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Services open doors for minorities in Japan looking for housing

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By Ayuko Kiyoshi

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That's great news. As one person said "A waterfall begins with one drop of water." As far as I see, other companies have to follow or they will lose a significant target market. Never underestimate the buying power of minorities.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't know about LBGTQ, etc but this country is just full of bull. Lots of people post here about knowing foreigner "bad apples" but we all know damn well even if there weren't any, the system would still be the same. That's just how this place generally operates. Discrimination is its middle name. Don't try to tell me all Japanese obey all the rules all the time, either.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Key money should be made illegal as should all the other hidden charges when one tries to rent a property in Japan. The rental price advertised should be the price paid, and not a yen more. A deposit of one months rent in advance should be the legal limit. Cleaning fees could be legally deducted from this deposit if the place isn't vacated in the same condition as when you moved in. And prejudice against anybody should be illegal too.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Some people have a higher propensity to leave suddenly (or worse, pass away)

Some people have cooking habits that damage the property in much the same way as a tenant who smokes.

Some tenants are noisemakers or troublemakers and others cannot pay rent on time.

Some landlords may put a lot of value on being able to communicate clearly with their tenant (and vice versa)

It is only human nature to want the best possible tenant for a property you own - I would hope though landlords are obliged to at least give people an equal entry point to the application.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

After years of refusals and being offered crap apartments which obviously no Japanese would even consider, the decision to buy was taken-not a regret doing that.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Single white male, early 40s. 14 years in Japan w/full time job, JLPT N1. 30-50% of landlords state they reject me because I'm a foreigner or require multiple guarantors.

I understand landlords take a risk because of the bad apples but I wish there was a solid background check system here. It would be nice if your renting history could be recorded as a means to show your reliability, much like a credit score.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Jonathan PrinToday  04:08 pm JST

"...he "paid an additional one month's rent on top of key money."

Isn't business in Japan regulated ?

So any store could ask more if they knew he was gay ?

I would have reacted with revenge as a dish best served cold.

Hope the business will take over others which act rude.

You'd be surprised. There's no anti-racial discrimination law in Japan either.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

"...he "paid an additional one month's rent on top of key money."

Isn't business in Japan regulated ?

So any store could ask more if they knew he was gay ?

I would have reacted with revenge as a dish best served cold.

Hope the business will take over others which act rude.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

1 month key money was already light. For my first place in Tokyo as a full time employee of listed company, I had to offer 1 month additional key money in addition to 6 month additional 敷金・保証金 and a 20,000 yen rent premium to obtain the place built in the late 1970s (wtf!), for not so good location. Newer and prime locations are never available to foreigners unless you are willing to pay well over 300,000 yen rent for a 1LDK, at least doubling the market rates. It is simply just easier to buy. Mortgage applications are a lot easier than renting, and oftentimes significantly cheaper than renting as foreigner for prime locations and new properties.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Thanks, Namorada.

The belief that non-Japanese proportionally commit more crimes (they don't) is still widespread too.

Blame it on the deep collective social conditioning belief that the Japanese are all model citizens of the Earth, and non-Japanese are not. It even extends beyond Japanese borders.

It's so deep that my attempts to explain and reason with a number of intelligent and wise Japanese has mostly been in vain.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

The entire system is ブラック.

I help a friend on the side at the various properties they own/work with around Tokyo and let me tell you, the “ideal” Japanese tenants have the potential to be just as nasty as the other undesirable tenants they complain about so much.

They skip town without paying rent for several months, can’t separate their garbage if they ever throw anything out (ゴム屋敷), they smoke and let the walls get all stained, broken screens and cracks in windows, wallpaper damaged, tatami flooring that had furniture on it when it wasn’t supposed to, noise complaints from kids or couples fighting, televisions and radios too loud, pets that weren’t allowed damaging the property, smells coming from their rooms and so on.

