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HOW TO FIND MY ACCOMMODATION IN JAPAN

1 Contact Gaisapp to estimate the necessary budget.
2 Search and visit apartments.
3 Mount your file with Gaisapp and move in.

For any question or request for a quote, contact us by email at [email protected] Thank you!

Administrative issues

In order to rent an apartment in Japan, you must:

  • Be a residant, either permanent or limited time (minimum 1 year).
  • Justify your income, the income of a guarantor or the income of your housing contractor.

Renting a property in Japan as both a foreigner and a Japanese national can be tedious. Gaisapp is committed to helping you through this process. If you don't think you meet the requirements, contact us anyway and we will try to find a solution for you. Each case is different and we come up with solutions for our clients needs on an individual basis. It is recommended that you take into account that the additional fees required to rent a property in Japan will come to about 3 months of rent. If you plan on stayingg in Japan for less than a year, it is recommended that you turn to alternative options than renting, such as a share house. This would be more suitable for shorter stays.

It is difficult to rent an apartment in Japan without a work visa or a permanent visa, or at least some form of evidence that states you will be staying in Japan for at least 1 year. If you plan on coming here as a tourist, you cannot rent a property. If, however, you are in Japan frequently or plan on relocating here and would like to prepare for your arrival, Gaisapp can make the rental agreement under our company and sub-let you the property at its regular rate plus our management fees.

This option is only recommended in specific cases, such as:

  • Entrepreneurs who want to settle in Japan
  • People with very frequent trips to Japan who want a pied-à-terre

It is very rare for a guarantor to not be required in order to rent a property, not just for foreigners but also to Japanese nationals. Some agencys will accept a rent insurance company (保証会社 - hoshougaisha) in the place of a guarantor. The guarantor reassures the landlord when they rent their property, and will preferably be of Japanese nationality. If you do not have a guarantor, Gaisapp can assist you with this.

This depends on the landlord. The landlord is more likely to accept someone as your guarantor if they are fluent in Japanese/have lived in Japan for several years. Gaisapp is also able to be your guarantor.

 

To begin your lease, the following papers will be required:

  • Passport
  • Copy of residence certificate
  • Possibility of other documents for foreign residents (Resident Card / My Number...)
  • Employment contract or promise of employment (if you have not yet arrived in Japan)
  • Certificate of Student Status (if student visa)
  • Certificate of income (last Japanese tax sheet (確定申告書 - kakutei shinkokusho), or last 3 payslips (給与明細書 - kyuuyo meisaisho))
  • Certificate of professional work (in case of professional qualification such as: doctor, hairdresser, etc.)

A guarantor is required, as well as a Japanese speaking emergency contact (it’s often necessary that the emergency contact is also of Japanese nationality). If a guarantor cannot be found, Gaisapp will be able to act as your guarantor.

After confirming that you would like to rent the property, Gaisapp will call the real estate agency and send them the paper work required to apply. The agency will review the application. Allow up to 5 working days for an approval. Once the request has been approved, the date/time to collect the contract will be determained as well as the date of payment for the moving expenses. When signing the contract, a sworn real estate agent will read the important points to you and you will confirm that you understand the agreement. The contractor will then sign the contract.

Once you have signed the contract and moved into your new home, you must notify the city hall in your district of your change of address. For example, if your new apartment is in the Takadanobaba district you will need to go to Shinjuku City Hall or its Takadanobaba Annex to register your new address. Gaisapp can do this on your behalf or accompany you through the process so that you may see how it is done.

Yes. The majority of leases are for 2 years, however it is possible to break your contract before the end date. It is usually necessary to inform the management company one to two months in advance (refer to your contract). However, you can leave the apartment at any time as long as you pay the extra months of rent. It would be ideal if you can anticipate your departure date, that way you will lose the least amount of money.

You may be required to pay an additional fee in order to terminate the contract prior to its end date. You can find this information in the terms outlined in your contract.

As a minor it is not possiblee to rent a property by yourself. If you are a student, you need to have either an adult representing you or you can use a company like Gaisapp. If these are not options you would like to consider, we recommend that you stay in a gueshouse/sharehouse or do a family stay.

Gaisapp is unable to sublet a property to a minor under the age of 18.

Real estate in Japan

During your property search, you'll find that you have a choice between:

  • Apāto (アパート) : apartment in a building up to 3 storeys typically resembling a house with a wooden structure.
  • Mansion (マンション) :  a building over 2 storeys high and up to 20 storeys in a reinforced concrete structure. Above 20 storeys the name Tower Mansion is generally used (タワーマンション).
  • Detached house – Ikkodate (一戸建) : house typically built with a wooden frame.

N.B: in Japan the first floor corresponds to the ground floor.

  • Washitsu (和室) : Traditional Japanese style room with tatami flooring and sliding doors.
  • Youshitsu (洋室) : Western-style room (without tatami).

The property is often advertised in square meters (m²) , but you will also find the size of the rooms can be measured in tatami, said in "Jō" (帖: じょう).

1 Jō is equal to 91 cm x 182 cm or about 1.6 m².

For example:

  • 4.5 帖 = 7.2 m²
  • 5帖 = 8.0 m²
  • 6 帖 = 9.6 m²
  • 8 帖 = 12.8 m²
  • 12帖 = 19.2 m²

In Japan the "RSLDK" system is used to describe the rooms of a property:

  • R : Room
  • S : Service Room
  • L : Living Room
  • D : Dining Room
  • K : Kitchen
  • DR : Dressing Room
  • ワンルーム (One room) : Studio (space with one room)
  • バルコニー : Balcony

The number of rooms is expressed by the number in front of the letters above, for example:

  • 1LDK : 1 bedroom, 1 living room, 1 dining room, 1 kitchen area
  • 2DK : 2 bedrooms, 1 dining room, 1 kitchen area
  • 4SLDK : 4 bedrooms, 1 living room, 1 dining room, 1 kitchen area, 1 storage room

To find an apartment quickly that meets all of your requirements it is important to understand how the real estate business in Japan works. In Tokyo, there are plently of apartment and therefore more demand than supply. Therefore apartments go off the market very quickly and it is important to consider this.

