Many international students rent housing since the number of vacancies in university dormitories is limited. The following is information on how to move into rental housing in Japan.
In Japan, people usually go to real estate agencies to find rental housing. Go to one of the agencies around the university and tell them your preferences for room layout, location, and so forth. The agency will show you some options that match your preferences. Then, you will go to the locations with an agent to check the room conditions, and decide whether a place is right for you. If you decide to live in one of rentals, then you will make a contract. When making a contract, students usually need to prepare a deposit, key money, agent fee, rent in advance, common area charge, fire insurance, and so on, which will total around 6 to 8 times the monthly rent.
You will need a guarantor to make a contract for rental housing. The guarantor is responsible for paying rent when you cannot afford it. The university can be your guarantor, so when preparing the contract, please come to the International Affairs Division. Students must enter the “Comprehensive Renter’s Insurance for Foreign Students Studying in Japan” in order to have the university as a guarantor. The insurance covers compensation such as when a student causes a fire, or when a student cannot pay rent and the guarantor needs to pay it instead. There are brochures about the insurance in Japanese, English, and Chinese at the International Affairs Division.
When you move into rental housing, look around the room carefully first, and check for stains or broken things. If you find any damages, tell the landlord. If possible, take pictures of them. If you are asked to compensate for damages you did not cause, you can prove that you are not responsible for them by showing the pictures.
When you move out of rental housing, you need to tell the landlord some time beforehand. The time limit for the notification is stated in the contract. If you notify your landlord after the time limit, you might be charged rent for a certain amount of time after you move out. Please check the contract carefully. When you leave, dispose of all garbage and clean the rooms thoroughly.
If you move to another place in Japan, notify the post office of your new address. They will provide mail forwarding to your new address.