Anyone in Japan who owns rental properties and complains about foreigners, LGBTQ+, the elderly, and so on but seems to hold other Japanese individuals up as model residents is acting bigoted. Percentage wise, the risk is not much different than that of the desirable Japanese. The undesirables are just much more memorable than your average Taro. That is the real shame.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Really great this service exists...but honestly it's depressing it even had to. Why doesn't the gov't regulate this kind of thing? racial/sexual discrimination should be flat out illegal and punishable.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

To those landlords here commenting that they think it's okay to discriminate of certain groups when choosing tenants.

Does that mean you re okay with tenants refusing to rent your place after finding out you are of a specific group (foreigner, Blakumin, of Korean descent, not Japanese 'looking' enough')?

Are you okay that many did this and it meant you couldn't;t rent out your property?

3 ( +11 / -8 )

@Kenchi

Sorry mate. I wrote ‘Kenichi’.

Apologies.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Let’s all agree that safe housing is a humanitarian right. All people should have access to safe housing. If this is true, the main disagreement becomes who is responsible for ensuring this right.

Users like @letsberealistic believe the private sector and the public sector are both somewhat equally responsible for maintaining this right while at the same time users like @Kenichi argue that they, the private sector, should not have to shoulder the financial burden of dealing with complicated tenants.

I have to side with owners like @Kenichi on this. It’s his business and reputation that suffers with every neglectful tenant, so some discrimination is allowed. But…..

The prefectures and agencies could fix discrimination with a couple of tools. First, on the agencies side, there could be a tenant / owner scoring system. Points added and deducted for complaints, payments, lease extensions, contract ending procedures. Tenants with higher scores and willing to go to orientation programs get better scores, which leads to better move in conditions and more options. Tenants with lower scores pay more, but again, are offered methods to increase their scores. If an owner wanted to tack on Japanese classes or proof of Japanese language ability to increase scores, I would be okay with that.

On the government end, give property tax breaks to owners who maintain good scores by offering housing to a variety of tenants and maintaining a good relationship with their agencies and customers.

Long way to explain a housing credit system, I know, but the goal is to create transparent responsibility on all parties.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

purple_depressed_baconToday  10:43 am JST

The amount of discrimination that runs rampant in the Japanese real estate industry borders on absurd. That and the asinine categories that make up the upfront costs. Key money in the form of a month's rent? Sod off. It's all a giant scam to swindle good people out of their hard-earned cash. Sadly, I doubt the government will ever do anything about it.

Agreed. And there is a lot of corruption in the industry around.

I was unlucky enough to have one of the worst landlords in Tokyo. He was a pilot and now owns many buildings around the city.

After I moved out he refuse to return the 2 months deposit saying I had damaged the property.

My Japanese partner and I took him to court and he got laughed at by the judge and lost the case.

At the time we researched him online and found he had done this to many of his tenants over years.

I wanted to post a note to all the other tenants in the building to want them but my partner was against it.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

letsberealisticToday  10:47 am JST

JimizoToday  10:38 am JST

I wouldn’t say I’m the best judge of character, but you can often spot the dishonest types pretending to be something they are not very easily. They generally lack the intelligence and self-awareness to see how transparent they are. The walls can easily close in on that nonsense.

I'm curious about your thought process when assessing tenants. How can you judge whether someone is going to, I don't know, trash your house or not pay rent? Are you saying that some people come to you with the secret intention to trash your place? And you can tell by their demeanour that they are likely to do that?! That sounds a bit unrealistic to say the least.

And why don't they introduce a reference system in Japan for renting?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

JimizoToday  10:38 am JST

I wouldn’t say I’m the best judge of character, but you can often spot the dishonest types pretending to be something they are not very easily. They generally lack the intelligence and self-awareness to see how transparent they are. The walls can easily close in on that nonsense.

I'm curious about your thought process when assessing tenants. How can you judge whether someone is going to, I don't know, trash your house or not pay rent? Are you saying that some people come to you with the secret intention to trash your place? And you can tell by their demeanour that they are likely to do that?! That sounds a bit unrealistic to say the least.

