GPod: Renting an apartment in Tokyo


One of the first major challenges that many foreigners face when moving to Japan is renting an apartment.

Renting an apartment is a complicated process filled with all sorts of historic regulations and procedures, strange acronyms, and more fees than you can possibly imagine.

To help us understand this process we are joined by Adam German from Real Estate Japan, who is going to guide us through the necessary steps in securing your new home in Japan.

© Japan Today

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Can't forget SakuraHouse, the infamous Gaijin stopover for foreign students at the end of their Student Visas, foreign contract workers and/or short-term stay visitors to Japan... I know they have alot of lower-end apartments that are pretty bad, but at the same time, they are a non-traditional realtor that has significantly fewer fees (key money, insurance for the insurance, etc) and better flexible leasing options.

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When I rented an apartment. I had to pay 2 months of rent for Rei-kin (thank money) and 2 months of rent for deposit as Shiki-kin and one month rent in advance, so I had to pay total 5 months rents in advance at local real estate agent and I needed someone as guarantor to rent. Rei-kin will be never renturned because of thank money. Renewal of contract (every 2 years) will take extra 1 month rent from you. I think this is very crazy system to rent apartment in Tokyo.

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Lol, all these people telling you it's complicated. It's a scam, don't believe them, they just want your money. Go to UR or JKK, with a little bit of Japanese, no key money BS, no guarantoor BS, no renewal BS, no discrimination BS, virtually what you expect from a real estate service in first world country, just pick an area you want to live in, pick a building, then pick a room, and sign.

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Interesting information. I remember when I first started looking for an apartment, I was quite stressed out and was lucky to have a friend that said I could share an apartment with until I found something on my own.

I am not sure if the information about UR is wrong or different depending on the location, but I currently live in a UR apartment and I can assure you that I never had to pay for a guarantor. Perhaps the cost was included into the price of the apartment, but I have to say that I looked at many comparable apartments and the cost is actually lower.

The only thing I needed was proof of employment. I was able to choose my move in date (which also depends on the apartment's readiness) and I had to pay 3 months rent up front. The first month's rent, and the last two months rent. Apparently, the damage deposit was included with that. When and if I decide to move out, I basically don't pay for the last two months, which is how I get my money back.

The apartment I chose was older (probably 70s) but in good condition. They also did a quick refurbish of the apartment (new paint, wallpaper, etc) and was in good shape when I moved in. Fortunately, I haven't had any problems with it, so I've never had to contact anyone. I'm not even sure who I would if something happened (although I was given a guide when I first moved in -- in Japanese).

It's true that there is NOTHING in the apartments when you move in though. I was lucky, and there was ONE lightbulb in the bathroom which someone .. 'forgot'?

I would totally choose UR again if I had to change locations.

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Its not hard, don't goto a gaijin house, find a real estate agent, the smaller the better because they will work hard for you.

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While we were renting, we had to pay a yearly "renewal fee" which amounted to one month's rent, what BS. I'm sure that went right from the real estate agent into some yakuza's pocket.

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