housing in Tokyo can be a nightmare
for foreigners as most landlords
are reluctant to rent out their
houses to them. In order to find
a place to live, one has to understand
the housing system in Tokyo.
in Tokyo is expensive because of
the concentration of population
and the intense industrial and commercial
activities in the city. The closer
the house is located to the city
center, the more expensive it gets.
There are mainly two patterns of
houses in Tokyo – the single detached
house, and the multiple unit building.
The former is mainly found in the
outskirts of the city, while the
latter is predominant in the city.
cost of housing is high in Tokyo,
most people rent houses rather than
buy them. Ownership rate is much
lower in the city than it is outside.
Rentals are usually through real
estate agents and not landlords.
Most real estate companies are not
very foreigner-friendly, and generally
refuse to rent apartments to foreigners.
In case they do agree, foreigners
are required to have a Japanese
national with a sound financial
background to act as a guarantor
and a co-signer of the contract.
several real estate companies that
specifically target foreigners have
been established in Tokyo. They
have staff that have specially been
trained in foreign languages and
cultures and thus understand their
needs more. These companies offer
all kinds of apartments for even
short periods of time (the usual
rent period in Tokyo is 2 years)
and for lower initial fees. Furnished
apartments with utilities included
in the rent are also available.
rent and fee system is a little
different in Japan. On applying
for an apartment, you first have
to pay a reservation fee (called
tetsukekin ) which will
“reserve” the apartment for you.
Then a security deposit (called
shiki-kin ), usually worth
two months rent, is paid in advance,
along with the “key money” (called
rei-kin ), which is a “gift”
to the landlord. The rent ( yachin
) is paid monthly at the start
of the month along with the cost
for utilities (gas, electricity,
water, etc). Some apartments also
have a monthly maintenance fee (called
kanrihi ) that goes towards
the maintenance of the building.
Sometimes you are also required
to insure the apartment that you
have rented. The cost of the rent
itself depends on the location and
age of the building, and the size
and the position of the apartment.
The agent is also paid his service
fee (called chukai tesuryo )
which usually equals a month's rent.
All these refundable and non-refundable
fees together usually total five
to ten months' rent, so if you are
renting an apartment, your first
payment is almost always very big.
in Tokyo are usually defined in
terms of abbreviations – with ‘L'
standing for ‘living', ‘D' for ‘dining',
and ‘K' for ‘kitchen'. Hence, if
you see an ad for a ‘2LDK', it means
there are 2 rooms plus a living
room, a dining room, and a kitchen;
1DK means there is just one room
besides a dining room and a kitchen,
and so on. In addition, all apartments
come with a bathroom, a toilet,
and an entrance area ( genkan
foreigners unable to find a Japanese
guarantor, or unable to pay the large
first rental payment, there are the
Houses" (meaning foreigners'
houses). These are Guest Houses of
designed to provide short-term accommodation
at reasonable prices. Boarding
houses are also available and are
popular among singles and students.