Renting sysrtem


Every country has its own way of doing things, so does Tokyo. It may be unique to your country but with a proper guidance and assistance, foreigners could also be settling in well quickly and comfortably without stress.

Here are a few things that will help you to get a total picture of the renting system in Tokyo.

The Process & Initial Cost

Getting a real estate agency would be the best idea to find a desired property in Tokyo. Language barrier could be a major concern to you but please be reminded to find an agency that also has experience in dealing with foreigners. Agency with enough experience serving foreigners could provide better advice and introduce foreign friendly properties. This will help you to get a place you like quickly. The property renting system could be a bit tricky as most of the owners or property management companies could not speak English. Experienced real estate agent would be able to deal with the owners or property management companies well that lead to successful deal.

In an ideal case, the below is process. Your real estate agent will go through each step with you until you move in. So leave the worries to your agent.

Initial Cost

Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. You must prepare a sum of money you will need for the first payment. Of course, it depends on the property you select, but in general, there will be deposit, key money, agency fee, fire insurance, key change etc. that you will have to pay. Here is a general reference which could provide you an idea.

Rent per month: 120,000 yen
Lease start date: 16th Oct

In an ideal case, the below is process. Your real estate agent will go through each step with you until you move in. So leave the worries to your agent

In the above case, you will have to pay an initial cost of JPY721,696, about 4-6 times of your monthly rent. However please be alert that it will vary depending on the amount of Deposit, Key money and guarantor fee charge which again base on the property you apply. Another element will be the lease contract start date. Thus timing is important. On top of the initial cost, you must set aside some amount for your utilities, furniture etc.

Key Money
Key money is known as reikin in Japanese(礼金). It is paid as a gratitude to the landlord. It started in the era of post war when the economy was at its boom and properties supply was low. To obtain prospective property, tenant paid key money to landlord to get in front of the line. Since then, this cultural practice continues. However nowadays, there are owner / property management offering without key money

Guarantor Company
Guarantor company acts like an insurance company who will absorb our rent in case you are unable to pay. It is known as hoshokaisha (保証会社). Most of the property will require a guarantor. You will be asked to provide a Japanese national as guarantor. If not, you will have to find a guarantor company. Normally, your real estate agent will be able to assist you on that. A guarantor fee will be charged to you.

Maintenance Fee
Maintenance fee is a monthly charge that is for use to maintain the apartment you are living in (common area, garbage service, elevator maintenance etc). This fee varies according to property. Some property does not require this fee.

Fire Insurance
This is a mandatory insurance that every tenant must pay for. The fee is generally for 2 years and will be determined by your property management. The term is generally 2-year and renewal is required.

Key exchange
This is a common charge for new tenant. The owner will exchange the lock before you move in. Sometimes you will be asked whether the change of lock is required.

Agency Fee
This is a commission for your real estate agent for their service. 1 month rent with consumption tax is very common.

General Requirement

When you have found your apartment, and are readied to apply, there are documents the property management will need. Your real estate agent will let you know. Documents require may be different base on the type of contract (e.g. personal, company, students). However, some common documents and information needed are as follow. Shall there be any different or additional, your real estate will advise you.

1. Residence card
2. Income certificate / employment letter with annum salary stated
3. Emergency contact
a) Japanese national or Japan PR
b) Family (e.g. parents back home)

Along the way, your real estate agent will advise you about the documents and information needed.

Property Related Terminology

(Japanese)                                                              ←→                                                                 (English)
Shikikin 敷金 (しききん)                                                                                                      Deposit
Reikin 礼金 (れいきん)                                                                                                         Key money
Chinryo 賃料(ちんりょう)                                                                                                   Rent
Hoshokin 保証金(ほしょうきん)                                                                                        Guarantor fee
Hoshokaisha 保証会社 (ほしょうかいしゃ)                                                                 Guarantor company
Kanrihi 管理費(かんりひ)                                                                                                    Maintenance fee
Kanrikansha 管理会社 (かんりかいしゃ)                                                                      Property management company
Kasaihoken 火災保険 (かさいほけん)                                                                            Fire insurance
Kasaihokenryo 火災保険料 (かさいほけんりょう)                                                     Fire insurance charge
Chukaitesuryo 仲介手数料 (ちゅうかいてすうりょう)                                             Agency fee
Kagikoukanhiyo 鍵交換費用 (かぎこうかんひよ)                                                       Key exchange charge