General Information of Rental in Japan

Table of Contents

Essential Knowledge of rental in Japan

Prior to renting a property in Japan, there are some basic preparations necessary. Below is a brief explanation of the documents and items required in order to proceed a rental application.

Necessary Documents and Fees

Application process

1. Japanese Identification Card (Zairyuu Card 在留カード)

2. Proof of Identification (Passport, Driver's License etc. 身分証明書 ex. パスポート、運転免許証など)

3. Revenue Certificate (所得証明書)

4. Proof of Employment/Proof of School Enrollment 在籍証明書

We recommend everyone to prepare for 4 items below BEFORE going to an agent office. Otherwise many of the agent will not be helpful to start searching a property for you.

Contract signing

1. Personal Seal (Inkan 印鑑)

2. Proof of Identification (Passport, Driver's License etc. 身分証明書 ex. パスポート、運転免許証など)

3. Proof of Residence (Jyuminhyo 住民票)

4. Up-front fees (Typically Security Deposit, Key Money, and Brokerage Fee)

Rental Rules in detail

In Japan, there is an implicit tradition known as “Gift money”, which is the custom of making a one time payment to the landlord of an apartment upon move-in. Though this practice varies depending on the region of Japan, it is an old custom. In the Tokyo metropolitan area, paying an amount equal to 1~2 months rent is common, though in recent years “Zero Gift-money” properties have been increasing.

Because your security deposit is offset by the cost to restore the property to its original condition, it is common that you will not receive a complete refund when you move out!

Security deposits in Japan act as a sort of “guarantee fee” paid at the time that you sign the contract. This money is partly refunded when you move out of the property. In Japan, apartment rentals come with a standard contract clause called “Property Restorations” (原状回復). As a rule, when you move out of the apartment, the property will be returned back to the original condition before you moved in. Please know that repair costs such as holes in walls from thumb tacks or nails, scratches in flooring, etc, as well as the cleaning cost for the room will be deducted from the security deposit and will not be refunded.

In foreign countries, it is common case that extra fees such as building/common area maintenance fees and administrative fees are included as part of rent. In Japan, however, there are often extra required fees that are excluded as part of the base rent amount. These funds are devoted to the maintenance of the building’s entrance, lounge, etc. When deciding your rental budget, you should check with us to see whether or not any additional separate administrative or communal fees are required.

In Japan, a “renewal fee” is necessary when renewing your leasing contract. The renewal fee is generally an amount equal to one month rent. Since the standard rental contract length is 2 years, if you wish to remain in the apartment for longer than that period, you should pay the renewal fee and renew the contract before moving out date.