōpōtiki resident Kaylene Moore only has a few weeks left in her home after she received a 90-day eviction notice in January.

Moore says she was shocked and emotional when she first received the notice.

"I just couldn't believe what I was looking at, and then the thought of packing up 15 years of memories and furniture and four children."

Last year, the Government passed the Residential Tenancy Amendment Act - the biggest change to tenancy laws in the last 35 years.

The changes will enforce healthy home standards, allow tenants to make small changes to their rentals, and bring an end to 90-day no-cause terminations.

Moore knows several other local families who are also being evicted and are struggling to find rentals.

"It's cutting our throats. We're the heart and soul of Ōpōtiki, where are we going to go?"

The squeeze on rentals in Ōpōtiki isn't going unnoticed by property managers Chris and Joanne Donkin who run CJ Rentals, one of the biggest rental companies in town.

Chris says he understands why landlords are worried about the new law changes.

"The concern is having a damaging or disruptive tenant in the property and the non-ability, without major issues going through the Tenancy Tribunal, to remove that tenant."

Local emergency housing provider Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust has more than 40 families on its waiting list - but there are only two transitional houses in the whole district.

The Trust's general manager, Mandy Smith, says there might be up to 170 or 180 people who are displaced.  

The Trust is set to open its new emergency housing complex that will provide three extra homes, but Smith says there is a desperate need for more.

"You do know when you meet with some whānau just how badly they are feeling. They can't provide for their children to put a roof over their heads.

"They go in tents and cars, whatever it is they can to try and provide some form of shelter."