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International students suggest how to rent a house in Japan

Japan has many types of rental houses, so international students need to consult carefully to choose to suit their interests and needs.

Tran Thuy Huong Quynh is currently a second-year doctoral student majoring in Nephrology, Kansai Medical University, Osaka city. When she first came to Japan, the thing that haunted and made Quynh most tired was finding a house.

Quynh went to Japan to study abroad in March 2021, after graduating from the Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City. The school dormitory was under construction at that time, so Quynh was supported in a guest house for the first month, then had to rent a room by herself.

Unaccustomed to life in Japan, the 26-year-old PhD student asked his seniors to help find available rooms and was advised to connect with the landlord through a real estate brokerage company.

Quynh's apartment for rent is located on the second floor of a low-rise apartment building.  Photo: Character provided

Quynh’s apartment for rent is located on the second floor of a low-rise apartment building in Hirakata – the satellite city of Osaka. Image: Characters provided

Quynh wants to rent a room with wooden floors, with a price of around 30,000 yen (6-7 million VND) a month, preferably near train stations and schools, good security and windows. After clarifying the requirements, Quynh was introduced to 5-6 options but only liked two apartments to see live.

The first one is cheap, spacious but on the ground floor; The way to the house and no fence around makes me feel unsafe. The house is close to the canal, so there will be mosquitoes, cockroaches and rats in the rainy season. Quynh decided not to hire.

The second is located in a four-story apartment building with five rooms on each floor, and is only a 10-minute walk from the school. A self-contained room on the second floor, with an area of ​​​​about 12 m2, including only kitchen and air conditioner, has an initial price of 33,000 yen (6 million VND) a month.

Not fluent in Japanese and not understanding the law, Quynh asked a teacher in the department to show the house and negotiate. Thanks to that, I got a discount to 30,000 yen. In addition to the rent, Quynh takes another 10-15 thousand yen each month for electricity, water and wifi. Quynh said that the area she lives in is Hirakata – a satellite city of Osaka – so the room rent is “softer” than other places.

“You should ask your senior brother or sister or teachers at the school to help you with renting. They not only know Japanese, but also understand the working style of the brokerage company here,” Quynh said, saying that they have been attached. with the first room in two years.

Quynh visited Oyama-jinja Shrine in Kanazawa Prefecture, Japan, last year.  Photo: Character provided

Quynh visited Oyama-jinja Shrine in Kanazawa Prefecture, Japan, last year. Image: Characters provided

According to Quynh, international students can rent and negotiate with the landlord. However, Japan requires tenants to go through a brokerage company. In this way, customers will save time, do not have to worry about procedures and are protected by contracts. When Quynh first moved in, the stove was broken. Thanks to the contract, I was given a new kitchen by the owner.

When renting a house, international students must deposit about three times the monthly rent. This money is used to repair the apartment after the tenant leaves or to replace some equipment damaged during living here. That time, Quynh spent 100,000 yen (about 20 million VND) for the first month of deposit as well as service fees for the brokerage company.

In Japan for four years, Thai Minh Thu, a student at Asia Pacific University of Ritsumeikan (APU), also has experience in renting due to having spent time “scouring” accommodation. Thu stays in the dormitory for a year, each month costs 49,000 yen (about 10 million VND) including electricity, gas, water and wifi. She has her own bedroom and toilet, but Thu has to share a bathroom, kitchen, dining room and laundry room.

Wanting to have a private and self-contained space, the female student moved out to be able to live with 2-3 friends, rent a modern Western European room, new bathroom, near the bus stop (walking no more than 8 minutes) , supermarket or market and must have windows.

“My most important criteria is a suitable price and you live well together,” Thu said.

Currently, Thu and her friend share a modern-style room for 9 million VND a month.

Vietnamese students said that Japan has many types of rental houses, so international students need knowledge to choose to suit their interests and needs. With the traditional style, the room will be lined with tatami mats, cool in summer and warm in winter. However, if you choose this type of room, residents must be careful and keep it. If you accidentally spill food or drinks on the floor, it will be difficult to clean and cause mold.

Moreover, tatami mats are prone to scratches, scratches, flaking or subsidence if shelves, cabinets, beds are heavy or have sharp iron legs. In case of tearing the mat, the tenant must buy a temple for the landlord. Each mat costs 7,000 yen (about 1.3 million VND).

“If you are not careful, you should not choose a traditional room but rent a modern room,” suggested a final year marketing student.

Modern room style with wooden or tile floors, easy to clean and place heavy and light items comfortably. But in winter, you should buy mats so you don’t get cold when walking on the floor.

In addition to the above two types of rooms, rental advertisements in Japan often say 1DK, 2DK, 3DK, 3LDK… This is an abbreviation for the number of rooms and their use. In which, digits indicate the bedroom, DK is the dining room and kitchen area (dining/kitchen area), and LDK means the kitchen, dining room and living room (dining/kitchen/living area).

For example, 1DK house means one bedroom and one kitchen. Similar to 2DK, 3DK is a home for 2-3 people because it has 2-3 bedrooms and a kitchen. If you want more space, you have 3LDK, 4LDK, even 6LDK options with 3-6 bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room. The more bedrooms the house has, the higher the rent will be.

To rent a room, international students need a residence card, phone sim, bank account or student card, stamp (inkan). A rental contract in Japan does not allow for more than the number of people specified by the type of accommodation.

In the contract, international students need to pay attention to a number of points such as asking for the home address, information of the contract holder, payment deadline, how to pay, or whether to have a pet…

“In my case, if I forgot to transfer the house payment to that month’s account, there will be a protection company to pay for it. But then I have to pay that company back the rent and fines. Past the deadline. , fines will increase like debt,” explained the girl, now in Beppu city, in Oita prefecture.

Depending on the criteria of each person, but Thu believes that it is not advisable to rent a house that is too old because it will be moldy, cockroaches and insects.

“Don’t rent the first floor because a lot of people will pass by and make noise. Avoid choosing a house facing the north because of the lack of sunshine or choosing a house in the west because the sun will shine in and cause discomfort. If you choose the south or southeast direction, the better. good. Should choose a house with windows in the bedrooms to ventilate the air,” suggested the 22-year-old girl.

Thu is currently a final year Marketing student, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU).  Photo: Character provided

Thu is currently a final year Marketing student, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU). Image: Characters provided

Reasonable rent per month ranges from 23,000 yen to 25,000 yen (4.6-5 million VND). The letter advises new students to Japan to stay in the dormitory to familiarize themselves with the environment. After that, if you want to experience living in Japan, you can rent a house from your predecessor or rent it directly from a real estate agency.

The advantage of renting a house from a previous classmate is that you have someone to guide you through the procedure and you can transfer your furniture at a cheap price and without any input fees.

“However, the procedure will be a bit complicated because you have to change the contract owner with the real estate company or the head of the household,” Thu said. “If you have difficulty with Japanese, you can ask someone who is good at translating for you or ask a brokerage company to send an English-speaking staff to work with you.”


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