This is a sequel to my previous post Renting a flat or house in Fukuoka. The information below replies to comment on that post. Do you have a topic regarding law for me to cover? Submit your suggestions here or read my previous posts here.
There remains another business custom called rei-kin. A rei-kin is a gift to the landlord and, therefore, non-refundable, different from shiki-kin (i.e., security deposit). It is often the equivalent of one to four months of rent.
The validity of rei-kin was also argued concerning the Consumer Protection Act at court. However, no judgment has denied its validity until today. So, rei-kin is legal.
In recent years, an increasing number of landlords and real property agencies have begun to offer rei-kin-free rental housing. Further, the semi-public Urban Renaissance Agency (generally referred to as ‘UR‘) does not charge rei-kin or other ambiguous fees.
Termination or non-renewal of lease
Generally speaking, tenants are more protected than landlords under the law. This is similar to that employees are more protected than employers.
Landlords are only allowed to terminate a contract or refuse renewal of a contract with ‘justifiable grounds.’ These ‘justifiable grounds’ are not easily satisfied in court. For instance, it will generally not be ‘justifiable grounds’ for the landlord to use the flat for their reasons. In practice, landlords pay removal compensation to have their tenant leave.
Foreigners as tenants
It will be challenging to rent a flat or house for foreign nationals without the help of someone willing to be their guarantor.
The landlords and real property agencies will prefer to lease those who can prove their credit history, tax history, etc. I had a similar experience looking for a flat in foreign countries and went through similar difficulties.
Suppose you have neither a Japanese spouse nor an employer willing to help you secure your accommodation. In that case, a realistic approach will be utilizing the international market within Japan. There appears to be a small market for foreign residents.
There are several court cases in which monetary compensation was ordered for a foreign national who was refused to rent a flat due to their nationality and/or race.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure that the information on this article is accurate at the time of posting, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ. If you do require advice or wish to find out more about the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.