When renting an apartment in Japan, a joint guarantor (連帯保証人, rentai hoshounin) is required. A joint guarantor takes legal responsibility in case the tenant defaults on payment of rent or damages. In general, a joint guarantor is a parent or close relative who has a certain level of income, is not an elderly person, and lives in Japan. This means that finding a joint guarantor is not easy for non-Japanese residents.
Instead, you can use a rental guarantee (家賃保証, yachin hoshou) service or guarantor company (保証会社, hoshougaisha), which will act as your joint guarantor. Tell the real estate agency that you want to use a guarantee service. Generally you cannot choose which guarantor company to use, as it will depend on the real estate agency. You will be requested to fill out an application form for evaluation* by the guarantor company and submit required documents.
*If your application is denied, the reason will not be disclosed to you.
If you sign a contract with a guarantor company, you will almost certainly be required to indicate an emergency contact person, who would be contacted by the real estate agent, guarantor company, or landlord only if they are not able to reach you. For example, if you are outside Japan for a long period or if your mobile phone number has changed.
The emergency contact person you indicate could be your professor, your tutor, your Japanese friend, or a staff member of your laboratory. Although this person does not have to be a Japanese national, they may be required to communicate in Japanese. Check with your real estate agent or guarantor company to learn about any conditions or policies they have regarding the designation of an emergency contact. Please note that Housing Support cannot act as your emergency contact.
An emergency contact person does not have any obligation regarding the payment of your rent. However, we recommend confirming with your guarantor company that your chosen emergency contact person will NOT also be the guarantor on your apartment contract. And be sure to let the person you have designated know that you have listed them as your emergency contact.
If you have any questions, ask your agent or guarantor company before signing the contract.
Example of Guarantor Company Services
If a tenant defaults on payment of rent, the guarantor company will pay the rent to the landlord and charge the tenant for the debt.
If the tenant left any items in the apartment after vacating or caused any type of damage to the property and failed to pay compensation, the guarantor company will cover the costs incurred to remove the items or restore the property to its original condition.
1 year; renewed yearly
Fixed monthly fees (rent, management fee, common service fee, parking, etc.)
Initial premium: 50%** of fixed monthly fees
Renewal fee: ¥10,000**
Submit an application through a contracted real estate agency
**Amounts vary between guarantor companies.