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After Coming to Japan

FINDING LODGING


ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE AND POINTS TO BE REMEMBERED WHEN YOU SIGN A CONTRACT


  1. All the Important and Related Matters are Included in the Contract
     When renting an apartment, the tenant and landlord must sign a housing contract. Generally, there are about 2-3 copies of the same contract including names, addresses, contract's seals of the tenant, the landlord, and the guarantor. Each of them will have one copy of the contract. Generally, the landlord has this contract form, in some cases real estate agency will do it on behalf of the landlord.
     The contract includes the contract period, the deposit paying, and so on. So, it must be carefully safeguarded.

  2. General Terminology and Knowledge of the Housing Contract

    An advance or guarantee : Tetsukekin
     April is the season of job relocation and/or school admission here in Japan, and therefore a lot of Japanese people change their addresses in April. This means that if you find a nice room but do not immediately rent it, some other person could enter into a rental contract for your desired room. To avoid such a situation, you can pay a certain amount of money for a provisional rental contract. This money is called tetsukekin. If you make a formal rental contract, tetsukekin will then be calculated as a part of the expenses you are supposed to pay.
     If you cancel a rental contract, you might not get reimbursed for tetsukekin. So, you should definitely ask your real estate agent whether you will get reimbursed or not. If you do not get reimbursed, you should ask yourself whether you really want to live in that particular room.
     In some cases, you can enter into a provisional rental agreement without paying tetsukekin.

    Rent / Advance Rent : Yachin / Chinryo
     The rent is monthly. Generally, the pay is by the end of that month. The next payment must be made at the end of the previous month. If the housing is under a real estate agent's management, 10% charge will be collected for the late payment over two week.
     You are obligated to pay your rent every month before the deadline via bank transfer or by direct payment to your apartment owner. If you fail to meet the deadline, you may have to pay some penalties. Even if you temporarily leave Japan to return home during vacation, you must still pay the rent each month.
     As you might have to pay kyoekihi (in order to cover the electricity bill for staircases or corridors, for example), you should ask the agent how much your total rent and kyoekihi will be each month. If your rent is ¥50,000, and kyoekihi is ¥3,000 then you will have to pay ¥53,000 in total.

    Security Deposit Money : Shikikin
     To cover nonpayment and damage to the apartment, deposit money is required. Generally, it is equivalent to 0 to 3 months of a regular rent payment. When you are moving out, the deposit will be refunded after the cleaning and repairing charge is subtracted.
     Suppose that you leave your apartment because you return to your home nation or move into a different apartment.
     You might have caused damage to the wall or the floor in your old apartment. In other cases, you might have left a large amount of greasy dirt on your kitchen wall. In order to cover these sorts of repairs and cleaning costs, your apartment owner will require you to deposit an amount of money equivalent to one to two monthʼs rent.
     This is called shikikin or security deposit. If it is necessary to fix your room, the owner will spend the necessary portion of your shikikin and refund the remainder to you.
     However, if your deposit is insufficient to cover the repair costs, you will not get reimbursed at all.
     You should accordingly exercise care in your room and avoid putting tape on the wall or floor. Clean up your room every day. When you move out of your room, clean the walls or floor to get as much of your Shikikin back as possible.
     Although you may have maintained your room well, sometimes you might be asked to pay a significant amount of money for cleaning costs. In such a case, make sure to ask the real estate agent why you have to pay such an expensive charge. You can also get advice at any international students counseling desk.
     Read your rental contract carefully to make sure how much you are expected to restore the room to its original state. It is important to know what is written in your rental contract.

    Key Money / Gift payment : Reikin
     This payment is equivalent to 0 to 6 months of rent payment and it is not refundable.
     Generally speaking, you will not be reimbursed for any reikin when you move out. In some cases, however, you wonʼt have to pay this type of key money at all.
     Again, it is important to have a clear discussion with your u-reit (real estate agent) to find out whether you need to pay reikin or not.

    Common Service Fee : kyoeki-hi
     It is a monthly charge for using electricity, water, and maintenance of shared facilities like stairs, passages, and toilets.

    Real Estate Agent's Commission / brokerage fee : Chukai-tesuryo
    It is the money paid to the agency, equivalent to one month of rent payment.
    Our company U-REIT co.,ltd.
     Although a luxury apartment・・・one person price \10,500- family price \21,000-
                              ・・・you get a good bargain.

    Renewal fee : Koushinryo
    Fee paid to the owner to renew the contract.

