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Moving Out of a Rented Apartment – What You Need To Know

Makoto Ayukawa, a guitarist and pioneer of mentai rock (rock music from Hakata in the 70s), passed away on January 29. Someone recommended that I should listen to “借家のブルース” from the first album “有頂天” by the band Sonhouse, which Ayukawa played in before starting the band Sheena & The Rokkets. In memory of Ayukawa, I listened to the song “借家のブルース” which means “The Blues of a Rented House”

This song, which conveys the difficulties of renting a room and the emotional attachment one can develop to it, ultimately concludes with the realization that one may eventually tire of the space. It is a touching masterpiece. This was my first time hearing the song and it inspired me to choose this month’s topic: How Tenants Can Avoid the Blues When Leaving a Rented Property.

In April 2020, Japan revised its Civil Code. For those considering a move this spring, I would like to discuss the changes to the Civil Code regarding the obligations of tenants. The revised code specifies the requirement for tenants to restore the leased property to its original condition, as well as the return of deposits. These are among several key revisions made to the Civil Code in 2020.

When Moving Out of a Tenant's HomePhoto by Norbert Levajsics on Unsplash

Obligation to restore the leased property to its original condition / 原状回復義務について
The Civil Code amendment in April 2020 clearly states that a tenant has an obligation to restore the leased property to its original condition in case of damage that occurs after they receive the property. However, they are not responsible for restoring it to its original condition due to normal wear and tear or aging.

Refund of Deposit / 敷金について
Before the April 2020 revision to the Civil Code, the use of a security deposit (敷金/Shikikin) to cover the cost of repairing damage caused by a tenant was not clearly defined.

Upon renting, tenants typically pay a security deposit to the property owner to cover nonpayment of rent or damage caused by intentional or negligent conduct. The full deposit should be refunded if there are no rent arrears or damage to the property caused by intentional or negligent conduct. However, some tenants may have faced the issue of property owners not returning a portion of the security deposit to cover the cost of repairing normal wear and tear or aging-related deterioration, which is not a result of intentional or negligent conduct.

Personal Thoughts
The 2020 revisions to the Civil Code aim to better protect the rights of tenants by clarifying the rules for restoring the property to its original state, repairing damage, and returning security deposits. However, there has been a recent trend of rental contracts setting the security deposit at 0 yen, and requiring tenants to pay “cleaning costs” when they move out. In these cases, the return of the deposit is not an issue, but there may be a possibility of incurring higher costs for repairing damage caused by intentional or negligent conduct.

Each rental contract has unique terms and conditions. To avoid any conflicts or unpleasantness when leaving a rented property, it is important to thoroughly understand the contents of the rental contract before signing.

EVENT Announcement

Free consultation is offered by 一般社団法人Legal Associates (General Incorporated Association Legal Associates), of which I am a member, and I will join this meeting for questions to address mainly topics such as business start-up and residence status.

Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that reservations will be closed when capacity (4 or 5 persons) is reached. Times may need to be arranged and reservations are subject to availability.

Information on free consultation “Yorozu Soudankai” (よろづ相談会)
• Date: February 23
• Time: 13:00~17:00
• Location: Dazaifu City (exact location to be announced)
• E-mail:
• Consultants: Gyoseishoshi (行政書士) & Shihoshoshi (司法書士)
*Those whose reservations have been accepted will be notified directly of the location.

*Make a reservation by sending email to by February 18th.
*We will let you know if we cannot handle your topic in advance..

To make a reservation include the following:
• Full name
• Preferred time
• Contact phone number
• Topic

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.

Text by: Masayo Boston (Certified Administrative Procedure Legal Specialist), February 2023
Legal Associates Office Boston (Fukuoka City)
Click here to contact by email

Fukuoka Prefecture
Published: Feb 9, 2023 / Last Updated: Feb 10, 2023

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