Guide

Rental guide
If you plan to rent a privately owned house or apartment, it is convenient to use the services provided by housing agents. Based on individual preferences such as rent, property size or commuting methods, the agents can list and give you the information on suitable rental properties. It generally costs over six months' rent for an initial down payment to rent a property. The cost includes the first month's rent, security deposit (shikikin), key money (reikin) and agency fee.

Deposit(Shikikin): In principle, the security deposit should be returned to you by the landlord when you move out of the property. Natural wear and tear is normally the landlord/landlady's responsibility.
Key money(Reikin): Key money is more like a move-in fee you pay to the landlord is usually equivalent to one to two months' rent. Key money is not refundable.
Renewal fee(Koushin ryou): Money to be paid to the landlord when you would renew the contract on expiration of the lease term. The amount is in most cases equivalent to one month's rent.
Befor contract
Regarding Rental Housing Dispute Prevention Regulations

In the Tokyo Metropolis a regulation has been in effect from October 1, 2004 that aims to prevent one of the kinds of disputes that arises related to leased residences; that of liabilities for repairs and expenses related to returning the property to its original state upon the completion of the lease period. In order to achieve its goals, this regulation requires that real estate agents mediating leases provide a standardized explanation. As a result, all real estate companies mediating rental housing in the Tokyo Metropolis must give an explanation on the following items.
(1) Rules regarding the return of the property to its original condition upon departure, as well as repair cost liabilities during the period the lessee lives in the property.
(2) Concrete information regarding the amount lessee is liable for within the actual contract. Only enter into a contract after hearing this regulation-based explanation, after comparing the thinking behind expenses liability expressed in the rules with the information on expenses liability written in the contract, after comparing the two for any disparities, and understanding fully all of the information given.

Tokyo Metropolis Consultation Windows
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Urban Development Housing Policy Advancement Division Real Estate Industry Section: TEL: 03-5320-4958
Tokyo Metropolitan Special Consultation Window for Real Estate Transactions: TEL: 03-5320-5015
Tokyo Metropolitan Center for Consumer Lifestyles: TEL: 03-3235-1155


Regarding the Explanation of Material Issues Concerning Asbestos and Earthquake Resistance Examinations

Health damage by asbestos and the discovery of strength-deficient buildings camouflaging their earthquake resistance has had an impact on the lives of the Japanese, and has become a great societal problem. As part of its efforts to address the problems of asbestos and earthquake resistance, on March 13, 2006 the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism promulgated and enacted the "Ordinance to Partially Revise the Enacted Regulations of the Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Act " (hereafter referred to the "Revised Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Act"), which requires real estate transaction agents (hereafter referred to as "real estate agents") to conduct standardized investigations and explanations on the use of asbestos in the property and whether the property has undergone an earthquake resistance examination. The explanation requirement set forth by this revision is not only applied to sales, but to leasing as well.


Regarding the Asbestos Problem and the Requirements for Investigations and Explanations

On September 29, 2005 the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Real Estate Section told the industry the following: "Should the buyer of a property sold in the past or currently being sold or mediated by a real estate agent inquire into the usage of asbestos in the property, the real estate agent must to the greatest extent possible handle such inquiries in an appropriate manner that alleviates the doubts and concerns of the buyer. Such handling would include asking the construction company that built the building, the architect, or the seller regarding the use of asbestos and relaying that information to the buyer". In this way, the Ministry instructs real estate agents to disclose to the buyer information related to asbestos usage when mediating.
The real estate agent must confirm with the building owner whether an Asbestos Usage Investigation has been conducted, and if the results of that investigation exist the record must be included with the Material Issues Explanatory Document. After explaining the investigation date, the investigating organization, and the scope and methods of the investigation, the real estate agent must explain whether asbestos was used, where it was used, the condition of the asbestos, and other related items. If there is no investigation record, it is sufficient to record and explain that result within the Material Issues Explanatory Document. The usage of asbestos in building materials such as wall and ceiling materials is thought to have been widespread before its prohibition in October 2004. However, even if building materials such as wall and ceiling materials containing asbestos were used, if the materials were used under normal conditions the presence of the materials in and of themselves are not considered a risk to health.

Regarding the Earthquake Resistance Problem and the Requirement for Investigations and Explanations

For transactions involving buildings constructed prior to May 31, 1981, the real estate agent must confirm with a Designated Inspection Organization whether the property in question has undergone an earthquake resistance examination. If the building has undergone an examination, documents detailing that examination must be included with the Material Issues Explanatory Document, and basic items explained including the date of the examination, the name of the organization that conducted the examination, and the result of the examination. If the property in question has not undergone an examination by a Designated Inspection Organization, the explanation requirement is fulfilled by explaining that the building in question has not undergone an earthquake resistance examination. Following the 1978 Miyagi Earthquake, design methods used for earthquake resistance were drastically altered. As a result, from June 1981 the current earthquake resistance design standards have been incorporated into the Building Standards Law. In the January 1995 Kobe Earthquake there was significant damage to buildings constructed prior to 1981, but little damage to buildings constructed after 1982 under the new earthquake resistance design standards. This provided empirical evidence of the strength of buildings that conformed to the new earthquake resistance design standards, and buildings soon came to be referred to as having been built under the pre-1981 design standards or under the post-1981 standards. For these reasons, new buildings constructed after June 1981 under the new earthquake resistance design standards are exempt from the explanation requirement set forth under the revisions to the Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Act.
Agent commission
Upon the conclusion of a contract, Agent commission (requires separate consumption tax) will be invoiced as follows:   
 Lease Contract: One Month of Rent
 Sales Contracts:Property Price is Less than Two Million JPY: Property Price × 5.5%
           Property Price is Between Two and Four Million JPY: Property Price × 4.4%
           Property Price Exceeds Four Million JPY: Property Price × 3.3%

Article 46 of the Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Act
 The amount of remuneration a trader of building lots or buildings can receive for the agency of sale, exchange or lease of a building lot or building shall conform to the regulations provided by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation.

1970 Notice from the Construction Ministry No. 1552-4
 The total amount of remuneration (including the consumption tax for the said agency) that a trader of building lots or buildings can receive, for the agency of the lease of building lot or building, from both of its clients shall be within 110% of the monthly (--- omission ---) rental fee of the said building lot or building. In such a case, the amount of remuneration that a trader can receive from one of the clients for the agency of the lease of the building provided for residence shall be, unless otherwise consented to by the said client upon the acceptance of the said agency request, within the amount equivalent to 55% of the monthly rental fee