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Noonespecial
May 3rd, 2016, 08:28
I will be applying to JET (and other programs) later this year, and have some questions regarding getting an apartment. I know that there's a possibility that I won't be accepted (I probably won't be), and I know that, if (by some miracle) I am, they will provide information about getting an apartment at that time. I'm one of those people, though, who prefer to have the information as soon as possible so that I can make plans (and backup plans, and backup-backup plans...). I know it sounds silly to most people, and I also know that it's difficult to plan for every eventuality, but I still feel better knowing that I at least have several options already planned out, just in case.

So, I was wondering if anyone on this forum could or would answer any or all of the following questions regarding getting an apartment and paying rent:

1. Other than key money, a deposit, and the initial (or possibly several months') rent, is it common for there to be any other fees/charges?
2. How is approval determined (job, income, credit score, guarantor, etc)? If my husband comes with me, will he need to fill out an application / be on the application, and will they need the same information from him? If he will not be coming initially, but will be moving over later, does he need to be on the initial application?
3. If I'm able to find a place that allows pets, will I have to pay a monthly pet rent as well as an additional deposit, or just an additional deposit? I know that every place can be different regarding this; what I am asking is if either is more common than the other.
4. Will I be able to pay rent through an automatic debit, or will I have to pay it in cash? If I can pay it through automatic debit, will it have to be from my Japanese bank account, or will I be able to do it with another bank account or a credit card?
5. How much is the average cost of getting the utilities turned on, and how much is the average cost per month? I am including Internet service in this category.
6. Only tangentially related: will I be able to use my current cellphone in Japan (not my plan/carrier, but the phone itself with a Japanese carrier), or will I need to get a new phone?

I apologize if these questions were answered elsewhere, if they're stupid, or if this isn't the correct forum.

Thanks in advance to everyone who responded with answers and/or advice. It's much appreciated.

word
May 3rd, 2016, 13:09
1. Not really? NHK, I guess, and other utilities, maybe? Might be a few other things, but it'll be an ESID kinda thing. Nothing major, probably.

2. ESID. I rented my house from a guy who had never rented to anyone before, much less some filthy gaijin scum. He approved me by setting up lunch with me and MG, his sister, and a mutual J-friend of ours, then deciding if we were decent people (apparently we passed). With other situations, it'll vary wildly. If they know you're married, they'll probably ask for your husband's info, too. If they don't, they probably won't, and it probably won't be an issue.

3. Probably just a deposit. May depend on the type of pet in question.

4. Depends. I transfer money to my landlord monthly. It's not hard; I can do it from any ATM. A chain place like Leo or something would probably automatically debit your account. You'll have a Japanese bank account.

5. Depends. Standard stuff like electricity and gas will be cheap to turn on. Internet will vary wildly depending on where you are and what you want. I have fiber, the installation was free--but I had to contract for two years (no biggie; that was like 4 years ago).

6. Yes, but... This gets discussed every year, and people usually disagree. You can *probably* use your current cellphone in Japan, but it will be a bit of a pain. It would be much easier to get a phone here. But if you've got a major boner for your phone (some JET near me loves his Windows Phone that he brought over for some bizarre reason), you can probably get a sim card and get it working.

Beer Baron
May 3rd, 2016, 21:33
I will be applying to JET (and other programs) later this year, and have some questions regarding getting an apartment. I know that there's a possibility that I won't be accepted (I probably won't be), and I know that, if (by some miracle) I am, they will provide information about getting an apartment at that time. I'm one of those people, though, who prefer to have the information as soon as possible so that I can make plans (and backup plans, and backup-backup plans...). I know it sounds silly to most people, and I also know that it's difficult to plan for every eventuality, but I still feel better knowing that I at least have several options already planned out, just in case.

Welcome to the forum! Don't worry, I also like to know things as soon as possible to plan things out, so it's completely understandable.



So, I was wondering if anyone on this forum could or would answer any or all of the following questions regarding getting an apartment and paying rent:

1. Other than key money, a deposit, and the initial (or possibly several months') rent, is it common for there to be any other fees/charges?

This depends. I was renting an apartment from a company called LeoPalace. It's a chain of apartments which is quite common in Japan. They're usually small, but usually kept in really good condition. They also provide their own TV service and Internet service (mine was fibre to the home, really incredible speeds). Their TV and Broadband service is an additional charge. Be sure to get a native speaker to help you with signing up to these - as I do remember some really weird T&Cs and strange charges which I had to query at times. Just be careful is my advice (but seriously, their internet is awesome - tv is a bit crap though).

There is generally a "Cleaning charge" that is applied when you move out. It usually isn't very much, just be aware. Obviously, if anything is broken - price goes up. Be sure to take timestamped pictures as soon as you move in - pictures of absolutely *everything*.

In my case the "key money" was actually the deposit. This may just be because it was a chain - not a private landlord. Again, difficult to say in your possible case.

In my monthly outgoings, I had a single payment going to LeoPalace which included rent, tv, broadband. Then I had water, electricity, gas bills. I don't think there was anything else. I didn't pay an NHK bill (the TV license charge - this is contentious - see other threads on the site).

Tax, National Insurance, and rates were all dealt with before I got my pay in the bank.


2. How is approval determined (job, income, credit score, guarantor, etc)? If my husband comes with me, will he need to fill out an application / be on the application, and will they need the same information from him? If he will not be coming initially, but will be moving over later, does he need to be on the initial application?

As word said, ESID (every situation is different). A phrase you will hear a lot. In my case, the apartment was already set up and waiting for me by my school before I got there. They acted as guarantors. I just had to pay the bills! I was on my own, but I do suspect if you are going to be living with someone else they will want to add them to the contract. Possibly. It'll be a question for your school / education board when you get on the programme.


3. If I'm able to find a place that allows pets, will I have to pay a monthly pet rent as well as an additional deposit, or just an additional deposit? I know that every place can be different regarding this; what I am asking is if either is more common than the other.

Don't know, sorry.


4. Will I be able to pay rent through an automatic debit, or will I have to pay it in cash? If I can pay it through automatic debit, will it have to be from my Japanese bank account, or will I be able to do it with another bank account or a credit card?

Mine was automatic direct debit from my Japanese account - all bills were. I suspect this is the norm as that's where your pay gets deposited. Credit card may be dodgy as you can claim back from a credit card.


5. How much is the average cost of getting the utilities turned on, and how much is the average cost per month? I am including Internet service in this category.
I do remember the first bill being slightly higher for each utility - but not massively higher. Possibly due to it being a month and a bit rather than just a month.
As I said above, internet came with the apartment in my case.
I think my bills were around (this was back in 2004-2009)
Water: 3000/4000 yen.
Gas: 4000 yen
Electricity: 6000-10000 yen a month depending on how much I used the air con.


6. Only tangentially related: will I be able to use my current cellphone in Japan (not my plan/carrier, but the phone itself with a Japanese carrier), or will I need to get a new phone?
If your phone supports the Japanese frequencies, and is carrier unlocked, then yes you can use the same phone with a japanese sim. iPhones do work with the Japanese frequency.

Noonespecial
May 4th, 2016, 13:52
word and Beer Baron,

Thank you both so much for your answers. Both posts were very helpful and I really appreciate y'all taking the time to respond. :-)