Tips for Renters to Avoid Damage
Walls – Cloth Wallpaper
The typical wall coverings in Japanese apartments and homes are light colored cloth wallpaper which can be quite easily stained or torn. It is the tenant’s responsibility to keep these coverings clean and to avoid doing anything that may result in holes being made in the walls. Hanging pictures on the walls is certainly permissible if proper precautions are taken. Therefore, do not use screws, nails, or even pins without brackets when hanging pictures on the walls. The use of pin-type hanging brackets is recommended as they leave only pinholes which are hardly noticeable. You can buy pin-type hanging brackets at just about any lifestyle or hardware store such as Tokyu Hands.
Tokyu Hands Shibuya
- located 5 minutes northwest from the Hachiko Square exit of Shibuya Station
10a.m. – 8:30p.m. – (03) 5489 – 5111
Tokyu Hands Shinjuku
- located a few minutes from the south exit of Shinjuku JR station in the Takashimaya department store
10a.m. – 8:30p.m. – (03) 5361 – 3111
The carpets are the most expensive interior item and should be looked after with care to avoid damage or staining. Try to avoid putting any plants on carpeted floors as the bottom may get moldy even if in a waterproof vase. If you have a plant on the floor you should move it frequently, especially in the summer.
Moving In – Maintenance
Placement of Furniture
When moving in and carrying furniture, all pieces should be wrapped in blankets, or cardboard in order not to damage the walls or floors. Your moving company will have to contact your new building management in order to arrange for the move-in and follow any special conditions during the move. To prevent mold it is a good idea to keep the area directly behind furniture ventilated by placing furniture at least 5 centimeters away from the walls.
Unlike the typical apartment in Japan, (¥350,000 – ¥400,000/ month), most expat properties will come with appliances such as a fridge, washer, dryer, dishwasher, phones, phone lines, and air conditioners.
The filters of some of these appliances should be regularly cleaned as follows:
Range-hoods, Air Conditioners, Washing Machines – every 2 weeks to once a month
Dryers – filters should be cleaned at least after every 3 times being used
A Word About Trash
As in many countries, the rules regarding what to do with trash in Japan are quite particular. Basically, all trash needs to be separated into 3 types and either placed in the appropriate building trash bins, (in the case of apartments), or put out at the curb on the proper collection day, (for more information about trash collection schedules contact your building manager or local city ward office). Trash should be separated and treated as follows:
Burnable Trash – (paper, biodegradables, organic materials and things that are easily and safely burnable).
Burnable trash should be relatively dry, put into semi-transparent garbage bags, and placed in the “burnable garbage bins” in your apartment building or at the curb in a designated area on the proper “burnable trash” collection day, (usually 2 days a week).
Non-burnable Trash – (glass, china, vinyl, plastics, and metal)
Non- burnable trash should be treated the same as burnable trash except placed in the “non-burnable garbage bins” or put out on the proper “non-burnable trash” collection day, (usually 1 day a week).
Recyclables – (cans, paper cartons, plastic bottles and containers, small bundles of newspaper or cardboard)
Recyclables need to be sorted and separated, and either placed in the designated recycle bins or put out at the on the proper “recyclables” collection day, (usually 1 day a week).
For information concerning large oversized trash such as furniture, heavy garbage, and large quantities of newspapers contact your building manager or local city ward office.
The Cost of Utilities in Tokyo
The bills to be paid in Japan consist of water, gas, and electricity. Generally, the total cost of these bills is said to be about 7-10% of the monthly rent. Utilities have a standard flat monthly starting fee so there will a small fee even if the utilities are not used in that month.
Heating and Air Conditioning
Your most expensive utility bill will be electricity, especially in the summer and winter, depending on how much you have used the air conditioning or heating. Tokyo summers are very hot and humid, (about 35°C) and the winters are dry and cold, (about 0 – 5°C). In many apartments there are individual A/C and heating units in each room allowing for much better localized climate control, which is likely to be more economical than central air-conditioning. Some larger family apartments and houses separate the electricity bills into two, one for electricity used only for air conditioning, and the other for all other electricity used that month.