And why don't they introduce a reference system in Japan for renting?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The amount of discrimination that runs rampant in the Japanese real estate industry borders on absurd. That and the asinine categories that make up the upfront costs. Key money in the form of a month's rent? Sod off. It's all a giant scam to swindle good people out of their hard-earned cash. Sadly, I doubt the government will ever do anything about it. You want to minimize potentially problematic tenants? Ask for references from their previous landlords or give them a trial period.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

@Kenichi

Sounds like you are being gullible here. I wouldn’t rent out my property that easily. The trust you place in the real estate company sounds very naive.

It sounds like you have a property in demand so finding tenants isn’t an issue. I’d insist on a pretty lengthy one-on-one with any prospective tenant. As I said, it doesn’t need to be an interrogation but it can help weed out the undesirables.

I wouldn’t say I’m the best judge of character, but you can often spot the dishonest types pretending to be something they are not very easily. They generally lack the intelligence and self-awareness to see how transparent they are. The walls can easily close in on that nonsense.

I’ve had only two different tenants in my place over quite a few years - not a problem.

I’d take more control here.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Kenichi, can you be specific about what you mean by "got burned by a particular group 3 times in a row."

What 'group' are you referring to and what did they do that was so terrible and costly?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I rent out a place in the UK and sat down with the tenants for a pretty long chat before renting to them. Did you sit down with any of these people to try get a pretty good picture of them? It can help to make sure the walls close in on frauds, liars, those who come across as a bit unbalanced and losers.

You actually are trying to compare apples and oranges here. Nearly all people who rent here do not do it face to face with the actual owner. They go through agencies, and those agencies have their own policies and methods of renting out to people. Most renters will not even know who the actual owner is either.

Hence too the higher costs, the "3" months in advance actually has, in many cases, 1 month of that advance being the agencies cut of the price.

It takes time an effort, for those who have it, to actually walk around the neighborhood they want to live in, as often times there are posters up advertising for renters, put up by owners, who do not want to pay the fees the agencies require. People can save money that way too.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Yes

Meetings with tenants usually go through the real estate agent. When a potential tenant has been chosen by them, they are usually brought here to meet us by the real estate agent who also attends the meeting. There is typical speech is usually given regarding responsibilities etc.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Kenichi

Three times in a row? Very high odds.

I rent out a place in the UK and sat down with the tenants for a pretty long chat before renting to them. Did you sit down with any of these people to try get a pretty good picture of them? It can help to make sure the walls close in on frauds, liars, those who come across as a bit unbalanced and losers.

You don’t need to make it an interrogation but you can be candid.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

ZorotoToday  09:41 am JST

How on Earth did people come to the ridiculous conclusion that LGBTQ community members, foreigners, and the elderly were 'dirty' and likely to leave early?

I have no idea about the LGBT and elderly in general, but yes, many foreigners don't have the same hygienic standards as Japanese (e.g. running around in the house with your shoes on will certainly damage and dirty the apartment). Also many foreigners suddenly leave Japan, unsurprisingly.

Thank you for another example of the attitude that is maintaining bigotry in Japan.

I'm sure you are an intelligent person and generally kind, so stop for a moment and consider that what you believe may have been learned from family and society and not be true.

You say, 'foreigners' - study that word for a second. What does it mean to you? A white person? A black person? Anyone who does not 'look' Japanese? Can you see the problem with that word in itself?

What do you mean 'hygienic standards'? You seem to think all non-Japanese wear shoes indoors. Really? How could you possibly know that? Have you met thousands of non-Japanese and they all wear shows indoors, even when told that is not okay?

The same with 'many foreigners leave Japan suddenly'? Are you sure about that? Have you done a national survey, or is it just something you have picked up from those around you?

