Real estate rental in Japan

Shiki-kin(Deposit) and Rei-kin(Key money)

What is Shiki-kin ?

Deposit is paid to the owner in case of any damages or problems to be caused in the future.

The deposit is refundable but if there are any damages or overdue rent payment, it will be deducted from the deposit. Generally, the tenants are responsible for the house cleaning and restoration when leaving, therefore the deduction of the deposit is usually unavoidable.But if you use the room properly, you can have more refundment.

Tips of lessening the deduction of the deposit

  1. No smoking
  2. Regular cleaning
  3. Do not make holes with screw, nail, thumbtack
  4. Making no damages on wall and floor
  5. Regular cleaning especially the oil stains in the kitchen

It is the regulation for the tenants to be responsible for any damages caused in the room.

What is Rei-kin ?

Key money is paid to the owner while making the contract or when you sign it.
It is not refundable. In general the amount of key money is one to two months of the rent.

Other initial cost

Other fees that you have to pay when moving in include…

  1. Fire Insurance Generally the tenants must pay to join the fire insurance in case of earthquake and disasters. The amount is about JPY 15,000 to 30,000. It is paid when signing the contract.
  2. Agent Fee Payment to the real estate agent for introducing the apartment.You have to pay one month rent to the agent when signing the contract.
  3. Advanced payment of the rent Generally, the rent is paid in advance, therefore you also have to pay it when signing the contract. If the move-in date is in the midway of the month, the payment for the remaining days of the month and also the following month will be paid in advance.
  4. Key exchange fee This has many patterns beacuse of your own determination and the decision made by house owner. This is to avoid troubles of the past tenants with duplicate key . Therefore, key exchange fee may be asked to pay accordingly.
    Depending on the key type, it costs about JPY 10,000 to 20,000yen averagely.


What is a Guarantor?

A guarantor is a person who is financially stable and ensures the property owner that in case the tenant cannot pay for the rent, the guarantor will be responsible for the rent.

The guarantor has nearly the same responsibility as the tenants.

Therefore it is advisable that you choose a relative. Generally, the guarantor has to be those who is residing in Japan.

Find a Guarantor for a foreigner

Many foreigners find out that it is difficult to find someone as their guarantor.

Generally the guarantor must be financially stable and has a Japanese citizenship.

Since there is a tradition of Japanese saying “don’t be a guarantor for others” it may be a problem finding your friend to be a guarantor.

Guarantor Agency(Guarantor Needless)

Even Japanese sometimes cannot find a guarantor, so guaranty companys which serve as a guarantor is increasing these days.The rules depend on various companies.

For instance the types of the guaranty companies are those that obligate to set a guarantor, emergency contact, or those without the obligation of having a guarantor or any emergency contact.

Furthermore, credit card account may be used as a guarantee.

The following are the examples of guaranty companies’ fee.

  1. Companies which obligate to set a guarantor: 30% of one month rent, includes public used area cleaning charge, administrative fee, and car parking fee has to be paid when signing the contract. You only have to pay it once.
  2. Companies which obligate to set an emergency contact: 50% to 70% of one month rent, includes public used area cleaning charge, administrative fee, and car parking fee has to be paid when signing the contract. You only have to pay it once. Furthermore, some companies may charge you to pay JPY 10,000 per year from the second year.

Above are common cases but it varies depending on the company. Please contact the company for the detail.

※The real estate management firm usually selects the guaranty company instead of the tenants.

Important points for room search

If there are no limits to the rent fee, it may be much easier to find a room.
Finding with some demands, such like “a room near the station,” “newly built,” “facing south,” “in downtown,” “bigger room,” usually requires higher rent fee. The followings are the tips of finding a room that suits you best.

Your own priority

The following is the list of the basic conditions.

Budget setting

  1. Maximum Monthly Rent Fee 25% to 30% of the monthly income is advisable.
  2. Initial Payment Six months’ rent fee is necessary when signing the contract. If you cannot afford it, you had better find the apartment which costs lower deposit and key money.


  1. Commuting Area It is better to know how long it takes to commute to school or work when selecting the apartment. Since most of the offices are located in downtown, the rent fee in this area will be relatively higher.
  2. Railway Line The popular apartments are usually along Midousuzi and Cyuo- line which are relatively more expensive. But by selecting area which is along different railway line, may lead to find an affordable apartment whithout increasing commuting time. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Layout and Structure

  1. Room Layout It has various patterns depending on living by yourself or not. If you are living by yourself, one room type apartments, 1K, 1DK, and 1LDK are common. If there are two persons living together, 2K, 2DK, and 2LDK are advisable. Some property owners may insist that 1K room for only one person, but some owners may allow more than one person. We are going to negotiate it with the property owner for you.
  2. Structure of the Building The building are usually constructed by timber, steel, reinforced concrete, reinforced concrete and steel, etc. Generally, the buildings are classified into apartment, cooperative apartment house, and mansion. The rent fees are usually higher for the mansion structured type.
  3. Built Year The older buildings are usually cheaper than the newly built buildings.


  1. Security The most common security equipment will be automatically lockable door. In addition, there are other security services such as intercom, security camera, concierge, etc.
  2. Delivery Box This service takes care of keeping the parcels sent to you when you are away. This is convenient for those who are not home during the day time.
  3. Loft Having a loft, makes you have more space for storage.
  4. Cooking Stove (electric or gas) Cooking stove has two types: electric or gas. The electric stove becomes very popular nowadays because it can avoid the dangers of fire disasters.
  5. Bath Room Dryer System The bath room with drying and heating system. Therefore, laundries can be dried in the bath room.
  6. Floor Heating The floor with a heating system which keeps the room warm without using other heating system.
  7. Others Check other facilities such as system kitchen, internet, cable TV, etc.


  1. Located Check the location and find out if there are any convenient store or supermarket nearby or not.
  2. Living Above Ground Floor It is advisable to live above ground floor because of the security and how much sunshine the room gets. The rental fee of the higher floor is more expensive.
  3. Storage
  4. Separated Bath and Toliet
  5. Indoor Space for Washing Machine
  6. Wooden Floor
  7. Corner Room
  8. Elevator

Process to contract

Preparation for Application

Identification card

  1. Student card, driver’s license, Residence card and so on.


  1. If you have a gaurantor The apartment company requires a Japanese Guarantor who has stable income.
  2. Using the guaranty company It has various patterns according to the company, but usually charged 50% of the one month rent which includes public-use area cleaning charge, administrative fee, and car parking fee. You have to pay the payment when signing the contract. Generally emergency contactor must be filled, too.

Preparation of Contract

  1. Guarantor’s seal and certificate of registered seal
  2. Contractor‘s (lease signer) certificate of residence
  3. 3.Contractor’s (lease signer) seal
  4. Initial payment
    (key money・deposit・agent fee・rent payment in avance・insurnce・key exchange fee and so on)

The real estate management agency manages the property of the owner, and we will support the tenant to make negotiations with the management agency and the owner.

Making a contract may cost lots of time, but we will do our best to help you finding a home which suits you best.