It can be a cumbersome task for foreign students to find apartments in Japan, because of some major differences in the language limitation and renting systems. Also there is a factor as to how the Japanese view a foreigner, because they usually base their relationships upon trust.
If you are coming to study at a university, then you may ask the university officials to arrange a living space for you in the student dormitory. The rent is comparatively cheaper and you have the ease to get along with other students from various nationalities.
It also gives you an easy way to interact among the Japanese students and communities. However, an early enrollment into the student dormitory can be convenient.
There are many housing companies that offer furnished apartments based on rental system to foreign students. However, as a matter of fact, these apartments are highly expensive and will cost you too much if you plan to stay for long. Contrarily, the apartments from the residential housing schemes are also far too expensive to live for a longer period. There is a lot of cash-in-front required to arrange a private housing in Japan.
While you are looking into getting an inexpensive place to live, do not go for cheap places either. These will save you money, but will bring in many other issues that might be costly to you. For example, you will have to spend extra money to get warm water during the winters. You might also have to share toilet and kitchen with other tenants as there are only one each located outside the building.
In addition to monthly rent, you should also expect to pay off monthly maintenance charges, environment cleaning fee, utility fee etc. These costs are clearly mentioned on the fliers so you should look into then with detail before deciding.
There are several things you should take notice of; some of these are described below.
- Key Money: Reikin is an amount of money which is usually given to the landlord (ooyasan) as a gift. The amount may vary but usually it is equal to a month’s rent. Shikikin is another amount which prevents you from disappearing from the house without prior notice, whereas Tesuuryou is an amount payable to the housing agent, if you hire any.
- Maximum Length of Stay: Usually, all rental housing schemes ask you to mention a minimum period of your stay. If you breach the contract afterwards, it might result in a penalty. If you plan to reside for less than a year, then inform the ooyasan early.
- Room furniture: Generally, apartments do not contain any furniture, but you will be given some equipment, such as gas stove, common washing machine, an air conditioner and maybe an internet connection.
- Miscellaneous items: There are several other matters, such as fire insurance, gas usage, neighbors, room size and type. These directly link to the housing agent and the homeowner.
The last thing to keep in mind as a foreigner is that people mostly do not prefer to rent out to foreign students. You might come across some fliers that clear mention their reservations about foreign students. Just hire a housing agent and ask for moderately priced rental location with basic utilities.