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Rental Fee Lawsuit in Japan

Some not so good news for renters in Japan:

The Supreme Court ruled Friday it is reasonable for landlords to seek renewal fees in renewing housing rental agreements with their tenants.

In the ruling on three lawsuits, in which it was claimed the fees run counter to the consumer contracts law to protect consumers’ benefits, Yuki Furuta, presiding justice of the top court’s second petty bench said, “The charges do not run counter to the law unless they are too high in comparison with rent or rental agreement periods.”

Many apartments or houses mainly in the Tokyo and Osaka areas are rented to tenants under a contract which typically requires a fee equal to two-months’ rent in renewing a two-year agreement. You can read the rest of the story here.

In case you are not familiar with renting an apartment in Japan, the process entering a rental contract with a conventional real estate company is very expensive. A number of refundable and non refundable fees have to be paid, often totaling three to ten months’ rent, depending on the company and apartment:

  • Reservation fee (tetsukekin)
    The tetsukekin is paid when you apply for an apartment, and before the actual rental contract is signed. It serves as a guarantee for you that the apartment is not given to somebody else, and for the agent that you do not change your mind. It is refunded after the actual contract is signed and is usually equivalent to about one month’s rent.
  • Deposit (shikikin)
    The deposit is used to cover eventual future damage to the apartment. The deposit minus the cost for repairs is refunded when you move out. The deposit is usually equivalent to several months’ rent.
  • Key money (reikin)
    This is a non refundable payment to the landlord in the amount of up to several months’ rent.
  • Service fee (chukai tesuryo)
    This is a non refundable payment to the real estate agent in the amount of at most one month’s rent.

In most cases, apartments come unfurnished, utilities are not included in the rent, and pets are not allowed. Read more about renting Japanese apartments here. For bilingual terms used for renting in Japan, click here.

BTW, be sure to check out a previous post “On the Joys of Renting in Tokyo” written by the Green-Eyed Geisha.

For additional information on renting in Japan, check out How to Rent Apartments in Japan

Ep 1. The Basics 日本での賃貸の基本:

Ep 2. Gaijin Troubles 日本での賃貸のマナー:

I will post my experiences on renting in Japan (with an afro perspective) via YouTube

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