Rental Agreement

After submitting your application to rent an apartment, the landlord and guarantor company will perform screenings.

Tip: Providing an emergency contact person

Rental applications require you to provide an emergency contact person (緊急連絡先, kinkyu renrakusaki). This person is often mistaken for a joint guarantor. Rather, this is a person who can be reached in the event of an emergency and has no legal liability regarding payments.

Once the screenings are complete, the real estate agency will notify you of the decision on whether or not you can rent the apartment. If your application is accepted and you decide to rent the apartment, you will have to enter into a guarantee consignment contract and rental agreement.

Tip: Beware of application deposits!

Some agencies may request that you pay an application deposit, often called azukarikin (預り金), moushikomikin (申込金), moushikomishoukokin (申込証拠金), yoyakukin (予約金), or koushouazukarikin (交渉預り金). Although Japanese law specifies that agencies must return the application deposit if the applicant cancels the application, disputes over the return of deposits are common. Authorities urge agencies not to request application deposits. If a real estate agency insist that you pay an application deposit, use another agency.

Understand Your Rental Agreement

Before signing the rental agreement, have the real estate agent explain the important points of the agreement to you. If there is something you do not understand, ask questions.

Special clauses may be added to your rental agreement. These details should be explained to you in person while referring to the written contract. Before signing the agreement, confirm that you fully understand these clauses and that they are not unfavorable to you.

The following is a sample of Regular Rental Housing Agreement on The Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism website.

The Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

To avoid problems when moving out, be sure to check the following:

  • Cancellaion Policy
  • Non-refundable portion of your security deposit (敷き引き, shikibiki), if any
  • Cost for restoring the apartment to its original condition after vacating

※ More information is available at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website ( Guidebook for Tenants & Landlords).

Fees When Signing a Contract

When making a contract, be prepared to pay around 6 months' rent in initial fees. These fees can include:

  • 敷金 (Shikikin): Security deposit
    Typically 1-2 months' rent
  • 礼金 (Reikin): Gratuity fee paid to the landlord
    Typically 1-2 months' rent; non-refundable; often called "key money"
  • 仲介手数料 (Chukai tesuryo): Real estate agency's commission
    Typically 1 month's rent; Tokyo Tech Co-op often has apartment listings directly from landlords. In such cases, no commission is charged.
  • 鍵交換費 (Kagikoukanhi): Fee for changing the lock and key
    Typically ¥15,000-20,000
  • 家賃 (Yachin): Rent
    Note that rent will be charged from the day your lease begins, not necessarily from the day you move in. If your contract begins in the middle of the month, rent for that month will be prorated based on number of days remaining in that month.
  • 共益費 (Kyoekihi): Fee for common facilities/management
  • 火災保険 (Kasai hoken): Fire insurance
    Typically ¥10,000-20,000 for a 2-year term

See the Glossary for more related terms.

Payment will need to be made in cash or by bank transfer. The term for a typical lease is 2 years. If you plan to stay less than two years, you should mention this to the real estate agency beforehand.

Contract Renewal Fees

When you want to renew your contract, you usually have to pay a renewal fee of 1 month's rent, agreed upon by you and the landlord. You may also have to pay a commission to the real estate agency for preparing the new contract. Premium for an addition term of fire insurance will also have to be paid.