2 ( +13 / -11 )

It has zero to do with what country they come from or what race they are. It has a lot to do with the culture and the tenants lack of knowledge about the country they are moving to.

in fact, there’s a certain age demographic within the group I’m talking about that I would happily rent to.

with multiple tenants applying, there’s more than enough “safer” potential tenants to choose from. In the beginning, I went out of my way to give foreigners a break. I got burned by a particular group 3 times in a row. That particular demographic has now been moved to the bottom of the list.

it’s a myth that landlords get multiple months of deposit. We get one month. The real estate agent takes one month I believe

perhaps it varies from real estate agent to real estate agent

9 ( +13 / -4 )

the guarantor system is stupid as well.......isn't that what the multiple months rent is for?? If they don't pay or do a runner, you have their deposit that they wouldn't get back.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

you most definitely do not have the right to not give it to someone simply because of their ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Not in the US, but in Japan, yes, you can do that and people do that commonly.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

our decision was based on behavior and total lack of respect of the property

That's good enough for me.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Current rental needed a guarantor company which cost half a month's rent.

I didn't need a guarantor, but had to pay a higher refundable deposit. It's negotiable.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

The house rental system here is ridiculously bigoted. Often I have been told that a house or apartment wasn't available to me.....and that was the end of the matter. Being a gaij was the problem......nowadays though there are many places that don't charge key money as people are fed up paying such a fee. The renewal fee as well gets right on my wick.....what do you mean I have to pay half a month's rent to re-contract for the house I have been living in for the last 2 years. I have to pay you more money to thank you for the right to pay you money every month anyway to stay in ur place

16 ( +18 / -2 )

How on Earth did people come to the ridiculous conclusion that LGBTQ community members, foreigners, and the elderly were 'dirty' and likely to leave early?

I have no idea about the LGBT and elderly in general, but yes, many foreigners don't have the same hygienic standards as Japanese (e.g. running around in the house with your shoes on will certainly damage and dirty the apartment). Also many foreigners suddenly leave Japan, unsurprisingly.

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

GarthgoyleToday  09:00 am JST

Tell the truth at all times and work to change attitudes in society if they are stuck in the past.

That's nice but unfortunately, doesn't work that well in the real world. You need malice to survive.

Real estate is a lucrative but really kitanai business.

Well, with all due respect, what change can ever happen in the world with an attitude like that?

Yes, the real estate business in Japan is 'kitanai', so let's clean it up, not just concede defeat before even trying.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

KenchiToday  09:16 am JST

as I had mentioned, we gave it multiple chances. In fact, I went out of my way to when doing so.

thousands of dollars isn’t chump change unfortunately. especially when we are already struggling financially and have two boys in University

we most certainly wouldn’t discriminate against sexuality etc.

my point is the issue itself isn’t as black-and-white as everyone thinks

No, it's pretty black and white actually. It is not okay to profile a group of people based on where they come from, the colour of their skin or any other difference. If you do not understand that's okay, many people don't, but I urge you to learn more about how such attitudes harm certain members of the community and can make their lives unfairly very difficult.

Okay, you had some 'bad experiences' with some tenants. First of all, what 'damage' did they do that couldn't be covered by the 2 to 4-month deposits that are common in Japan!? Why didn't you take them to the court if they damaged your property beyond the cost of the deposit?

Secondly, have you ever thought, that by painting all people with the same brush many people who come to you will be rejected because of something someone that looked like them did before them?! Does that seem fair to you?

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

@chinpo

our decision was based on behavior and total lack of respect of the property, three times in a row. Totally changeable characteristics.

it’s not black and white.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Respondents said they were judged to have certain risk factors such as income trouble, potential problems with neighbors, or as with elderly tenants, the possibility of dying alone unnoticed.

This is true though. I can understand why, for example, foreigners have to pay for a guarantor service. It sucks but the landlord doesn't want to lose money

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

as I had mentioned, we gave it multiple chances. In fact, I went out of my way to when doing so.

thousands of dollars isn’t chump change unfortunately. especially when we are already struggling financially and have two boys in University

we most certainly wouldn’t discriminate against sexuality etc.

my point is the issue itself isn’t as black-and-white as everyone thinks

9 ( +14 / -5 )

> KenchiToday  07:57 am JST

As a building owner who rents out, I can say oyattosa is absolutely correct ultimately.

that being said, there is a particular foreigner demographic (not specifically mentioned in this article) that we’ve been burned by time and time again, costing us thousands of dollars each time. We chose not to be burned again.

