THE rapidly rising cost of rental units in Jeffreys Bay, along with vacancy rates near zero, mean it’s increasingly difficult for people who rely on rental units to find – and keep – their housing. Rental prices have become detached from incomes and are forcing people to live in cramped apartments, find roommates well into adulthood or simply move away.According to the experts, this will not change in the near future.A Jeffreys Bay couple found themselves in a rental nightmare at the end of last year, as they struggled to navigate a market that has become notoriously difficult for middle-income households.In October last year, Belinda Fitzpatrick and her husband, Reino, knew they would soon be on the hunt for a new place to live when the house they were renting at that time, was sold.According to Belinda, it was a struggle from day one with both lessors and local estate agencies - facing maintenance nightmares and inferior service. Three months and four houses later, Huizemark in Jeffreys Bay secured them the ideal place to rent until they can build their own home.“Rental prices are ridiculously high. One three-bedroom, one-bathroom home would have set us back R8 000 in rental cost. This does not include the monthly rates and taxes fee or water account,” says Belinda.“It would have cost us up to R20 000 just to move in, taking into account the deposit and administration fee of the rental agency.”They are not alone in their search for a place to live.Another Jeffreys Bay couple had to vacate their home at the end of last month. To date they have still not found suitable accommodation.According to the couple, they have three adopted dogs. Not willing to give them up, they have had rental doors slammed shut in their faces time after time. Not willing to give their pets up, they are even willing to stay in a garage, just as long as they can keep their beloved four legged friends.According to Huizemark Jeffreys Bay Principal, Wanda Hayes, there will be no reprieve for renters in the near future.“Permanent rentals are constantly in demand, owing to the large influx in residents moving to the area, especially young people, and therefore the rental prices will never become decent,” she says. “On the flip side, the lessors think that because of the bigger demand for rental properties they can increase their rental price dramatically.“Adding to the problem is the high demand for holiday accommodation throughout the year.”According to Hayes, an average three-bedroom house ranges from R6 000 and upwards per month, while a two-bedroom flat will cost a renter anything from R5 000 per month.