Leasing Process Overview

Leasing process overview

When Should I Start Searching For An Apartment?

The timeline for rental applications in Japan from start to finish is short and proceeds quite quickly. You should plan to begin your property search a bare minimum of two weeks before your desired move-in date, but also generally not more than eight weeks in advance. Exceptions to this are if a property is currently under renovation, or the current tenant of an occupied property is willing to accommodate viewings (uncommon).

For property viewings, we recommend that you budget at least one full day, and up to a week if there are special needs or requirements indicated.

Applications in Japan are typically submitted only a few weeks before the desired start of leasing contract and move-in date. If timing is too early, you may find that the apartment you were initially eyeing is no longer available.

An Overview Of The Leasing Application Process

Property Search

Establish your desired area(s) and any absolute requirements for your future rental home (potentially including but not limited to unit size, number of rooms, age of the building, distance from nearby stations, the lighting quality of the rooms and whether car parking is available). This is also the ideal time to familiarize yourself with the various costs associated with leasing in Japan and determine your desired monthly rent limit and total budget for initial lease-signing costs.
With these requirements in mind, you and your agent can select properties from available listings for further consideration.

Property Viewing

If a property is currently available and accepting applicants, arrangements can be made to view it in person. Viewing a property allows you to judge its condition directly as well as gain a better understanding of the surrounding area—the nature of the shared areas of the building, the general noise levels, the actual distance to the nearby stations and the proximity of local stores, etc. For first-timers in Japan, this is also a valuable opportunity to determine if the overall feel of that specific area of Tokyo is to your liking. (This step is optional, but is highly recommended.)


A written application stating intent to contract a lease is submitted to the property management company. Any requests concerning the property must also be submitted at this time for consideration by the landlord. The applicant should also be able to supply a desired move-in date with their application.

Screening Check

The applicant’s submitted documents, employment/income status and provided contacts will be checked over by the property management. Most rental properties mandate the use of a guarantor company, which will also conduct a separate background/financial screening of the applicant.
The exact nature of this process may vary considerably depending on the specific property management and guarantor companies, but the applicant must pass all tiers of screening to remain eligible for the lease. This process can take anywhere from only a few days up to 2 weeks.

Landlord’s response

If all screening checks are cleared and the property owner accepts the applicant, then an initial leasing contract will be prepared.
If the application was declined, then the housing search for other properties will resume.

Contract Draft

A tentative contract is typically prepared in Japanese (an English translated version may or may not be available depending on the landlord)

Final “Original” Contract & Down Payment

Once all parties have reached an agreement, an “original” contract is finalized, concluding negotiations. The initial payment must always be received in full before the start of the lease date.

Utility Registration

Utilities are set up beforehand in accordance with your move-in timeline.

Move-In Day & Walkthrough

Upon arrival we will conduct a thorough inspection of your newly leased property.
Gas utility setup will also be completed on or after the move-in date (this requires you to be onsite as utility staff will come in person to conduct a safety inspection).