Thank you for so perfectly demonstrating the problem this article addresses.

This attitude (and Oyatta) may seem harmless and 'just doing business' to you but it is an attitude that has been dissolved in other nations and can be done so in Japan as well.

Ken, you could be a part of the solution and not the problem as well. Please at least give it a second thought. :)

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Glad to read this, back ward minds can be hard to please sometimes.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Tell the truth at all times and work to change attitudes in society if they are stuck in the past.

That's nice but unfortunately, doesn't work that well in the real world. You need malice to survive.

Real estate is a lucrative but really kitanai business.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

HiroToday  08:09 am JST

All they had to do was say they are roommates instead of a couple. A white lie isn’t that hard and i doubt most people would care to investigate further. In the end, it’s the money end most are concern about.

Always pay on time and keep your end of the contract.

This is a common thought process in Japan and results in little change ever happening for the good.

No, it is not okay to tell a white lie to trick people - that is a dangerous route to go on let alone immoral.

Tell the truth at all times and work to change attitudes in society if they are stuck in the past.

0 ( +14 / -14 )

oyattosa!!!Today  07:38 am JST

I've signed numerous leases in Japan and was a guarantor twice.

Never had a problem with that. 

If you own a building you can rent to anyone you please, no matter what the Woke eternal victims claim.

That's the point of owning something. It' s yours...

Incorrect. When you own something that is a necessity for other people in society (i.e. a roof over their head), you most definitely do not have the right to not give it to someone simply because of their ethnicity or sexual orientation.

If you want that to be the case you will need to go live in a third world country where there are few human rights or jump in a time machine to the early 20th century or before.

5 ( +19 / -14 )

All they had to do was say they are roommates instead of a couple. A white lie isn’t that hard and i doubt most people would care to investigate further. In the end, it’s the money end most are concern about.

Always pay on time and keep your end of the contract.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Maxjapank

indeed

11 ( +12 / -1 )

One of my first experiences in Japan was taking over for a foreigner who was leaving for another country. Two days before his departure, he handed me his apartment keys and said he was staying with a friend the next two nights. I felt strange, and so I went over to his place. He was gone and the place was a trash heap. I, along with the help of my wife, spent hours cleaning the place up. I know. Not my responsibility. But my wife being Japanese just couldn't let the apartment stay that way. I'm glad she insisted.

It always those bad apples that make things difficult for the rest of us.

26 ( +30 / -4 )

As a building owner who rents out, I can say oyattosa is absolutely correct ultimately.

that being said, there is a particular foreigner demographic (not specifically mentioned in this article) that we’ve been burned by time and time again, costing us thousands of dollars each time. We chose not to be burned again.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

It is nice that Mr Suto took on himself to do something about the problem, on the other hand it is very sad that the need for something like this is still present.

23 ( +26 / -3 )

Services open doors for minorities in Japan looking for housing

Please "minorities"?

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

"undesirable" tenants in Japan.

Undesirable, foreigners can be considered as undesirable same like people with family and pet. The only desirable tenante are single young Japanese salaryman

15 ( +24 / -9 )

I've signed numerous leases in Japan and was a guarantor twice.

Never had a problem with that. 

If you own a building you can rent to anyone you please, no matter what the Woke eternal victims claim.

That's the point of owning something. It' s yours...

-18 ( +16 / -34 )

Wonderful to see this kind of movement sprouting up in Japan. It's long overdue for housing prejudice to be dissolved out of society.

How on Earth did people come to the ridiculous conclusion that LGBTQ community members, foreigners, and the elderly were 'dirty' and likely to leave early?! It's collective ego-conditioned mind at its worst.

16 ( +26 / -10 )

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