    Security Money (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, etc) : Hoshokin
     In Kyoto and Osaka and Kobe area Security Money refers to what you pay when moving in. It is the same as the sum of Deposit Money and Key Money and is normally a high amount. When moving out, Deposit Money will not be returned. Deposit Money will be decided when you contract. For example, you pay 35 million Yen as Security Money, Then if Deposit Money is 20 million yen, 15 million yen will be returned to you. If you need cleaning and repairing, it will be deducted reduce from 15 million yen.
          
  3. Understand the Details of the Contract before Signing
     Legal terms are always difficult to understand in all countries. However, once the contract is signed, the terms and conditions stated will be effective. So, first, you must understand it well, then sign and seal it. If there is anything you do not understand, ask those who are in charge of foreign students' affairs or those who know Japanese matters well for help and advice.

  4. Validity of Contract
     The period of contract is 2 years. Extension of contract is also written in the housing contract. Please read it well.

  5. Sharing the Apartment with Friends or Relatives, or Subletting to Someone else is Prohibited
     For a Japanese private run accommodation, no other person can stay in the apartment than persons listed on the housing contract. This is one of the practices of Japanese cultures and customs which is different from some other nations. If you would like to live in an apartment with somebody else, a notice must be given in advance for consent and permission.
     When you temporarily share your apartment with your friends or relatives, you have to get permission from the landlord first. The problem between foreigners and the landlord is often sharing an apartment with persons other than those listed on the contract.

  6. Do not make any Alteration of the Room
     Without consent from landlord, you cannot make any alternation of the room. When making renovation, you must get permission from your landlord first.

  7. Requirements when you are moving out from the Apartment
     In the contract, it is clearly stated how long in advance the notification must be made when you are moving out. Generally, tenants must notify their landlord one month in advance before moving out. If the sudden notification is made, the tenant will have to pay rent for an extra month whether he/she still stays at the apartment or not.
     When you are moving out, conditions of the room must be the same as when moving in. You must get rid of unnecessary stuff from the apartment. Do not burden your landlord by leaving unnecessary things. Moreover, do not forget to settle your last payment of electricity, gas, water, and telephone bills.

WAYS OF FINDING A LODGING

  1. Through the Office of your School or University
     The office of your university, special training school, or Japanese language school give housing information to students. For details, contact your school office.

  2. Through U-REIT co.,ltd. (Real Estate Agency)

    Ask a Person who is a fluent speaker of Japanese to go with you
    (We can’t speak English・・・We can speak English a little)
     Some real estate agents provide a room for an inexpensive Deposit (shikikin) and Key Money (reikin). It is a good idea to network as early as possible through your friends of the same nationality.
     When you go to a U-REIT(real estate agent), it will be more effective to bring your Japanese friend, guarantor, or someone who can speak Japanese well.

    Procedures of finding at a U-REIT (Real Estate Agency)
     First, tell the agency your requirements of the lodging. You can have a look at the apartment if it meets your requirements.
     You will be under no obligation to take the apartment after you see it if it does not meet your requirement and decide not to take it. There is no charge for this service. If you like the apartment but need time to talk with your friend, you can tell this to the U-REIT (real estate agent).

    U-REIT explained the mechanism by drawing an illustration.

    1. State the condition of the residence you want and search various materials for the desired apartment.
    2. If you find an apartment you want, make a preliminary examination of the residence.
    3. After the preliminary examination, if you like what you see, fill in an application for rent
    4. Get explanations for important matters.
    5. Pay the money for deposit, gift-money, agent fee, fire insurance, advance rent, etc. and sign the contract.
    6. Get the keys and you are ready to move-in.    ・・・Oh good job!


  3. Supplementation

    You Must Know the Following Points to Ask a Real Estate Agent for Information

    1. Normally, a lodging for rent is unfurnished. One must be responsible for a cooking gas stove, lamps, a bed, curtains, etc.
    2. When you sign a contract, one must pay the rent, the deposit money, the key money, the real estate agent's commission, and so on. All together the total would be about 3 or 6 times of the monthly rent.
    3. When you sign the contract, the Japanese guarantor is needed. This is also the case for Japanese tenants.

