COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
national

Owner of 4 derelict houses becomes 1st in nation to have name made public

13 Comments

In response to the persistent problem of derelict vacant houses full of garbage, Koriyama City officials in Fukushima Prefecture have taken legal action by enacting a new ordinance that authorizes the owner's name to be released to the public. This ordinance is the first of its kind in Japan.

On Thursday, Koriyama City named Shotaro Hirano as the owner of four derelict houses which city officials said were overflowing with garbage, Sankei Shimbun reported.

City officials have also informed Hirano that the trash accumulated in his four homes will be forcibly removed and discarded and that the houses will be demolished if he doesn't clean them out.

Nationwide, many local governments are starting to take action by demolishing vacant houses that have been abandoned for a long time and which are deemed to be unsafe or pose a sanitary risk.

The moves come in response to a law drawn up last year by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry to deal with the increasing number of abandoned houses.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry estimates that there are 8.2 million abandoned houses across the nation, many of which have become decrepit, in danger of collapse, or have attracted pests.

The new law allows municipal authorities to enter the houses for inspection. If they are deemed to pose a health hazard, they will be classified as “Special Vacant Houses” and their owners will be notified and ordered to either repair the houses or demolish them.

However, municipalities say that some houses have long been abandoned and there is no record of where the owners are or if they are even still alive. They say this raises the question of who will pay for the demolition of the houses, which costs an average of 2 million yen.

To encourage owners to rid themselves of an abandoned home, the preferential property tax rate normally levied on a residential property will be replaced by a rate six times higher.

Despite the ongoing decline in Japan’s population due to the low birth rate, some one million newly built residences go on the market each year in Japan. The signs of a glut are finally starting to manifest themselves, and particularly outside of major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, many new units are unable to find buyers.

Children who inherit such properties may find themselves faced with the triple-whammy of owning a house that is “unrentable,” “unsellable” and “unliveable,” leaving them with the prospect of paying maintenance, upkeep and taxes for the foreseeable future.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
Login to comment

To encourage owners to rid themselves of an abandoned home, the preferential property tax rate normally levied on a residential property will be replaced by a rate six times higher.

It his hard to sell an abandoned home when homes and property in depreciate rapidly, which is quite unlike other countries were real estate is usually a safe investment. Added to the depreciation is the fact that with the population falling by hundreds of thousands every year, who is going to want to buy an abandoned home? And charging 6 times the normal residential tax rate is pretty much the same as confiscating the property.

But even if the state confiscates the property, in most cases it cannot use or resell it. All it can do is use taxpayer money (an average of two million yen, or so says the article) to demolish the building on the property. But that is probably the trick; when it comes out to awarding demolition contracts, there is sure to be a fair amount of graft involved. Another way for politicians and bureaucrats to profit at the cost of the taxpayers.

It would be cheaper for the taxpayers simply to leave things as they are, and put up with the safety risk. At least the properties are providing some kind of revenue to the state. If they are torn down, the state (taxpayers) foot the bill, and get stuck with a property which for the most part cannot be sold or generate revenue of any kind.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

If the city take a land without any identifiable owner, they can still resell it to a parking company after the demolition. Where I live, old houses and closed shops are all turning into paying parkings, one after another. Guess the owners couldn't find any normal buyers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They say this raises the question of who will pay for the demolition of the houses, which costs an average of 2 million yen.

A lighter costs ¥100 for a pack of three. Firemen could use them as practice after they are almost burnt down. Of course, not a good idea if in a crowded neighborhood.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

what good will naming and shaming do? the central gov't should step in an build affordable housing for people on welfare in the area.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

To encourage owners to rid themselves of an abandoned home, the preferential property tax rate normally levied on a residential property will be replaced by a rate six times higher.

How is that legal? Some old person who has a few family houses can't afford to fix them so they have to be destroyed or they are forced to pay extortion fees?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

in Koriyama? Not the best place to showcase such example...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If the house was knocked down and the rubble cleared, who owns the land? if its the original owner, he must be singing all the way to the bank! free house demolition all he has to do is sell the land or rebuild another house.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

what good will naming and shaming do? the central gov't should step in an build affordable housing for people on welfare in the area.

If you live in the countryside, and have a family, you can rent a 5LDK single family house from between 10,000 to 30,000 yen per month. There is no housing problem for low income or welfare dependent families, there are simply too few people to occupy the vast number of vacant houses. Even if they were given out for free, most would still remain empty. By the middle of the century, there may be as many as three times as many vacant homes.

I follow the government sales of real estate around Japan, properties sold for arrears taxes and such, you can buy a house in most of Japan for the same price as a used car. I have seen homes and lots sell for as little as 100,000 yen, but even for that price it would be a foolish investment for most people.

If the house was knocked down and the rubble cleared, who owns the land? if its the original owner, he must be singing all the way to the bank! free house demolition all he has to do is sell the land or rebuild another house.

The owner will be billed for the demolition, if he can be found. If he can't pay, or can't be found, the property will be put up for sale, and the government will be lucky to recoup a fraction of the cost of demolition.

Where I live, old houses and closed shops are all turning into paying parkings, one after another.

Vacant land is taxed higher than developed land, with the exception of farm land. A parking lot is considered a development, so whoever owns the parking lot pays less tax than he otherwise would. Around Tokyo the situation the same, any vacant spot not being developed is converted to a coin parking lot until a buyer can be found for the spot, or construction on a larger project can begin.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I wonder if the stuff in the houses is actual garbage or is he hoarding a bunch things he bought or found on the streets? Man, I would auction the heck out of that stuff if he has something valuable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

, you can rent a 5LDK single family house from between 10,000 to 30,000 yen per month

No way this is true.

I have seen homes and lots sell for as little as 100,000 yen,

I don't believe this either.

Please post a link for any of the above.

Regarding the above story, there must be something more to it. foir derelict houses full of garbage owned by one person? Doesn't sound right at all

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The root of the problem is the fundamental flaw in city planning and enforcing home building regulations.

First reason for poor resale outlook of homes is quality and design of neighboorhoods, I have encountered this first hand in Japan their is no consistnacy in building nice neighborhoods.

Property laws are to lax and not consistant. In the West and most developed countries People take pride in their homes and neighborhoods and keep the property clean and the buildings maintaned.

Second the realestate companies are a joke and alot of them have ties to indesirables.

I could go on and on but until they stop putting buildings on a postage stamp size property in the middle of nowhere and houses that looked like they where designed by a someone on acid it will never change.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@BuBuBu

I often ski in Yuzawa, Niigata. They are selling condos there for 2 million yen, which is only 18000 USD - and that's in one of the country's most popular ski resorts. I can easily imagine that what sangetsu said is true in countryside areas which have no ski industry or other form of tourism industry

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A condo(40 square meters?) being sold for 18,000$US is a lot different than a home (+100 square meters) being sold for 900$US. The fees alone for property title changes are several thousand dollars. There is no chance you could buy property for 100,000¥.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites