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
With these requirements in mind, you and your agent can select properties from available listings for further consideration.
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.
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.
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.
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).