    Points of Finding a Lodging Accommodation through Real Estate Agency
     Before renting an apartment, one must first consider about the public transportation facilities, whether the room is sunny or not, the distance to the nearest train station, a shopping area, and a public bath. Also confirm with the agent if using a heater is allowed in the apartment.
     To prevent a fire, some apartments do not allow a gas and kerosene stove to be used in the apartment. Check also if there is loud noise in the immediate vicinity. If possible, try to discover if the area is noisy by asking people who live nearby. These will be useful information for deciding whether you want to take the apartment or not.

    What is a Joint Surety Necessary for a Contract
     When you look for housing through real estate agencies, they would tell you that you need a guarantor for renting an apartment. The following is the explanation about the joint surety.

    1. The Condition for being a Joint Surety(Guarantor)
      The guarantor must be self-supported. That is, if one does not have income for living, he/she cannot be a guarantor.

    2. The Guarantor for Renting an Apartment must be Responsible for the Tenant's Actions
       For nonpayment, damaging the apartment and failing to pay for repairs, the landlord will have the right to ask the guarantor of the tenant for compensation. Legally, the guarantor will have to be responsible for the tenant's action.
       Most Japanese students will have their parents act as their guarantor when renting an apartment. The landlord or real estate agency will contact their parents for compensation if their children fail to make payment.

    3. Those Who You Do Not Know You Well Will Not Be Your Guarantor
       Since the guarantor must be responsible for all of your actions, it will be very difficult for him/her to be your guarantor if he/she does not know you well.

    4. Guarantor's Seal is Needed for the Process
       It is a requirement that the contract must be stamped with the guarantor's seal, and the proof of seals is sometimes necessary.
       In Japan, all Japanese will have to register for their residency in the area they live in. : “inkanshomei”
       The proof or certificate of seal can be obtained from the residency registration office. The certificate will be used as a proof that the seal used is the original one.

    5. What documents are necessary for a lease contract?

       "Basic necessary documents are as follows;



      In the case of an individual contract
      1. Copy of Foreign Registration Card (showing both sides)
      2. Copy of Passport (showing photo & visa)
      3. Certificate of Registered Matters (Word office where you live in, or those branches issue it for you)
      4. Official Income Statement (Certificate of Income and Withholding Tax, or etc.)

      In the case of a corporate contract
      1. Copy of Corporate Registration
      2. Certificate of Company's Registered Seal Impression
      3. Habitant's Copy of Foreign Registration Card, Passport, & Certificate of Employment

      For a joint guarantor
      1. Copy of Driver's License or Passport
      2. Certificate of Residence
      3. Certificate of Registered Seal Impression

       Since necessary documents required differ from owner to owner, please confirm with your agent. "

    THE ALIEN REGISTRATION CARD( Included in the housing Contract )
    According to the Alien Registration Law, all foreign residents in Japan for more
    than 90 days are required to apply for an Alien Registration Card.

    1. Fingerprinting Requirement
       According to the 14th article of Alien Registration Law, foreign residents whose age is above 16 must be fingerprinted on their original documents, a certificate and fingerprint forms when they apply for initial registration, or for a new certificate.
       Since 1993, there is no requirement of fingerprinting for permanent residents.

    2. You always have to Carry the Alien Registration Card when You Go Out.
       Foreigners are required to carry their Alien Registration Card at all times and present it when requested by a policeman or a government official.

    3. The Alien Registration Card's Number must be Recorded and Kept Properly
       Since card and certificate must be carried at all times, there is a possibility that it may be lost or stolen. Therefore, its number must be jotted down on a piece of paper or on a notebook and should be kept properly. You should do the same with your passport. It is your responsibility to safeguard the documents.

Japanese Apartment Life

  1. How to DISPOSE GARBAGE
     One may think that it don’t matter how we dispose garbage. However, in any city in Japan, all trash must be separated according to its kind, collected on a certain day, and placed at a designated spot. Otherwise, garbage collectors will not take it away. Keeping this rule is the first step to your city life.
     When you live in Kyoto, read the following instructions of how to dispose garbage. Each district has own rule, so please check this carefully at your city or ward office.

    1. Kinds of Trash (Combustible, Noncombustible, Bulky, Resource )

      1. Combustible (flammable) Trash : (kitchen garbage such as fish and vegetables, paper, clothing, sanitary items, and cigarettes, etc.)
         It must be disposed in the city government endorsed pale yellow polyethylene waste bag that contains calcium carbonate. Then tie it up to prevent a foul smell. If you put out your garbage in a plastic pail, you should retrieve the pail soon after garbage has been dumped by collectors.

