Guide to Rental Contracts in Japan


While every real estate rental contract is different, there are some general items that you will usually find addressed in Japanese real estate rental agreements.

Purpose of the Residence

The residence is for you and any other tenants listed on the application; it cannot be sublet, or used as an office.

The lease term

The lease is 2 years.

Payment

The rent is due in the month prior to the rental period. The last month’s rent will be prorated. Lessee holds full responsibility for bank transfer charges.

Fees

The utilities are the sole responsibility of the Lessee.

Rent Increase

The Landlord retains the right to increase the rent during the original contract period under special circumstances, e.g., a rise in property tax.

Cancellation Notice

The owner is required to provide a cancellation notice of at least six months. The Lessee is required to give one or two months notice, depending on the contract.

Cancellation Penalty

If the Lessee fails to give a cancellation notice of one — or two — months, there will be a one-month penalty. Often if there is a cancellation notice within the first 12 months of the contract there will be a one-month cancellation penalty.

Renewal

It is standard for contracts to automatically be extended unless cancellation notice has been submitted.

Cancellation of Property

The property should be returned in the same condition as it was at the time of move-in. After notice of termination, the Landlord has the right to show the property to prospective tenants.

Damage

The Landlord should be informed of damages made by the Lessee. Any damage by the Lessee, or those affiliated with the Lessee, is the responsibility of the Lessee, who must compensate for damage to property and/or people. When hanging pictures on walls, only pin-sized nails — not in abundance — should be used.

Disaster

The Landlord has no responsibility for any damage to the property, tenant, or other. It is advisable, and often required, to secure your own insurance.

Repairs

Minor repairs are the responsibility of the Lessee. Major repairs to items such as the foundation, exterior walls, roof, stairs and provided appliances are the responsibility of the Landlord.

Making Repairs

Prior notice to the Lessee will be made for repairmen to enter the property. In the event of an emergency, prior notice is not required.

Court of Law

Any issues with the contract will be settled in a court of law (in the same district as the property).

Issues not in the Contract

Issues not covered in the contract will be resolved in good faith between the two parties.

Renter’s Insurance

As part of the contract, the landlord may require you to obtain insurance and may even designate the agent to use. Although the landlord will carry insurance on the property, they would like to ensure that you have something to cover your own belongings, therefore, not holding the landlord responsible in the event of a robbery, disaster, etc.

Basic renter’s insurance has fairly low limits on it, so if you have expensive furnishings we advise obtaining additional insurance for that purpose. Earthquake coverage is also a separate program that requires sign up and additional payment.

Renter’s insurance in Japan generally runs between 12,000-50,000 yen for two years of coverage.

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