Can foreigners rent an apartment in Japan?
When foreigners decide to live in Japan (of course, one needs to get an appropriate visa such as a work visa0, they may live with their friends who live in Japan. But in many cases, they are going to need to look for places to live on their own in Japan. The reality is pretty tough for many foreigners as there are issues that need to be taken into considerations.
Landlord’s impression of foreign residents
First of all, you don’t find many landlords that are willing to rent places to foreigners in Japan unfortunately. Probably 30% of total available properties can be rented by foreigners.
This is because the landlords and the property owners are generally concerned about communications issues, cultural barriers and they just want to avoid any troubles.
Even if you are looking for properties through the real estate, they are going to need to listen to the landlords’ wish. If the property listing doesn’t allow foreigners to rent the property, you are less likely to convince the owner to change their mind. It is hard to believe because I would assume that this is illegal and it should be illegal.
It is a challenge for foreigners to rent properties in Japan as available properties are limited.
But Japan’s population decline is pretty serious, so I assume that the country will start to hire more foreigners to work in Japan. When that happens, the number of available properties for foreigners should increase.
How about an apartment co-signer?
Even if you find the property you can rent, there is another hurdle you need to deal with. One of which is to find a co-signer who is willing to help you rent an apartment. For most cases, Japanese renters are also required to find a co-signer who can guarantee the payment.
Japanese people can ask their family members to be the co-signer but foreigners who don’t have Japanese family won’t be able to do it. There are companies that can co-sign for Japanese people who don’t have family, but these companies are less likely to provide the service for foreigners.
About contracts and agreements of rental property
Even if you could luckily rent an apartment, you are going to have to be able to read the contracts and actually understand it before signing. There is a law that prohibits renting an apartment to those who can’t read the agreement. It can be quite extensive and complicated.
But some companies offer contracts and agreements in other languages such as Chinese, English so you may want to ask for one.
In order to efficiently find a place to live as a foreigner in Japan, it is best to find a place that is available to foreigners. Try to look for agencies that find properties specifically for foreigners so the transaction will be more efficient.
Are there any other issues foreigners need to be aware of?
Try to communicate with your landlord, staff at the company or even neighbors. They may be helpful if you put an effort to get to know them.
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