Everything will be about speed: the sooner you will apply to an apartment that interests you and the greater your chances are of getting the apartment you want.

A furnished apartment will be as the name suggests (bed, desk, chairs, washing machine, microwave, fridge, TV, etc.).Unfurnished can mean partially furnished or entirely unfurnished.  A furnished apartment will always cost more than an unfurnished apartment (you can expect to pay an additional 20,000 to 35,000 yen per month for a furnished property). So think carefully about what is best for you: if you know that you will stay in your apartment for a long time, it may be better to take an unfurnished apartment with a lower initial rent. Tokyo can be found for cheap in Tokyo. There are also far more unfurnished apartments on the market, broadening your choice. Sometimes for unfurnished apartments you may not have to pay a deposit or the key money, which is a less common occurance when it comes to furnished apartments. Gaisapp is committed to helping you find the best option to suit your needs.

Costs incurred to rent in Japan

  1. The first month of your rent (賃料 - Chinryo ou 家賃 - Yachin) : When renting a property you will have to pay the first month's rent in advance.
  2. The monthly management fee (管理費 - Kanrihi) : These are fees additional to the rent. The fees range from 2,000 to 25,000 yen for a « standard » apartment. Sometimes there is no monthly management fee.
  3. The deposit (敷金 - Shikikin) : This is a deposit given to the owner when you move into the property. The deposit can be partially refunded to the tenant if the property is left without damage. Upon signing the contract a cleaning fee to be paid at the end of your contract will be agreed upon. The deposit will be between one to two months rent (usually 1 month). Sometimes there is no deposit needed (usually in old buildings).
  4. The key money (礼金 - Reikin) : The reikin is usually one to two months rent. It is becoming more common for homeowners to offer their property without reikin, but usually the better the quality of the property, the more likely you are to pay it. During the post-war period, this money was paid to the landlord to thank them for building the house and renting it to the tenant.
  5. Lock change fee (鍵交換費用 - Kagi Koukanhyo) : The costs of changing the lock of your future property. Each new tenant receives a new set of keys to his move. Expect between 10,000 and 25,000 yen for these fees.
  6. The insurance fee (火災保険料 - Kasai Houkenryo) : The compulsory insurance to insure your property against fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. Expect to pay between 15,000-25,000 yen for 2 years of insurance.
  7. Estate agency fee (仲介手数料 - Chuukai Tesuuryo) : These are the fees paid to the real estate agency for signing the lease. This is the equivalent of one months rent (excluding management fees) plus 8% VAT.
  8. The cleaning fee (清掃費 - Seisouhi) : These are the costs incurred to clean your property before your move in. In general, expect to pay about 30% of one months rent.

Remember that water, electricity and gas costs are not included in the price of your rent. Sometimes internet or bike parking can be included. We will make sure to check what is and isn't included.

The gift to the owner called "礼金 (Reikin)" or "Key money" in English is paid to the owner to thank them for renting their property. Unlike the deposit, this payment is not returned to the tenant upon the end of the lease. Key money is not mandatory because it is not a legislative procedure.

To understand the origin of the gift to the owner, it is necessary to return to the post-war period: the people who had lost their home paid money to those who had lent them their home to thank them. This "gift to the owner" has remained and remains customary to this day. Recently there has been a change in this and this outdated tradition is starting to fade. To encourage people to rent a property, landlords are renting without key money. Gaisapp can help you find a property without these fees.

Usually the rent is paid monthly, by direct debit, in cash, by credit card, or conbini. It is uncommon for rent to be payed on a weekly basis. If you are having trouble paying by direct debit because you do not have an account in Japan, Gaisapp can act as an intermediary in making the payment for you.

These fees are rarely included in the rent and vary depending on the size and condition of the property. You can pay your bills by direct debit or by going to the conbini.

For the Internet, expect to pay between 2,500 to 7,000 yen per month. This will depend on the subscription you select.

If you live alone in less than 30 square meters you can expect to pay between 2,000-4,000 yen per month for water,  3,000-10,000 yen per month for eletricity, and 2,000-4,000 yen per month for gas. Gaisapp can help you estimate your costs and get contracts for your water, electricity, gas, internet, etc.

There are approximations and will vary on an individual basis.

Japan is a country where the risks of natural disasters are part of everyday life, so insurance against these will be required (expect to pay at least 15,000 yen for 2 years) in case of earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, etc.

Sometimes rent insurance is also required: in exchange for a sum of money the insurance company will take the place of the guarantor or compensate the absence of a guarantor. In the case where the guarantor is in poor physical condition or his income is low, etc., you may not be able to obtain a contract. In such cases, Gaisapp may put the tenant in contact with an affiliated insurance company.

The typical contract is for 2 years. Following these two years if the tenant wishes to extend and continue renting the property, they will be required to renew the contract. The renewal fees will typically be the cost of one months rent.

Consider the following factors if you want a cheaper property: the age of the building (the older it is, the lower the rent will be, however the quality of the property will be lower); the location (some popular neighborhoods are more expensive such Ginza, Roppongi, Omotesando, etc.); the distance from the train station (the further the station is, the lower the rent will be); the area (size) of the property. Depending on your goal Gaisapp will help you find a property that suits your budget and requirements.

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