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The language barrier you may encounter when finding a rental house/apartment in Japan

Things to know about property viewing
Category : Things to know about property viewingStudy for renting property

Once you start searching for rental rooms online, you will soon notice that English information is much less than it is in Japanese. One reason for this less availability is that quite a few rental property owners request candidates to speak Japanese. These owners intend to fulfill accountability so that the candidate sign up a lease agreement with peace of mind by understanding and accepting the rental conditions.

Some owners care about Japanese speaking skills. Why?

The reason why some owners request tenants to speak Japanese often comes from the problems that happened with non-Japanese speaking renters, which they have experienced in the past, unfortunately. Though the same problems arise even with Japanese tenants, what the owners are most concerned about is the language barrier hindering them from solving problems through dialogue.

Owners are also anxious about support for non-Japanese speaking tenants by conversation. Japanese housing facilities/environments are usually provided according to the Japanese lifestyle, which the landlord needs to explain to foreign tenants. Suppose the tenant does not understand the explanation. In that case, the chances are that the tenant gets into trouble with neighbors – Garbage disposals, noise disturbance, are the problems likely to happen.

How to find rental properties for foreign residents

One of the easiest ways to find a room without understanding Japanese is to request an agency a rental house/apartment provided for foreign residents. These specialized housings are mostly equipped with Western-style facilities, allowing you to live comfortably without getting used to the Japanese style. When it comes to the lease agreement, you can expect language help in English and the documents provided in English. One thing you need to know is that the rental properties for foreign residents are not many available. Therefore, it is advisable that you apply as soon as you find a favorable one. Remember, no fee is charged for canceling applications.

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Finding general rental house/apartments

Even if you don’t speak Japanese, it is naturally possible to find general properties through real estate agencies. The point is, you assure the agent/owner of your awareness for troubles that foreign tenants tend to make, and you will not cause such problems. If the owner recognizes you as trustworthy and can follow the rules, the agent will be able to help you.

Here you find some examples of what troubles foreign tenants tend to make. In the course of signing up a lease agreement, most of them will be mentioned as prohibited acts or cautions, and penalties will be given for the violation.

Troubles foreign tenants tend to make

-Improper use of equipment
Some electoral devices equipped in rooms, such as a bathroom, often come with unfamiliar functions for foreign people. If you don’t know how to use them properly, ask the landlord for help and make sure of the usage before trying to use it with a wild guess, which may end up in breakage.

-Garbage disposal
Garbage collection days and places are designated by districts that you need to know when moving in. Also, you need to know about garbage sorting according to the municipality’s rules.

-Noise Nuisance
Having a get-together and making loud noise until midnight at a rental house/apartment causes a big problem, and it has been increasing these days. To avoid disturbing neighbors and their complaints, it is essential to ask your next doors for permission before gathering at home. In any case, it is not allowed to have a get-together till late evening.

-Room renovation without asking
The owner’s permission for a room renovation is always required. Tenants are not allowed to remodel rooms, such as a Japanese-style bathroom, which may be unfamiliar for non-Japanese people. Remodeling without asking can be a breach of contract, will involve a penalty. Also, keep in mind that the restoration is required when moving out as the requirement must be written in the lease agreement.

-Room cleaning
Many Japanese people use anything with care and like to keep rooms neat and tidy even for those of rental houses/apartments. Japanese tenants commonly clean up rooms when moving out. In fact, moving out with rooms left dirty or damaged is taken as non-fulfillment of restoration, for which a penalty fee will be charged.

-Subletting or housing someone other than the contractor
You are not allowed to accommodate someone – your friends, co-workers, without the owner’s permission. Subletting without permission will be a contract violation.

-Moving out without prior notice
There are cases that foreign tenants leave and return to their country without notification. The tenant is required to give the owner prior notice before moving out, as written in the lease agreement. If you move out without notice, with left personal belongings there or without restoring rooms, your deposit will not be refundable. In this case, it can be a heavy burden for the owner as it is not allowed by law to discard tenants’ personal belongings without permission.

Owners who have experienced this kind of trouble several times tend to have a negative impression about foreign tenants, feel reluctant to lend rooms to foreign people. Conversely, foreign people can give a positive impression if recognized as good- mannered tenants rather than those of Japanese, and that will help increase more availability of rental properties for foreign residents.


Sales & Rental Properties