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Finding the difference between Service apartments, Furnished rental properties, and General rental properties

Service apartment
Category : Service apartment

Rental properties available in Japan are divided into three types; General rental properties, Furnished rental properties, and Serviced apartments. If you look for a rental property, the first step and the point should be selecting one of these types with the purpose and the length of your stay in mind.

What’s the main difference? – The moving-in and moving-out process

When selecting the type of rental properties, people tend to focus on room facilities and services included. However, what to be considered for the most is the things required when moving in and out. The moving-out process is particularly different from each other, and the information here will help you to find it.

General rental properties (通常の賃貸物件 Tsujo-no Chintai Bukken)

Rental properties available in Japan are generally non-furnished apartments/housing. The words “General rental properties” can be understood as “non-furnished rental properties” here in Japan. If you rent a general rental apartment/housing, you are supposed to prepare furniture/home electronics by yourself and carry them in rooms when moving in. The advantage of renting the general type of property is that it allows tenants to install necessary items as they like, with their lifestyle in mind. Remember that some of the general properties are semi-equipped with items, such as light fixtures, refrigerator, air-conditioner, and WiFi/Internet connection, which you should check while selecting.

Tenancy contract for general rental properties

The contract period is usually 2 years, and the rent is paid monthly.
In most cases, a deposit (敷金 Shiki-kin) and thanks-money or key-money (礼金 Rei-kin) are required when signing up the contract. A renewal fee (更新料 Koushin-ryo) will be necessary when the tenant intends to renew the contract.
The reference rate of these fees are;
Deposit: equivalent to from 1 to 6 months’ rent
Thanks-money: equivalent to from 1 to 2 months’ rent
Renewal fee: equivalent to 1-month’s rent

Although the tenant is allowed to move out for some reason before the end of the contract period, prior notification to the landlord is required at least 1 or 2 months beforehand.

Things to do when moving in a general rental apartment/housing

The tenant needs to prepare all necessary items; furniture and home electronics. The tenant also needs to set up utilities; water, gas, electricity, and the Internet connection, which make it the tenant to take a little while before starting daily living. Renting a general (unfurnished) apartment/housing may not be suitable for people who stay in Japan only for a few months. If you stay in Japan for a short term and still prefer to rent a general property, you may use a furniture rental service to save your time and money for moving in.

Things to do when moving out a general rental apartment/housing

Under a tenancy contract, restoration or Genjo-kaifuku 原状回復 is always required, and the tenant needs to get rooms back to the original state when moving out, means the tenant is not allowed to leave any items in the rooms. Also, the tenant needs to know that a cleaning fee and restoration fee are supposed to be charged.

Cleaning fees

The cleaning fee to be charged varies depending on the landlord/ management agency. The rate will be from 50000 JPY for a 50 square meters or lesser sized studio apartment. For apartments larger than 50 square meters, extra fee is added that will be between 1000 and 1800 JPY (Plus tax) per square meter. One thing you should know about cleaning is that the cleaning fee may be charged even if you arrange a service company by yourself. That is because the cleaning services differ from companies to companies, and the tenant has agreed to the fee under the tenancy contract (to follow Ordinance for the Prevention of Residential Rental Disputes in Tokyo/Japan).

In addition, the cleaning fee will be charged even if you clean up rooms by yourself as the landlord is supposed to hire a specialist for proper cleaning. If the tenant has a pet, a disinfection fee and extra fee for air-conditioner cleaning will also be charged. In some cases, a part/entire of the deposit will be used to pay the cleaning fee, and the amount may be worth of one-month rent.

The restoration fees

The restoration fee to be charged varies depending on the degree of damage and the recovery. In some cases, the deposit may be used to pay the restoration fee. To find detailed information refer to this page “Things required for restoration

Furnished rental properties (家具付き物件 Kagutsuki Bukken)

A furnished rental property is a general apartment/housing equipped with furniture and home electronics. The availability of furnished properties is gradually increasing these days. The furnished property usually comes with a couch, table, washing machine, refrigerator, TV, and those large home items. In some properties, small items such as; curtains, an electric wave, a vacuum cleaner, and WiFi/Internet connection, are provided. You may check these items when you search for a property.

Renting a furnished apartment/housing allows the tenant not only to save initial cost but also save time for having to prepare necessary furniture and home electronics when moving in. The rent may be higher than it of general rental property, but it can be a choice for an economical way of short staying, though the availability is not much in Japan yet.

Tenancy contract for furnished rental properties

The term and the conditions will basically be the same as those for general rental properties.

Moving in a furnished general rental apartment/housing

Things to do on the day of moving-in are not much involved as the property is already furnished. However, you will need to sign up for utilities; water, electricity, (and gas). Once you set up these services and prepare some household goods, you can quickly start daily living.

Moving out a furnished general rental apartment/housing

Moving out of a furnished property can easily be done as the tenant naturally does not have to remove any of the property’s equipment. However, remember that the restoration is required as the same as it for general rental properties. The tenant is required to recover the original state of rooms before moving in, for which a restoration fee and cleaning fee will be charged. The cleaning fee is supposed to be charged even the tenant clean rooms by oneself or hiring someone. The restoration fee to pay varies depending on the degree of damage and the recovery. To find detailed information refer to this page “Things required for restoration

Serviced Apartments

The serviced apartment is a furnished, hotel-like rental property, provides maintenance services that include house-keeping and a concierge service. Serviced apartments are suitable for people staying for a short term on business, vacation, and temporally living before having a home in Japan.

As the concierge service is available in English at most of the serviced apartments, it allows non-Japanese speakers to have comfortable staying without a language problem. For that reason, the property can be suitable even for foreign residents intending to live in Japan for a long period.

Serviced apartments usually have equipment from beds, sofa, washing machine, microwave oven, refrigerator, to kitchenware and cutlery. TV and the WiFi/Internet connection are ready to use, and signing up for utilities is not necessary.

Tenancy contract for serviced apartments

The rental period for a serviced apartment can usually be on a monthly basis. The monthly rent includes utilities (with limitation in use) and house-keeping fees.

Deposit and thanks-money are not required for renting a serviced apartment. Note that the application process goes the same as it for general rental properties, and screening is conducted before having a contract.

Moving in and out of a serviced apartment

Being like checking in/out at a hotel, you will be able to start daily living right on the day you move in. Cleaning fees may not be charged when moving out, and restoration fee will not be charged either as long as no significant damage is found.


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