Section in charge: Residence Support Section, Housing Division
You can use consultation services offered by housing consultants (real estate brokers) dispatched by real estate industry groups within Shinjuku City.
Hours: First through fourth Thursdays and Fridays (excluding national holidays, etc.), 1 to 4 p.m. (Reservations required.)
Location: Housing Division, Shinjuku City Office Main Bldg. 7F
Information on housing vacancies is provided so that elderly and disabled persons unable to look for a place to live can find private rental places without problems.
●Real Estate Broker Consultation
You can ask for advice about problems related to private rental contracts for the elderly or disabled persons. Advice is also given on real estate transactions, rental contracts and other topics.
Before Looking for Accommodation
If your company does not have company housing, or if your school does not have a dormitory, or if there is no room available even if there is such housing, then please visit the consultation desk of your company or school and ask if it is possible for them to introduce you to an apartment or other such housing.
If your company or school cannot offer advice, then you must find housing by yourself.
The best way to find housing is to ask your friends who live in Japan, look at housing information magazines (in Japanese) sold at kiosks or book stores, gather information, such as what kind of room (in terms of size and facilities) you can rent in a specific area for a specific rate, and consider your own needs, such as your income and convenience in terms of transportation for your commute to work or school. Then decide on the range of rent you are able to afford and the area where you would like to live.
Please note that it is best to set a limit of 25 to 30% of your income as a maximum ceiling for your rent; otherwise, it may cause financial difficulties in your everyday life.
●Preparations Before Looking for Housing
- Have about five to six months’ rent ready in advance, as there are many fees involved with finding a room and finalizing a contract.
- When finalizing a contract, you may need a guarantor. If you are having difficulty finding someone who will share the liability, you might try consulting your school or company.
- Have your personal seal ready if you are from a country with the custom of using personal seals.
Looking for Accommodation
Once you have a general idea of where you would like to live, you can start the actual search for housing. In Japan, it is not usual to finalize a contract directly with the landlord of an apartment or house; instead, a real estate agent contracted by the landlord (there are many in front of train stations and along the main streets) handles the procedures from finding and moving into a new home to finalizing the rental contract. There are also agencies that are contracted to supervise the building and tenants.
●Precautions When Looking for Housing
- If you are not confident about your Japanese-language ability, it is recommended to look for housing with a friend who can speak Japanese well.
- When consulting with a real estate agent, clearly give your personal information (such as the name of your school or place of employment), your income (whether it is salary or money sent from home), the name of and relationship with your cohabitor/lodger and joint guarantor, and an idea of where you would like to live. Also, it is very important to confirm conditions and restrictions of the room. You may be asked to show some form of identification, such as your residence card, school/company ID card, or salary statement.
- If you find a room that is close to your idea of where you would like to live, go with the real estate agent to see the apartment for yourself, rather than finalizing a rental contract right away. When visiting the location, the real estate agent should give sufficient explanation of the building, and room facilities (check for any damage); you should check other conditions, such as the surroundings (particularly for shops and means of transportation nearby) and amount of sunshine; ask questions if anything is not clear to you; then, if everything is suitable for you, make an appointment to finalize the contract and confirm how much money and what documents you will need to prepare.
Prepare the necessary fees and documents (such as the letter of consent from the guarantor) stipulated by the real estate agent before finalizing the contract on the appointed contract date. Contracts may be renewable (after the contract period) or nonrenewable. Usually, the contract is prepared by the real estate agent. The content of the contract varies with the real estate agent and the landlord. Contracts generally use difficult words, and many are difficult to understand with just one reading. The law requires a real estate agent to explain the key terms of the contract to the tenant—such as the dimensions and layout of the room, and the rules and restrictions that need to be followed. In addition, the contract terms must be issued in writing so that the tenant sufficiently understands the content of the contract and conduct a safe negotiation before finalizing the agreement. Any points that are not clear should be clarified by asking questions. If the tenant agrees with the contract terms, he/she should sign or affix his/her name stamp on the contract to finalize it. The contract form includes three copies—one for the tenant, one for the landlord, and one for the real estate agent.
When you pay the necessary fees, be sure you obtain a receipt. Furthermore, although there are differences in the fees and their amount depending on the landlord and real estate agent, the following are customary in the metropolitan area:
The fee for using the building (room) and affiliated facilities (paid in monthly units). When finalizing the contract, pay the rent for the month of the contract starting date. For most contracts, rent is paid in advance at the end of the month for rental the following month. There are many payment methods, so be sure to confirm the payment method when finalizing the contract. The rental rate is rarely changed during the effective period of the contract.
●Kyoeki-hi (Common Utility and Maintenance Fees)
A fee for use of electricity in and the cleaning of common areas, such as the stairs and hallways, as well as maintenance fees.
This is money that is deposited with the landlord as security for paying the rent and fulfilling other rental contract obligations (usually, one or two months’ rent). Although the entire deposit is returned when you vacate the premises, in some cases, costs for repairs or any unpaid rent are deducted, depending on the situation.
●Reikin (Gift Money)
This gift money paid to the landlord is not legally required, but is paid as a custom of the community (usually, one or two months’ rent). This money is not returned.
●Chukai-Tesuryo (Agent’s Fee)
This is paid to the real estate agent as a handling fee. The typical amount required is one month’s rent plus consumption tax.
April 1, 2020