Sunday, January 08, 2006

Housing in Tokyo

It's a nightmare that many foreign people in Japan have faced--finding a place to live. Racism can be a big first hurdle, but there are other obstacles as well.

'Key money' is one of my least favorite parts of the process. This is basically gift money (at least one month's rent); a humble 'thank you' to the property owner for letting you live there. This isn't something that only applies to people from out of town. This form of robbery has been standard across the board for all tenants for a long time.

It is possible to get a good place in Japan without paying it though. Property owners are slowly waking up. They realize that there is plenty of housing to go around now, so some people are starting to drop the 'key money' part of the equation.

One agency that I found that lists rental properties (they also have listings that are for sale) is http://www.res.jp/. They have listings in English and Japanese, and they have a lot of apartments that don't require payment of 'key money'.

I haven't actually rented with them myself, but their website seems promising. This agency specializes in housing in Tokyo, so my apologies to those looking for places to live outside the city.


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