Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Renting an Apartment in Japan

Let us take you through the whole process.

One of the most difficult things to do when a foreigner moves to Japan is renting a house. Even if you’ve already chosen an area or place you want to live in, it may take a lot of time to actually rent a house without a hitch. You also might not know how to search and prepare the necessary things due to the unique rules of Japanese rental housing.

In this article, we will take you through the whole process if you plan on renting your own apartment in Japan.

Determine your needs.

Before you reach out to any agency, it is best to decide where you would want to live in first. After choosing an area, determine the size of the house you want as well. Make sure it’s within your rent budget.

Collect information.

Once you know the conditions you want, that is the perfect time to check in with a real estate agent who will present you with possible candidates or options. You can either walk into any agency you pass by, or browse through websites to find one that suits you.

Visit a real estate agent.

After finding something that interests you, you might want to start talking with the real estate agent. The agent will ask you for your preferences so they can present properties that best fit your requirements.

Visit the property.

When you have finally chosen a property, the agent will contact the landlord to check if the property is still available and if they allow foreign tenants. If it is still available, the agent will bring you to the actual property to visit and check it for yourself.


The agent usually recommends you decide immediately as most properties are also offered by other agencies. Once you have decided, the agent shall prepare an application form to be submitted to the landlord for acceptance of your intention to rent the place. Usually, the landlord runs an investigation on your income and employer. This is the same process if your guarantor is an individual.

Preparing the contract.

Upon approval of your application, the negotiation for the contract is done between the agent and the landlord. This is also the time to give them your estimated date of moving in, so that they can give you an estimation of the total amount to be paid. Depending on the negotiation, this may or may not include the key money, deposit, agent’s fee, insurance, chance of lock or keys, and others. Make sure to clarify this with your agent.


Signing of contract.

Once the terms are agreed upon, you will be asked to sign the contract, finalize the date of your move-in, and agree on a date when you can get your keys to the place.

Apply for utilities.

The utilities are water, gas, and electricity. You will have to contact them or create an account online. It is best to apply the soonest your move-in date has been fixed to make sure you have all the lifelines ready by the time you get to your new home.

Notify your municipal office.

If you’re moving to a different district, you must file a
Tenshutsutodoke or a notification of moving out to your current residence’s municipal office. Once you have a copy on hand, you must then go to your new municipal office and file for a Tenyutodoke or a notification of transfer so your records in the government will be up-to-date.

Move in.

Normally, your agent will meet you at the property to personally hand over the keys. Once you get in, there will be a folder provided, which includes all the information and guidance you will need for your new home. This information includes the schedule of garbage disposals, your locker or postbox codes, who and what to call in emergencies, and others. Keep it for future reference.

Now that you know all the steps, ready to move in?

 (10 December 2019)

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