How to Find: First, decide on the location, size, and amount of rent you can afford. Next, visit a real estate agency. Apartment sizes are indicated by the number of 90cmX180cm tatami mats in each room. When you find a place which looks promising, have a Japanese friend take you there and look it over. If you are not satisfied with the place, ask the real estate agent to show you other places, or try a different real estate company.
When you have decided: An agreement is signed at the real estate office. At this time, and initial deposit (equal to one month's rent) is required. This is a provisional agreement prior to the formal lease and the deposit is applied to the first month's rent upon signing the formal lease agreement. It will not be refunded if the formal lease agreement is not signed.
The Formal Lease: When you sign a formal lease agreement, you will need to pay key money, deposit money, and agent's fee, rent, and a mainteneance fee. You will also have to have someone act as your guarantor. Since there are often restrictions on pets and the types of heaters used in a household, it is a good idea to confirm all conditions before signing the lease.
*Deposit Money (shiki-kin): This is a sum of money equal to one or two months rent paid to the landlord as a deposit. It is partially refunded at a predetermined ratio when moving out. The cost of any repair work or unpaid rent is deducted from this amount.
* Key Money (rei-kin):This is a non-refundable sum usually equal to one or two months rent.
* Agents Fee (chukai tesuryo): Usually equal to one months rent and paid to the real estate agency.
* Rent (yachin): Rent is usually paid in advance at the end of the month for the folowing month. If the lease commences in the middle of the month, the rent for that month is pro-rated and paid prior to occupying the domicile.
* Contract Renewal (keiyaku koshin): A lease agreement typically covers two years. The rent is usually raised at each renewal.
* Ending a Contract (kaiyaku): Normally you are required to announce the end of a contract one month in advance.