Guide to Renting an Apartment in Japan

Whether you are here for work or as a student, acquiring a room for yourself is crucial in starting a new life in Japan.Coming to Japan, a foreign country and finding a room to rent has its challenges. The language barrier being one, but there are also many different policies, traditions and manners to consider.
Here, we will explain in depth the flow of things from looking for the place to securing it, as well as the various types of expenses that will result in the process.

STEP1. Search for your desired Mansion or Apartment.

When using japan-property.jp please look for buildings based on area, budget and layout of your preference.

Many real estate companies that own foreigner friendly mansions and apartments in areas such as Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka, Nagoya and much more have their building information listed on our website. If you are unfamiliar with the location in Japan, they will pick up several buildings out from the extensive database that match your preferred conditions, so please inquire to the real estate companies from our website.

STEP2. Previewing your desired Apartment.

Location and the environment surrounding it, distance from station, whether the sunlight shines in the area or not, distance from convenience stores/restaurants/supermarkets, there must be many things you would like to confirm beforehand. You are of course welcome to come see the building.

STEP3. Applying for rental properties

Because the amount of foreigner friendly apartments still fall short to normal apartments, the ones with favourable conditions are usually rented very quickly, so if you find one that meets your needs, we advise that you apply as soon as possible.

STEP4. Screening of Application

Before the contract is made, the owner and management company will examine whether you are eligible to rent the property.

Screening details

The screening mainly consists of your occupation, income and VISA expiration date. If you have a joint guarantor or are using a guarantor company, the person listed as emergency contact will be contacted for confirmation.
Depending on owner or management company, there may be cases where you are required to take a language proficiency test.

Also, usually when renting a house in Japan a joint guarantor is required. However, securing a joint guarantor is very difficult for foreigners. If there are no suitable people near you, it is also possible to contract with a guarantor company, so if that is the case please take this up with the real estate companies.

Documents needed:

Foreigner residence card, passport
Certification of employment, student ID, income tax slip, payment slip

STEP5. Contract with rental property

Once the screening process is finished, you sign the rental document and the contract is completed.

Expenses that result upon signing contract

DEPOSIT

It is basically a deposit fee that you pay the owner for a certain period of time, and most of the time it is set to 1-2 month’s rent worth. Unlike the gift money, the deposit is returned to you upon departure, but if something is either broken or dirtied, then most of it does not come back.

KEY MONEY

About 1-2 month’s rent worth that is paid to the owner as a token of appreciation, this is unique to Japan, although nowadays there are many apartments that do not require this. Gift money is not returned upon departure.

AGENCY FEE

Fee that is paid to the agencies that generally take care of communication regarding contract. By law, the maximum price of this fee is 1 month’s rent worth. In some cases it is half a month or free.

RENT IN ADVANCE

The first rent you pay upon signing contract. The amount is subject to change as it is broken down on a daily basis from the day the contract is signed to the first rent pay date.

THIRD PARTY INSURANCE

Fee paid for insurance admission in preparation for fires or any natural disasters. In some cases the admission is compulsory.

SURETY COMPANY FEE

If you cannot find yourself a joint guarantor, you will require the services of a surety company that acts as a guarantor on your behalf. The payment is not monthly but rather one time, and the fee is usually half to one month’s rent worth.

Expenses that result every month

RENT

Payment methods vary from bank transfers, convenient stores to automatic bank deductions. Credit card payment is not accepted most of the time.

MAINTENANCE FEE

Fees paid to maintain building repair costs. Some buildings are free, while others cost approximately 10000 to 20000 yen a month.

STEP6. Moving into your rental property.

Accept the key, and all that remains is moving in.
Please confirm with the real estate company you contracted with regarding gas, water, electricity and internet start up procedures.
Once you have completed the move in process, your new life in Japan has officially begun!

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