The process of renting an apartment in Japan

The process of renting an apartment in Japan


This article describes the process of finding an apartment to contracting in Japan.

5 steps of rental contract

We have divided the rental contract process into five parts.

  1. Find a room
  2. Room tour
  3. Negotiation of rental contract costs
  4. Temporary application
  5. Formal procedure

1. Find a room

There are two ways to find a room.
Consult with a real estate agent or search in the internet

Consult with a real estate agent

real state company

The staff will propose a property that is close to your desired conditions.
At first glance, it may seem easy, but we do not recommend this method.

With real estate companies, you will have to check the files of properties that meet your desired conditions one by one with the staff, so it will take time and exhausting. Real estate companies does not always introduce the best property for you, they do business, so they likely introduce properties that give them the highest commission.

What to do at the real estate office:

  • Listen to detailed information about the property
  • Ask if there are any new properties that are not yet listed on the Internet

Finding an apartment in the internet


I recommend this method.
You can search 24 hours a day, and since you search by yourself, you have time to slowly check and consider detailed information.

Also, unlike real estate, there are no staff, so you can change the conditions for searching for properties as many times as you like.
High rent, room size, distance from work, use of transportation
You can investigate these in various patterns.

The number of properties listed varies depending on the internet site.
The site most used by Japanese people is SUUMO.
The app is only available in Japanese language, but it is not that complicated, so we highly recommend that you give it a try.


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2. Room tour

real state company room tour

If you find a room you are interested in, you need to actually go and see it.
The situation around the building and the atmosphere in the room cannot be understood without actually going.

You need a real estate agency to tour the room.
Without real estate agent, you wouldn’t be able to get the landlord’s contact information and you wouldn’t be able to enter the room.

It doesn’t matter which real estate company you choose to visit.
The quality of guidance, such as neighborhood information and detailed room information, varies depending on the person who guides you.
However, it is a luck factor because it differs from person to person rather than from real estate.

Before requesting a tour at a real estate company, be sure to get a paper quote for the initial cost.
The reason is that it is better to decide the quality of the property by considering the amount of the initial cost.

“I found a good room with a cheap rent”
If you think so and the initial cost is high, the cost may be high overall.

If you get a paper quote, you can use it for future price negotiations.

3. Negotiation of rental contract costs


I recommend that you negotiate upfront cost in the rental agreement.
If you do not negotiate, you may lose more than 100,000 yen.

Here are some ways you can go about negotiating your rent

Costs related to rental contracts

There are three main costs related to rental contracts.

  • Initial cost
  • Special agreement
  • Rent
Upfront cost

This is the money you pay when you sign the contract.

There are prepayment for the first month of rent, key exchange fee, security deposit, gratitude money and so on.
In most cases, options you don’t need are added to the cost.
Decline all options you don’t need.


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Special agreement

Here are some examples of “special agreement”

  • “The contractor must bear the cleaning fee when moving out”
  • “If you move out within one year, you must pay the rent for two months as a penalty”.

Special agreement negotiations are basically not possible.
Be sure to check before making a contract.
If you do not confirm it yourself, you will know the contents of the contract in the explanation after the contract.

Check for special agreements when you get a quote for upfront cost.
The best way to check is by email. It is safe to leave evidence so that you will not have any trouble when you move out.


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You should check the special agreement regarding moving out before contracting a room.
House rent

House rents for most properties are negotiable.
The landlord wants someone to move in as soon as possible because leaving the property vacant will result in a large loss.

Therefore, the landlord wants a resident even if the rent is reduced a little.
Let’s negotiate by saying, “If you reduce the rent by 3,000 yen, I will make a contract.”


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4.Temporary application


If you negotiate and you are satisfied with the amount, make a temporary application.

What is temporary application

The Temporary application is used to have tenant screening.
Also, if you apply for Temporary application, the recruitment of tenants will be stopped for the property you are applying for, so you will not have to worry about the property being taken by another person.

What is checked in tenant screening?

Since the landlord rents a room for business, they want to know whether the applicant can pay the rent properly, how the applicant’s attitude to the real estate agency, and whether the applicant has any unpaid credit card bill in the past.

Is tenant screening strict for foreigners?

The screening test may be strict for foreigners.
Depending on the property, foreigners may not be able to make a temporary application.

There are several reasons.

  • Renting a room to a foreigner staying in Japan for a limited time poses a high business risk.
  • Cultural differences can cause problems with other residents.
  • There is a possibility that you will not be able to communicate sufficiently when trouble occurs due to language problems.

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Tenant screening for foreigners in rental contract.

5. Formal procedure

If you pass the tenant screening, you can complete the formal procedure.

Formal procedure in real estate


You will sign after receiving details about the contract. It includes:

  • Flow until receiving the key
  • Fire insurance procedure
  • Special agreement
  • Detailed description of the property, etc.

Transfer money

You will be asked to transfer the upfront cost to your real estate bank account once the contract process is complete. Depending on the property, you can pay by credit card.

Receive the key

After transferring the money, go to the real estate on the day specified by the real estate and receive the key to complete the process.


Did you understand the rental contract process?
If you want to know more details, please read each related article.
Let’s reduce the wasteful cost of the rental contract, as much as possible.

The process of renting an apartment in Japan
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