About Renting an Apartment in Tokyo


Most people, whether moving to Tokyo from overseas or domestically in Japan tend to rent their home. It offers several advantages:




Many of the apartments listed on Housing Japan will include a concierge service, residential facilities, rooftop gardens and other benefits. This means staying in a rental apartment can put everything you need right on your doorstep, dramatically improving your quality of life.



Although there is a strong buyers’ market in central Tokyo, to ensure that you are able to move into a central location – one that puts you within each distance of international schools and supermarkets, downtown shopping areas or transport hubs, then choosing to rent will make sure that you have more immediate choice open to you.



Renting in Japan, like in many other countries, involves going through a process of ensuring you have a guarantor, paperwork, fees and a paid deposit. However, with the help of a good agent this process can still be completed quickly, meaning you are able to move in with the minimal amount of trouble.



If you have moved to a new area for the first time, there is always the chance, regardless of what research you did beforehand, that you will not like either the location or the property itself. Furthermore, if for work or family reasons you need to move on short-notice, then renting gives you the best choice to do so quickly.



As you are not the ultimate owner of a property, if something goes wrong then the property manager will be responsible for arranging to resolve your issue. This can include helping with a water leak, a noisy neighbor or some other inconvenience. Housing Japan agents can help you interface with a Japanese property manager, or you can lend from one of our own, directly managed properties.



Personal or Corporate Contracts

When renting an apartment in Tokyo, the type of lease can be divided into three basic categories:

  • Domestic corporate lease (signed by a company with a legally registered entity in Japan)
  • Overseas corporate lease (signed by a company registered overseas
  • Personal lease (signed by a private individual)

    Expat and luxury apartments in Tokyo are increasingly being rented directly by individuals, however, many landlords do prefer the added security of a corporate contract. As long as the local entity is deemed to be financially responsible, there are normally few barriers to a quick and easy agreement (though in some cases it may be necessary to show corporate registration documents, financial statements, a copy of the company profile, and the “registered seal certificate” as verification). Tenants are required to submit Passport or Residency Card copies.

    In order for a landlord to sign with an overseas corporate entity, they would need to have strong brand recognition as well as an obvious connection to the Japan market. There is no standard for process for this type of lease and the exact nature of the agreement will be determined on a case-by-case basis. It can be expected however that evidence of financials, corporate profile, and evidence of the role of the person who will sign the lease on behalf of the company.

    For personal applications, a visa, Residence Card, and evidence of employment will be required; demonstrating the financial wherewithal to cover any and all lease liabilities including monthly rent. A resident must also secure a guarantor to apply for a personal lease. As a guideline, your monthly income should be at least three times the monthly rent.


    Guarantor System

    This is a well-established system of using third parties to guarantee the respectability of the tenant and to protect the standing of landlords and property owners. It is common practice for everyone, both overseas residents and local Japanese alike.

    The guarantor requirement can be fulfilled by an individual, making them legally liable for any lease related expenses when the lessee is unable to pay directly. Most often personal guarantors are required to be blood relatives with Japanese nationality, so it is not a realistic option for most expats in Japan.

    Alternatively, a guarantor company may be used, in which case there will be an additional fee equivalent to half or a full month’s rent plus sales tax.



    Housing Payments

    All initial payments must be received in their entirety by the landlord prior to the lease start date in order to receive the keys and access the property. If payment has been remitted, but has not yet been deposited in the landlord’s account, the landlord is within their rights to deny access to the property, and no refunds will be offered for the days which access was denied. The basic initial fees for leases in Japan are as follows:

    1. Security deposit

    2. Key money (1—2 months’ rent, but waived for many luxury properties)

    3. Agency fee (commission of 1 month’s rent plus tax)

    4. Advance rent for the first one-to-four months of the lease

    5. Renter’s liability insurance (¥20—40,000)

    6. Guarantor company fees (if applicable)

    Additional security deposits may be required (for example if special permission to keep a pet has been granted), and it is also standard that a general cleaning fee (calculated at a rate of ¥800—1,500 per sqm of floor space) is charged. Renovation fees for any damage that is found to be outside of natural wear and tear will also be charged upon leaving the property, as are fees for removal of items left behind, replacement of lost items belonging to the property, and extra cleaning and disinfection when a pet is kept at the premises.

    Recurring rent payments are normally made on the final business day of the previous month, but sometimes earlier. Both shortfalls and overpayments are not looked upon favorably, and it is recommended that automatic bank transfer is arranged whenever possible. As is the case when initial payments are made, all bank transfer fees (sending, receiving, and intermediary) are covered by the payee.