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2. Renting a home

Housing in Japan

In Japan, numbers and the alphabet are used to express the number and size of rooms. In other words, if it says “2LDK”, “L” means living room, “D” means dining room, “K” means kitchen, and “2” means the number of rooms present other than LDK. Normally, the bathtub and toilet are separated, but in some apartments, there is a style called “unit bath” in which the bathtub, toilet, and sink are placed together. The room size is described by the number of tatami (1 tatami mat is approximately 1.8m×0.9m=1.62m²). For example, 6 jo (tatami) expresses a size equivalent to 6 tatami mats, which means a room slightly smaller than 10m².


Types of Rental Housing

Private Housing
Many real estate agencies in Fukuoka City offer intermediary/placement services, and property information such as room layout, rent, and address are posted outside their offices. If you visit a real estate agent in the area you wish to reside in and state your preferences, an agent will find suitable housing for you. If you cannot speak Japanese, ask a Japanese speaker to accompany you. Some real estate agencies employ agents that speak foreign languages. Also, book stores and convenience stores sell magazines specializing in real estate, and it is also common to search for an apartment on the Internet.

Real Estate Agencies with Foreign Language Services

- Fukuoka Apartments (English)
 Tel: 092-400-7710
 http://f-apartments.com/

- Seaside Real Estate (English)
 Tel: 0120-4310-35
 http://www.seaside.ne.jp/

- Leopalace21 (English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Portuguese)
 Tel: 092-739-7116
 http://www.leopalace21.com/

- Miyoshi Fudosan (English, Chinese)
 Tel: 092-737-8858
 http://www.miyoshi.co.jp/


Contract and Miscellaneous Expenses
Generally, a guarantor is required to form a contract. It is recommended that international students inquire at their university about the Fukuoka Region International Student Housing Guarantee System. Also, there are guarantor service companies who can act as your guarantor for a fee. Various agreements are written on the contract, so be sure to thoroughly read it through before you sign it. Most contracts are only written in Japanese, so bring a friend who can read Japanese.

For private housing, you must pay miscellaneous fees other than the rent totaling approximately 5-7 months worth of rent. A portion will be returned when you terminate the contract. Please refer to the chart below for various expenses incurred when renting a house or an apartment.

Item Cost Purpose Availability of refund
Shikikin
(deposit/cleaning money)
Equivalent to 3-4 months' rent Deposit to reimburse the landlord for unpaid rent or repairs after the tenant leaves Refund of remaining money after reductions such as repairs or cleaning
Service charge Equivalent to 1 month’s rent Service fee for real estate agents and other letting agents
No refund
Rent Rent
(calculated on a daily basis from the day of the commencement of the contract and added to the next month's payment)
  No refund
* Some places may charge key money or a common service fee.

<Consultation services for troubles regarding a rental housing contract>
Fukuoka City Consumer Affairs Center 092-781-0999 Mon.-Fri.
9:00-17:00
2nd/4th Sat.
10:00-16:00 (telephone consulations only)
Fukuoka Real Estate Transaction Association
092-631-2103 Mon.-Fri.
10:00-12:00 13:00-15:00
Fukuoka Prefecture Housing Center 092-725-0876 Mon.-Fri.
9:00-17:00
Fukuoka Prefecture Consumer Affairs Center 092-632-0999 Mon.-Fri.
9:00-16:30

Rent
Rent varies by the number and size of rooms, age of the building, location, and more. In other words, if the apartment is larger and has more rooms, newer, and more convenient, it is more expensive than a smaller, older, and less convenient apartment. This does not apply to all places, so please review all the information before making a decision.

Renewal and Termination of Contract
Generally, a contract is renewed every 2 years, and rent can be increased upon renewal. When terminating a contract, you must inform your landlord at least one month in advance (it is also written in the contract). For old houses or apartments, the landlord may request a termination of your contract for demolition or renovation purposes.

Public Housing
Besides private housing, there are city and prefectural housing complexes run by the local government, as well as Urban Renaissance Agency rental housing (UR housing). The benefits of the city and public housing are that they are generally cheaper, and incur fewer move-in expenses than private housing. However, there is an income upper limit, applications are only accepted four times a year, and residents are chosen by lottery. The benefits for UR housing are: tenants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis if a room is available, a guarantor is not needed, fewer expenses incurred when moving in, and availability for single households. However, the rent is not necessarily cheaper than private housing, and they may have certain requirements such as having a minimum salary level. For details, please contact the management office of each type of housing.

<Inquiries>
Fukuoka City Housing Corporation Recruiting Section 092-271-2561 http://www.nicety.or.jp/
Fukuoka Housing Corporation Rent Management/Recruiting Section 092-781-8012 http://www.lsf.jp/
Fukuoka Prefectural Housing Management Section 092-713-1683  
Urban Renaissance Agency Rental Housing Kyushu Area
  http://www.ur-net.go.jp/kyuoki/


Moving in to your home

<Please note :>
- When you enter a house, take off your shoes, and do not wear slippers on tatami mats.
- Many Japanese houses are constructed with wood, so be extra careful when handling fire.
- If you are remodeling your house, make sure you have your landlord’s prior approval.
- It is recommended to take pictures of the inside of your house when moving in to avoid any problems when you move out.
- Many places do not allow pets. Please ask whether pets are allowed before you decide to get a dog or cat.
- Open accounts for electricity, gas, and water services. Follow these links for details.


Furnishings
In general, houses and apartments do not come with furniture, electrical appliances, or phones. Make a preliminary inspection beforehand.
Included furnishings
Kitchen sink, bathroom, toilet, sink, closet, gas and water, electrical wiring and plugs, telephone circuit and jack, etc.
Furnishings that may not be included
Air conditioner, hot water heater, gas/electric stove etc.
Furnishings that need to be purchased
Air conditioner/heater, gas/electric stove, refrigerator, washing machine, lighting, curtains, telephone etc. (these appliances are sold at household goods stores, electrical appliance stores, or second-hand stores.)

Air Conditioners/Heaters
Usually, air conditioning and heating appliances are not included in the room, so you should purchase one. Air conditioners are comparatively expensive, but are effective against the hot-and-humid Japanese summers, and the electrical fan or the dehumidifier function provides comfortable living during rainy days. During the winter, the most common heating equipment is a kerosene heater or a kerosene fan heater, and you can obtain kerosene from a gas station. Other heating equipment include kotatsu (a table with an electrical heater attached to the bottom and covered with a blanket) and electric carpets.

* List of places where you can obtain or buy appliances (recycle shops etc.)