      2. Noncombustible Garbage : (Nonflammable trash such as things made of plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, rubber and leather, and knives, needles, light bulbs, etc.)
         Dangerous substances must be disposed in a high level transparent bag so that the content can be easily confirmed.
         Needles must be put in a bottle or a can which is firmly capped. Light bulbs must be wrapped with paper and be labeled with "Danger".
         As for an aerosol can which is explosive, please puncture it first before dumping it.

      3. Bulky Trash : (furniture, electric appliances, bicycles, etc.)
         Bulky trash collecting is chargeable and notification must be given in advance.
         Please call a sanitary office at the city hall first. Early contact must be made for collecting bulky wastes when you have a lot of item you returning to your home country.

      4. The collection of items which can be recycled as resources :( newspapers, magazines, glass bottles, cans, etc. )
         Items such as old newspaper, magazines, empty cans, bottles, etc. which can be recycled as resources are collected separately from regular garbage in some districts.
         The kind of items which can be recycled and the methods of collection vary from district to district.
         For information on how to put out such items for collection, ask a neighbor or your city, ward, town or village office.

    2. Garbage Collecting Days are Different from One Area to Another.
       The days and the time of collecting trash is different in each district. Commonly, the collection of combustible waste is 3 times a week, and once a week for
      noncombustible waste.

  2. NOISE CAUTION
     The walls and floors of some lodgings are so thin that you can hear the noise from other rooms.
     It is quite normal to hear loud noise coming from windows. In city life, one must be patient with some unavoidable sound, but noise pollution is another story.

    1. Be Careful not to Make Noise at Night
       After 10 at night, every family should try not to make loud noise even when they open or close a door or when they go upstairs. TV sound must be turned down, and ear phones might be used for listening to music.
       Try to avoid washing clothes or doing vacuum cleaning at night.

    2. When Friends Gather
       As for foreign students, it is a healthful thing to get together with friends from the same country. However, when you talk as a group, the conversation tends to be noisy. Therefore, if you and your friends gather later than 10 p.m., do not forget that your neighbors might be already sleeping, so your voice must be kept low.

    3. If Someone Complains that You Are too Noisy
       If someone complains that you are noisy, you should earnestly accept it. If it is too demanding, you must ask your Japanese friend or teacher for advice.
       Then consider how to deal with it. Do not use your emotion to solve the problem, for it cannot be solved in this way.

  3. WHEN MOVING

    1. "Moving Notice" Should be Made at Least One Month in Advance
       Please inform your landlord about your moving at least one month before you move out. Without the "moving notice", you may have to pay one month extra rent.

    2. Notify Electricity, Gas and Water Companies to Stop Utilities
       3 days prior to moving out, you should notify electricity, gas and water companies of your moving. ( Tel. numbers are indicated on the bill receipts.)
       On the day of moving, your meters will be checked and payment then must be made for them.

    3. Transferring your Telephone
       If you have your telephone, contact the telephone company for the procedure. If you do not know the telephone company, call 116 and tell them of your new address.
       They will tell you the telephone number of the responsible office. When you are transferring your telephone, the installation will be 2,100 - 10,000 yen.

    4. When You are Moving out, do not Forget to Check the Room and Return the Keys
       It will cause a trouble if you leave waste in the room. After you move out all the personal belongings, ask your landlord or Real Estate Agency to check if there is any damage. If there is no damage, all the deposit money will be reimbursed. Do not forget to return the keys (which you received when you enter the apartment.)

    5. Submit "Changing Address Report" After Moving
       After moving, please go to the nearest post office for the address changing form. Return the filled form to the counter.
       For one year from the date of the report, all the mail sent to your old address will be forwarded to your new address.



  4. COUNSELING CENTERS WHEN YOU ARE IN TROUBLE AND WHEN YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO
    Advising through telephone and given at these centers below is free of charge

COUNSELING ORGANIZATIONS WHEN YOU ARE SICK
Kyoto International Exchange Institution
Tel: 075-752-1187
Hours: Tue-Sun, and national holidays 9:00-21:00 (Monday is holiday)
Languages: English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, German, French, Spanish

OTHER COUNSELING CENTERS
Kyoto International Exchange Center
〒606-8536
2-1 Torii-cho, Awataguchi, Sakyo-ku Kyoto, 606-8536 JAPAN.
TEL:075-752-3010 closed Every Monday
FAX:075-752-3510
E-mail:office@kcif.or.jp
Languages: Chinese, Korean, English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German.
http://www.kcif.or.jp/en/


                     Thank you