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Troubles in rental contracts of foreigners in Japan and 5 recommended real estate companies

Intro

As of June 2018, the number of foreigners residing in Japan is 2,637,251 (according to the Ministry of Justice), which is said to be the highest ever. This is about 2% of Japan's total population and is expected to increase in the future. The Japanese government is also planning to increase the number of foreigners residing in Japan as demand for workers is expected to increase with the declining birthrate and aging population.
When a foreigner comes to Japan for the purpose of residence, the first thing to think about is where to live.
In fact, many foreigners who came to Japan are often surprised by Japanese rental contract rules. There are some cases where you may have trouble renting a residence without understanding the rules of the rental contract.
Unfortunately, discrimination or prejudice against foreigners still exists, and it is difficult for foreigners to enter into rental contracts. Even those who hire foreigners must understand the rules of rental contracts.
In this article, we will introduce 5 real estate companies recommended for foreigner rental contracts and conditions for foreigners residing in Japan.

Japanese rental rules that surprise foreigners

It is normal that the deposit is fully refunded overseas?
In rental contracts for residence, it is common to pay deposits, key money, renewal fees, and guarantee. However, this is actually a rental system unique to Japan.
In Japan, a contractor arranged by a management company using a security deposit carries out cleaning and repairs, and in some cases, a partial refund may be made or a fee may be charged if insufficient. However, overseas, the deposit is the same as the cost for the borrower to perform repairs at the time of moving out, but in many cases it is deposited at a third-party organization and the total amount may be refunded.

There is no custom of “key money and renewal fee”
“Key money / renewal fee” is not familiar to foreigners in terms of expenses related to Japanese rental properties. It’s easy to understand the guarantee and the security deposit, but many people are confused about why they have to pay key money.
The custom of Japanese key money comes from the “Rental Rent Control Order” established before the war. It is said that this method was adopted because it is difficult to raise the rent, but it is difficult to say that it is in line with the present age.
In the Tokyo metropolitan area and Kyoto, “renewal fees” are often generated in the same way as key money. Many people are confused about why they have to pay to extend the contract.

4 things foreigners have trouble with rental contracts

Finding a guarantor essential for entering is difficult

When renting a house, the first thing you need to think about is a guarantor. The guarantor system does not matter whether you are a foreigner or a Japanese, but for foreigners who have few acquaintances in Japan, finding a guarantor can be hard.
Currently, there are properties that do not require a guarantor (separate review is required), and even HR staff from companies hiring them, teachers and clerks in their schools (in the case of international students) can be guarantors, so it is possible for foreigners to enter into a rental contract even if they don’t have acquaintances in Japan at first.
In addition, there is a company called a guarantee company that receives a certain guarantee fee from the borrower and acts on its behalf.

Difficulty in understanding the degree of restoration and damage
In Japan, it is said that the conditions for restoring the original condition when moving out are detailed. Therefore, there is a possibility that a difference occurs in recognition and a trouble occurs.
The government has put together a precedent as a measure to prevent the restoration of the original condition, it’s better to understand it before renting a house.

Difficulty in understanding the cancellation procedure
In Japan, rental contracts are automatically renewed in most cases, but overseas, they are rarely renewed automatically. If you wish to renew, you must apply.
Since the rules for cancellation and continuation are different from those in your home country, be sure to check the contract carefully when you move in.

Can I sign up if I don't speak Japanese?
There is no need to speak Japanese when signing a rent contract. Some real estate companies support English, Korean, Chinese, etc. If you choose such a company, don't worry. Be sure to resolve any concerns or questions before signing a contract.

Common troubles when entering a rental contract for foreigners

In this part, we will introduce some of the troubles that foreigners often encounter when signing a rental contract in Japan.

The biggest trouble is the contents of the contract
Real estate lease agreements are troublesome and difficult even for Japanese people to read. However, if you make a contract without understanding the meaning of the contract, trouble may occur.
When a foreigner moves in, it is often necessary to submit many documents such as a passport and work certificate. Since the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism website has guidelines for smooth rental contracts (in 6 languages), it’s better to take a look at it before signing a contract.

Problems in opening a bank account
In many cases, the rent is debited from the bank account. However, opening a bank account may require a certain amount of income and Japanese language skills, which may be difficult for some foreigners.
Since there are detailed regulations such as not being able to open a bank account in a short stay, please open a bank account after understanding well.

