Rental costs in Japan will have varying initial costs in comparison to many western coutnries. Some of the normal charges are Deposit, Key money, Fire insurance, building maintenance fee and if required, a Gurantor fee. Rent is paid on a monthly basis in advance. Deposit may vary from one month to four months depending on the building. Rental costs do not include utilities such as Gas, Electricity, water or internet / satellite TV.
Security Deposit (Shikikin)
The law does not regulate the amount of security deposit requested from property owners. Two to three months deposit is normal, depending on the property. Typically, expensive large homes charge deposit more than smaller homes. A pet deposit may be added if you are to planning to have dogs or cats. This additional deposit will not be returned if you chose to have pets.
Key Money (Reikin)
It is a payment required for a new tenant to pay the owner. Unlike bond money, the tenant cannot claim back this money at the end of the contract. In many cases, upon signing the contract, the new tenant even agrees to pay "Key" money in addition to the traditional two to three months' security deposit. This is a traditional gesture of thanks to the property owner for allowing rental of their home. Some owners do not charge any key money to attract potential customers due to high initial costs putting a lot of people off. However, these property owners compensate the loss of key money by charging a slightly higher rent to balance out the difference. This applies to both Japanese and non-Japanese. If you stay longer, sometimes paying key money becomes cheaper compared to higher rent with no key money.
Agent Fee (Chukai Tesuryou)
The industry standard commission fee for you to hire your agent is equivalent to one month's rent plus 5% consumption tax. Generally, they are fees paid to the agents for service of introducing suitable apartments/homes, processing paperwork and applying for utility services.
This is a compulsory fee when moving into an apartment. It provides protection against events beyond your control that happen in your apartment, however, earthquake damage is excluded and you will need a separate policy if you want protection for earthquakes. Different apartment buildings offer different coverage.
Renewal Fee (Koushin ryou)
The standard rental contract lasts for a period of two years. Before the end of your two year contract you will need to determine if you are going to renew or not. There is a fee paid to the owner/landlord (in some cases) to renew a contract. This is usually the equivalent of one month rent. If you do not want to renew, you can arrange a cancellation notice and is usually required one or two months prior to the end of the contract.
Restoration Fee (Genjyou Kaifukuhi)
In Japan, when you move out of the apartment, you are required to pay the cleaning fee. This is required no matter how clean you leave the apartment. The cleaning fee depends on the size and is based on a charge of roughly 1,000 yen – 1,250 Yen per square meter. ( Tokyo 2011 ).
If you are in Tokyo, normal wear and tear is beared by the property owner, but you will be liable for any damage. It is regulated by “Tokyo Rules” and that states how the owner can only charge on applicable and reasonable damage. The following are examples of what damage you will be responsible to pay for:
-Pin holes and hooks in the wall for pictures / drawings
-Painting a wall in a different colour
-Scratches on the floor with heavy furniture
-Leaving the damage (even natural one) and as a result the damage gets bigger.
Even if the above are by accident, you will be charged for repair upon move-out.