2.Searching for a room
1. Gathering Information

In Japan, the most common way to gather information about housing is simply by consulting a real estate agent, or flipping through a real estate magazine. However, recently it is also popular to search through the internet.


2.Finding a guarantor

When renting an apartment in Japan, you will need a Japanese guarantor.
Please read the passage below, which explains what a guarantor is and how the guarantor system works in Japan.

(1) Conditions for being a guarantor

The guarantor must be self-supported. If they do not have enough income to make a living, they will not be able to be a guarantor.
The guarantor must be willing to be held responsible for the tenant's actions.
If the tenant for any reason fails to pay the landlord, or damages the apartment or it's contents, the landlord has the right to ask the guarantor for compensation. Legally, the guarantor WILL be responsible for the tenant's actions.

Since the guarantor must agree to be held responsible for all of your actions, it will obviously need to be someone who knows you very well. Usually, Japanese people ask their parents or relatives to be their guarantor. However, we recommend that you (as a foreigner) ask a Japanese teacher, coworker, boss, or friend to be your guarantor.

(2) Registering your guarantor

The prospective guarantor must submit to the landlord a 'guarantor certificate', signed with their seal stamp. They must also submit proof of their seal. It is with this document that a guarantor agrees to take responsibility for the the tenant's actions.

If such a document is not available, the guarantor may instead be asked to stamp their seal somewhere on the lease contract, and also to submit the proof of their seal.

(3) If you cannot find a guarantor

If for any reason you are unable to find a guarantor, we recommend that you consult with a company such as Nihon Chintai Hosho, which provides guarantor services for a fee.
  ※Nihon Chintai Hosho(http://www.jid-trio.co.jp)

There is a housing indemnity system for international students, which compensates not only for damage from fire, and will also compensate for a guarantor. This system is for university students who are members of Naigai Gakusei Center. For information about this system, please contact the representative for international students at your university.
Naigai Gakusei Center http://http://www.naigai.or.jp/

3.Finding the room you want, using the 'Check Sheet'

Things to remember when looking for your room:

When a Japanese customer first consults with a real estate agent, they will tell the agent what they are looking for with regard to rent, type of housing, layout, facilities, directional orientation, and transportation access. The agent will then check to see if they have anything matching these criteria.

  If you need a guide to what sort of preferences you should specify to your real estate agent, please use the Check Sheet below.

If you specify a a large apartment, a building close to a train station, etc, the rent will most likely be expensive. So please indicate below only what is absolutely necessary. Please rank the importance of your requests, by numbering them from 1 to 7, in the apropriate boxes..

If you are not currently living in Japan

You may ask the real estate agent to fax floor plans to you if there are rooms which meet your conditions. You can, of course, also ask for them by mail, but fax is faster and more convenient.

If you are interested in any of the rooms your agent suggests, it would be a good idea to ask a friend in Japan to inspect the apartment on your behalf. It is also possible, if you are working with a Japanese company, to ask them to investigate for you.

If possible, have your friend/company send you some photos of the apartment by email.


4.Going to inspect the room

Before you sign a contract, be sure to go and see the apartment of your choice in person. There is no charge to visit an apartment just to have a look.


 While there, be sure to ask the agent for a full explanation of the facilities, and of course check for damage. You should take into consideration the area near the building, looking at the location and quality of nearby shops, parks, train/bus stations, etc.


If your company takes care of your housing, tell the staff of your company about the room you have chosen, and have them arrange things for you.


5.Check sheet


(1) Checking the Room
1 Size of the room, height from floor to ceiling
2 Whether there are any differences from the floor plan
3 Whether there is space for a fridge, washing machine, etc
4 Number of outlets for TVs, phones, and other electrical appliances
5 Sunlight, is the room too bright or too dark?
6 Noise and smell
7 Whether there is an air conditioner
8 Size of the kitchen, whether the stove is gas or electric
9 Any damages
(2) Checking the Neighborhood
1 Distance from the nearest station, and whether the express stops there or not
2 Stores (including convenience stores)
3 Parks, post offices, hospitals, and coin laundries
4 Parking lot for cars and/or bicycles
5 How often the train comes, and the time of the last train
6 Garbage dumps, etc, in the area

We suggest that you bring a tape measure with you, and make sure that all your furniture will fit properly in the apartment. Measure your furniture in advance, write down the measurements, and have them with you when you go to see the room..

If you are a female, consider your safety when looking for an apartment. Generally, an apartment which is near the station, is above the 2nd floor, and has an automatic lock is considered safe in Japan. It is also safer to choose an apartment that can be reached by way of a well lit street, or a shopping road (this also has the added benifit of being conveniently located in a shopping district). Take care in finding a place that you can feel safe in

6.Applying for your apartment

Once you have found a room that suits you, you will need to apply for it. This involves submitting an application form with your name, current address, address of your work place, your guarantor's name, etc.

If you are unclear about anything, don't be afraid to ask your agent. Once you are satisfied with the conditions of the contract and have arranged a rent price you are happy with, give the application to your agent.

7.Tenant check

Once your real estate agent has recieved your application, they will give it to the landlord of the apartment you have chosen, and a tenant check will be done. From the information on the application, the landlord will decide if you would be a suitable tenant. They will consider, for example, your workplace, income, credit history, etc. After you pass this check, the last step is to sign the contract.


Just applying for the room is not the same is reserving it... the landlord has the right to turn you down if they aren't satisfied with your application for any reason .
You should hear the results of the tenant check within two or three days after handing in your application.

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