April 2019

Our monthly online newsletter,"L'ESPACE".
L'ESPACE is a diverse French word that means place,area,cosmos,and gap.

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Renting an Apartment

Your first time looking for housing in Japan. I'm sure there's a lot you don't understand. This is an overview of the process.

Looking for Housing

Go to a real estate agency.

A real estate agency is a company that connects people looking for housing with landlords(yanushi/oya: people who want to rent housing to others).
First, visit a real estate agency in the area where you want to live, and tell them you're looking for housing. If you don't speak Japanese well, either search online for a real estate agency with staff who speak foreign languages or bring someone who speaks Japanese with you when you go.

Looking for Housing

Explain the kind of apartment you want.

Real estate agencies have information about a variety of different apartments.

  • Apartment size
  • Rent (the cost for living in the apartment)
  • Time it takes to walk to the apartment from the train station

Consider factors like these when explaining what you want, and the real estate agency will introduce some options that meet your needs.

A guarantor is often required when renting an apartment.
If you can no longer pay your rent, your guarantor pays the rent in your place. If you don't have a guarantor, ask the real estate agency if you can use a guarantor company instead.

Guarantor companies for foreigners.
Global Trust Networks Inc.

View the apartment.

  • View the apartment: shitami: Before deciding which apartment you want to rent, you can visit some and view them in person.

If you find an apartment you like, visit it for a viewing. The real estate agency will take you there. Getting information and viewing apartments is free of charge.

Apply to move in.

  • Move in: nyuukyo: Moving into a new apartment and starting to live.

If you find an apartment you want to live in, apply to move in.
After investigating what kind of company you and your guarantor work at and how much money you make, the landlord will decide if you can rent the apartment.


Prepare the contract documents.

The landlord, the person who owns the apartment, and the tenant, the person renting it, sign a contract. Ask the real estate agency what documents you need and prepare them.

Receive an explanation of "important disclosure items."

The real estate agency will explain "important disclosure items (important points of the contract: juuyo setsumei jiko)" to you. If you don't understand Japanese well, you should bring a Japanese person with you.


Exchange contract documents.

After confirming the contract terms, sign and stamp the documents.

Pay the fees.

Pay the fees required by your contract.

You will pay the rent for the month you move in and the following month at this time.
Security deposit
This is a deposit required by the landlord when you rent an apartment. This money is used to pay for repairs if you damage the apartment. Typically it's about two months of rent. When you move out, any leftover money will be returned to you.
Key money
This is a payment made to the landlord as thanks for accepting your application. It's normally 1 - 2 months of rent. This money will not be returned.
Brokerage fee
This is a payment made to the real estate agency who helped you find your apartment.
Property insurance premium
Enter an insurance plan for fire and water damage.

Ask the real estate agency if any additional funds are required and prepare the necessary amount.

Move in.

Get the key.

After the contract is completed, you will get the key to the apartment.
If there are scratches or stains on the walls or floor of the apartment, take a dated photo before moving your belongings in and confirm the situation with the real estate agency and landlord.

Get the key.

Apply for electricity, gas, and water.

For electricity service, contact the electric company and complete the process.

For gas service, contact the gas company and complete the process.
You need to be in the apartment when the gas company opens the gas line.

For water service, contact the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Waterworks and complete the process.

Submit an address notification.

Within 14 days after moving in, go to the government office for your area and submit an address notification. Also have the staff write your new address on the back of your residence card.

Tokyo International Communication Committee

Ono Bldg. 3F, 17-15 Kandamatsunagacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0023
TEL:03-5294-6542 FAX:03-5294-6540