Trouble with neighboring residents after moving in
Due to differences in culture between Japan and foreigners, there are many cases where troubles with neighboring residents occur after moving in. Below are some common troubles, so let's understand problems that may occur in advance and take countermeasures.
Noise such as music
Most of the troubles after moving in are noise problems. Some foreigners entertain you at night, but loud sounds at night can be a nuisance to your neighbors. There are some real estate companies that no longer have lease contracts with foreigners due to noise, so be careful with that as well.

Rent delinquency
Rent delinquency is one of the most losing trusts. Even if one rent is delinquent, in some cases it will be blacklisted and you may not be able to rent it elsewhere.

Not understanding the management rules for apartments
Rules such as apartments and mansions are one of the important things when moving in. The rules are different, but here are two examples that are particularly prone to cause trouble.
[Trash out]
In Japan, trash classification, day of the week, and trash location are determined in detail. If you don't follow the rules, crows and other parts may be damaged, so you need to be especially careful.
However, overseas people often do not have such customs, so prior understanding is required.
[Living together without permission is not allowed]
There are some cases that a total different person lived in the house instead of the borrower. It may be for the person to cause trouble with neighboring residents, and the borrower may not be able to rent a contract elsewhere.

5 recommended properties for foreigners to rent

株式会社青日進(Aonissin Co. Ltd.) http://www.aonissin.com/
Aonissin Co. Ltd. is a real estate company headquartered in Tokyo that has been ranked first in the real estate leasing agency (2016 edition) chosen by foreigners. It is a real estate company for foreigners, and introduces rental condominiums, apartments, single-family houses that can accommodate foreigners in the Tokyo metropolitan area, as well as properties that can share rooms. Property grades range from cheap rentals to luxury properties.
There is a dedicated staff specializing in real estate which can provide support in English, Chinese and Korean, so people who are not good at Japanese can feel secure. You can easily rent with difficult rental contract documents, gas / water / electricity / internet procedures, and get support after moving in.

It is a company that operates mainly in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba, so it may be difficult outside of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

株式会社レジデンストーキョー Residence Tokyo https://residencetokyo.jp/
A real estate company headquartered in Tokyo, focusing on short-term rentals with a focus on monthly share houses for foreigners. Since its establishment in 2009, they have been developing and operating furnished apartments, monthly condominiums and hotels for foreigners.
More than 300 units are operated mainly in Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa, Akihabara, Asakusa, etc., which are popular among businessmen and travelers, and it is popular among foreigners visiting Japan from short to medium to long term.
The property is fully equipped with furniture, home appliances and unlimited Wi-Fi, as well as people who speak English, Korean, Chinese, etc. are stationed at the headquarters to handle applications and inquiries. In addition, a 24-hour self-check-in / out system using an electronic numeric keypad has been adopted to further improve user convenience, including no deposit, key money, guarantor, and card payment.
There are places that do not require security deposits, key money, or guarantors, so it is ideal for people who are looking for a place to live immediately.

株式会社グローバルトラストネットワークス https://www.gtn.co.jp/zh-CHS/
Global Trust Network Co., Ltd. is a guarantee company especially for foreigners. Headquartered in Tokyo, they offer a wide range of room search services for foreigners in Japan, such as real estate rental brokerage for individuals and corporations, company housing and student dormitory management. We have a track record of tie-up with 10,000 real estate management companies, and we have overseas branch offices and Internet services, so you can contract Japanese properties while you are in a foreign country.
Multilingual guides and explanations for finding properties are available (English, Chinese, Cantonese, Taiwan, Korea, Nepal, Vietnam), and support after moving in is free. Since Global Trust Networks Co., Ltd. is a guarantee company especially for foreigners, it introduces the properties of agencies with quick screening and fewer troubles.

あすみらい株式会社 http://www.asumirai.co.jp/index.html
Asumirai Co., Ltd. is a real estate company with headquarters in Tokyo and a branch office in Fukuoka. You can search from all rental property information such as rental apartments, condominiums, detached houses, room sharing properties, etc. that are welcomed by foreigners, from cheap rentals to luxury properties.
Supports foreigners in Japan for rental contracts in multiple languages ​​such as Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, English, Nepalese and Spanish so that foreigners who are not good at Japanese can also make contracts. Even foreigners who are unfamiliar with their lives can feel at ease from when they move in until they move out, including how to take out trash, open accounts, set up gas, water, and electricity.

We have introduced common troubles and recommended properties in this article. Hope this will help you find a good place to live in Japan.