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Initial Cost and Necessary Documents to Rent a House in Japan

Once you have decided on a place to live in, sign a rental agreement with the landlord. If you use a real estate agency, they will mediate the process. Prepare the necessary documents for an immediate moving-in process.

If you are still thinking about renting anew property in Japan, you may find this helpful! 

How to Rent a House in Japan:

Documents That You Need to Submit

Once you have completed the application, you will need to prepare the documents to sign the lease contract. Normally, the following documents are required for foreign nationals:

  1. Passport
  2. Residence card
  3. Certificate of eligibility
  4. Income certificate
  5. Documents related to a guarantor

Certificate of eligibility:

This is required if a visa has not been issued yet. It is a document that the Immigration Bureau certifies that the purpose of your stay matches your status of residence.

Income certificate: 

This document is used to prove your ability to pay rent. If you are already working, you will often be asked for your pay slips for the past 2~3 months. If you are planning to work, an employment contract or letter of offer can be substituted. In some cases, you may be asked for a copy of your bankbook.

Submit a certificate of enrollment if you are an international student.

Documents related to a guarantor:

In most cases, a guarantor is required when renting an apartment in Japan. A guarantor is a person who pays rent and repair costs in place of the tenant when the tenant is unable to pay. The guarantor must be a Japanese national or a permanent resident, and documents such as a certificate of residence, proof of income, and certificate of seal impression are required as guarantor documents.

Rent guarantor companies are available to help you if you have difficulty finding a guarantor in Japan. They guarantee that if you are unable to pay the rent, they will pay the rent to the house owner on your behalf. Later, you will be billed by the rent guarantor company for the rent paid.

Recently, many rent guarantor companies specializing for foreign nationals are available in Japan.

Initial Costs

Once the documents have been prepared, you will move on to the signing of the contract. The real estate company will act as an intermediary for this step as well. After paying the necessary fees to the real estate agency, the tenant signs the contract, which must be signed by both the tenant and the guarantor.

In general, the following fees are charged at the time of signing of the rental contract.


The first two months’ rent is generally due at the time of signing the contract. If you move in for less than one month in the first month, the cost will be calculated on a pro-rated basis.

Agency fee:

This is the commission paid for the services of the real estate agency.

Generally, 50-100% of the monthly rent is charged.

Guarantee fee:

This is the cost to register to a guarantee company. The guarantee company pays the rent to the owner instead of the tenant in case the tenant is unable to pay the rent.

The fee varies from company to company, but when signing a contract, basically 30~100% of the monthly rent is required. Contracts are often annual, and renewal fees must be paid each year.

Fire insurance fee:

When renting an apartment in Japan, fire insurance must be purchased at the time of contract. Fire insurance coverage is not limited to fire losses. In general, losses caused by earthquakes, lightning, floods, and other natural disasters are covered by fire insurance. Damages to your furniture and rented property may also be covered by the policy. Although insurance is often specified by the house owner or management company when you sign a rental contract, be sure to carefully consider the coverage and choose the fire insurance that best suits your needs.

The cost of purchasing insurance is usually around 15,000 yen to 20,000 yen.

Lock replacement fee:

The cost to change the locks for the new tenant.

Security deposit (Shiki-kin):

It is used to cover the cost of rent arrears and to restore the property to its original condition when vacating. The remainder will be returned to you when you move out.

The standard price is 1 or 2 months’ rent. Some properties do not require a security deposit.

Key money (Rei-kin): 

This is the money paid to the owner. It is never returned.

The standard price is 1 or 2 months’ rent. Some properties do not require a key money.

Check this article for more information about the Shiki-kin and Rei-kin system in Japan

Example of Initial Costs

If a monthly rent is 80,000 yen, you would expect to pay approximately the following costs as initial payment:

  • 2 month’s rent: 160,000 yen
  • Agency fee: 40,000 yen
  • Guarantee fee: 40,000 yen
  • Fire insurance: 15,000 yen
  • Lock replacement fee: 15,000 yen
  • Security deposit: 80,000 yen
  • Key money: 80,000 yen

Total: 430,000 yen

Even though it includes two months’ rent in advance, the total initial cost should be 4-5 times the rent. You will also need to pay for moving and furniture when moving in.


When a foreigner signs a rental property contract in Japan, it is common to hire a guarantee company. Prepare the documents and fees including the cost to the guarantee company.

If you are thinking of moving but have not yet decided on a new place to live: 

SUGEE Housing, operated by SUGEE, is a real estate agent service specializing with foreign nationals. We have  English-speaking consultants ready to assist you in your apartment hunting. If you are looking for a new place to live in Japan, please feel free to contact us.

Talk to a SUGEE consultant: 

Notes for the readers:

Under no circumstances shall the company or its affiliates, partners, suppliers, or licensors be liable for any indirect, incidental, consequential, special, or exemplary damages arising out of or in connection with your access or use of or inability to access or use the application and any third-party content and services, whether or not the damages are foreseeable and whether or not the company was advised of the possibility of such damages, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, company’s aggregate liability to you (whether under contract, tort, statute, or otherwise). The foregoing limitations will apply even if the above stated remedy fails of its essential purpose. This article was written on 15 April 2022.

Related Articles

How to Rent a House in Japan

9 Things You Must Do When Moving in Japan


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[2] LIFULL Co., Ltd. “家賃6万円の初期費用はいくら? シミュレーションから安く抑える方法まで紹介.” LIFULL HOME’S, 2020, Retrieved 28 April 2022 from

[3] Recruit Co., Ltd. “賃貸契約に必要な初期費用の相場はどのくらい? 安くする方法は? 分割はできる?.” SUUMO, 2017, Retrieved 28 April 2022 from

[4] “外国人の方でも大丈夫!賃貸契約必要書類や保証会社を徹底解説!.” 最強のお部屋探しブログ, 2021, Retrieved 28 April 2022 from
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