Basic Information on how to find accommodation in Japan

Finding Accommodation in Japan

Kyoto University has five accommodation facilities for international students and researchers called the Kyoto University International Houses. However, as the number of rooms in the International Houses is limited and residents can only stay for a limited period, the majority of international students and researchers find other accommodation through a real estate agency. This page contains basic information on how to find accommodation in Japan, and the procedures for moving in and moving out.

Searching for Accommodation and Moving In

General Procedures

The most common way of searching for a private apartment in Japan is through a real estate agency. It Japan there are several initial expenses that must usually be paid when renting an apartment or house, including guarantor fees, a security deposit, and “key money” (a one-time payment to the landlord). Tenants should also enroll in damage insurance to protect against fires or water leakage.

1. Sources of Information on Available Accommodation
  • Kyoto University International Service Office
  • Real Estate Agencies
  • Friends and Acquaintances
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2. When Seeking Accommodation through a Real Estate Agency
  • Check the room facilities, size, layouts, access to the university, and the surrounding environment (e.g. the atmosphere, safety, shopping areas, and distance from hospitals).
  • Confirm the expenses required for the lease, such as rent, security deposit, key money, etc.
  • Confirm whether a guarantor and damage insurance is required.
  • Some real estate agencies will provide you with pictures or video of the accommodation via the internet or email, but if possible, you should visit the property before signing the lease.
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3. Signing the Lease and Moving In
  • Confirm the details of the lease agreement (e.g. how should the rent be paid, what is the period of the rental, how much notice is required for termination of the lease, and other important points).
  • Conclude a contract with a guarantor, and enroll in fire and damage insurance.
  • Once you have received the key, check the condition of the accommodation before moving in. If there are any problems with the accommodation (e.g. if anything is damaged or dirty), you should contact the real estate agency immediately).
  • Apply for electricity, gas, and water supplies.

Real Estate Terms You Should Know

GuarantorThe guarantor is responsible for paying any outstanding rent or other costs after if a tenant vacates rental accommodation and is unable to pay the required expenses themselves. The tenant must repay the expenses back to the guarantor at a later date.
Security DepositThe security deposit is kept by the landlord as a safeguard against non-payment of rent or repairs required when the rental accommodation is vacated. When the rental accommodation is vacated, any portion of the security deposit that remains after all expenses have been settled is returned to the tenant.
Key MoneyA one-time payment that is made to the landlord when the rental agreement is signed. The key money is not returned.
Common Service Fee (Management Fee)This covers the costs required (electricity, cleaning fees, etc.) to maintain the shared spaces of the property, such as stairways and hallways.
Agency FeeThis is paid to the real estate agent when the rental agreement is signed.
Explanation of Important PointsBefore a rental agreement is signed, real estate agents explain the important points of the agreement to the tenant. The important points usually include matters such as the condition of fixtures and furniture, the terms for lease termination, the terms for the security deposit, etc.
Restoration to Original ConditionIf a rental property has been damaged or soiled willfully, or through negligence or carelessness, the tenants are responsible for paying the expenses required to restore it to its original condition. In this case, the expenses are subtracted from the security deposit when the accommodation is vacated.
Damage InsuranceProvides insurance coverage against:
  • Accidental fires or water leakage which occurs through the negligence of the tenant (if the tenant is required to pay for the damages by the landlord).
  • Damage to the tenant’s property in the accommodation due to wind, flooding, fire, lightning, etc.
  • Damage caused to the property of people living on a lower level due to water leakage.

When Renting Accommodation, Please Comply with the Following:

  1. Only contracted tenants can stay in the accommodation. Do not allow other to stay in your room.
  2. Be careful not to be noisy, and do not disturb others with loud voices or sounds.
  3. Be sure to pay the rent by the specified day.(In general the rent for a given month must be paid by the end of the previous month.)
  4. Be sure to put out the garbage appropriately and on the appointed day and time.
  5. To prevent water leakage to lower levels, be sure to keep bathroom and kitchen drains clean and clear.
  6. Inserting nails or pins, or otherwise making holes in the walls of a property is generally prohibited. Do not remodel any part of the property without the permission of the landlord.
  7. Be sure to pay electricity, gas, and water fees by their respective deadlines. If the payments are not made on time, the supplies could be cut off.
  8. If you leave the accommodation temporarily (e.g. when going on a trip), be sure to notify the landlord or real estate agency in advance, and be careful that your rent payment is not delayed during your absence.

For Reference : Guidebook for Apartment Searching (English) issued by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

Apartment Lease Guarantor Service for Foreign Nationals

When applying to rent the housing in Japan, an apartment lease guarantor is generally required. If unable to find an apartment lease guarantor, there is a private lease guarantor service for Kyoto University International Researchers and Students by a special fee.

  • Global Trust Networks Co.,Ltd.(GTN)
  • Flat Agency “F-Support” Housing Guarantor System
  • Choei “Green Guarantee Company”
For more information on apartment lease guarantorsKyoto University International Students Housing Guarantor System
(abolished on January 31, 2017)

Real Estate’s Information in Japan through Web manga : Global Trust Networks Co.,Ltd.

URLhttp://www.gtn.co.jp/en/webmanga/

When Moving Out or Moving to a New Addres

General Procedures

1. Notify your landlord or real estate agency
  • Be sure to notify the landlord or real estate agent that you are moving out within the period specified in the rental agreement (usually one or two months in advance)
    You may be charged for an extra month’s rent if you give the landlord/real estate agency shorter notice than is specified in the agreement.
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2. Preparation for moving out
  • Have the electricity, gas, and water supplies disconnected and settle the outstanding the fees.
  • Notify the city/ward office that you are moving out or changing address.
  • Clean the room well and remove your belongings.
  • Inform the academic affairs office of your department of affiliation that you have changed address.
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3. Moving out
  • Return the property keys to your real estate agency or landlord.
  • • Security deposit settlement: if you are behind with your rent, or if there are expenses required to restore the property to its original condition, etc., such expenses will be deducted from the security deposit.

For Reference : Guidebook for Apartment Searching (English) issued by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism