The rental system of many conventional real estate companies is not very foreigner friendly.
Apartments are usually rented for a minimum of two years, which conflicts with the fact that many foreigners stay in Japan for less than two years.
Furthermore, most landlords are naturally reluctant to rent their apartments to foreigners who are not able to communicate in Japanese. Some of them will even categorically refuse their service to non permanent residents out of fear of frictions.
Many agents also require you to provide them with information about your financial background and to have a guarantor co-sign the rental contract as another security measure. Certain conditions apply as who can serve as your guarantor. It must usually be a Japanese national with a stable financial background.
Not at last, entering a rental contract with a conventional real estate company is very expensive. A number of refundable and non refundable fees have to be paid, often totaling three to ten months’ rent, depending on the company and apartment:
The tetsukekin is paid when you apply for an apartment, and before the actual rental contract is signed. It serves as a guarantee for you that the apartment is not given to somebody else, and for the agent that you do not change your mind. It is refunded after the actual contract is signed and is usually equivalent to about one month’s rent.
The deposit is used to cover eventual future damage to the apartment. The deposit minus the cost for repairs is refunded when you move out. The deposit is usually equivalent to several months’ rent.
This is a non refundable payment to the landlord in the amount of up to several months’ rent.
This is a non refundable payment to the real estate agent in the amount of at most one month’s rent.
In most cases, apartments come unfurnished, utilities are not included in the rent, and pets are not allowed. Please read more about Japanese apartments and furniture.