Everything is in a nutshell when you are a foreigner trying to find an apartment for rent in Japan. Let’s start at the beginning of why are you coming here and looking for a house, an apartment?

Why are you looking for an apartment to rent in Japan?

  • You have a job, and before coming here, you are trying to know how can you live here in Japan.
  • You are coming here to look for a job, this, actually you cannot rent an apartment, however, there are alternatives, like monthly apartment option.
  • You already live here, have a job, and planning to stay for the long term. If this is you, good job, you might be eligible to rent a house. Unless you don’t have Japanese friends or the company doesn’t want to be your guarantor. (Most of them will do, don’t worry)

So if you are in the 1st situation, let’s move to the next section.

When will you come to Japan?

  • Next 6 months? Too early, as the housing market moves every day, people moving in and out, and good places soon will be out of stock.
  • In the next 2 months? This seems to be a good time to ask the real estate agency, unfortunately. Unless you are willing to pay extra 1-month rent to keep the place, they are not willing to keep it for you.
  • You will be in Japan within a week. Great, now you can ask the real estate to introduce you to multiple places, and you can visit them when you came to Japan. So what’s now?

I assume that you are new here.

Apartment for rent in Japan usually required a few initial money, so be prepare.

  • First, it’s a deposit, very likely to have anywhere in the world, takes around 1-month rent.
  • Second, key money, which is your gift to the landlord. Yes, it is a gift and you will not get it back, it also takes around 1-month rent.
  • Third, agency fee, this will again, asking you for another month’s rent.
  • Fourth, 1st-month rent, and true that it is not included.

And in total, you have to pay around 4-months’ worth of rent for the initial cost in order to stay for 1-month. Hey, don’t worry about being kicked out after a month’s stay, all contracts are 2-years fix. And it is a down-turn, if you move out within the contract, either lose the deposit or paying extra.

Before that, hey, you need somewhere to stay during your house-hunting time, right?

This is where you are going to pay extra for hotel, motel, Airbnb. The cheaper version would be sharehouse.

So do you have any friends here that you can rely on, maybe a few days to stay, or somebody can be your guarantor? As in Japan, if you don’t have a Japanese friend (or people who have been living here long-term) do the guaranteeing thing for you, you cannot rent an apartment.

That just concluded the first part of renting an apartment here in Japan, for house agency cost. Will you live in a house with nothing? We will explain that in the second part, of what else you need to prepare to live in Japan.

Then why don’t you come and stay with our lovely local hosts? They have been renting out their rooms for foreigners for years, some of them have been doing that for over 8 years, accepting not just students, but also working adults. They and Homii Homestay will provide you the best place to stay with no deposit, no key money, all utilities included, and best of all, a family feeling.

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