Finding a new home, part 1

Today marks the start of week three in Japan, and we spent the afternoon with a very kind, professional and service-oriented apartment rental agent named Yuusuke Komori of the Universal Estate Real Estate Agency. We were really lucky today and saw a very spacious, beautiful, bright and sunny apartment that we fell in love with instantly. It has just undergone a complete gutting and renovation and we will be the first tenants to move in. It still smells brand new, it's just gorgeous, and is right in the heart of the area we want to live in! A find like this in Tokyo is very unique and rare and I still can hardly believe our stroke of luck. Now that we've decided on our new place, however, we have a LOT to do before we can have the keys.

The first step is passing the rigourous screening process. In Japan, prospective tenants must provide detailed information about their work, work history, income and family relationships. The Real Estate Agency will contact both of our parents (yes, mine too!) as well as my employer to confirm that we've provided factual information.

Provided the owner of the building agrees to let us rent the apartment (which is not guaranteed, especially since I am not Japanese. Yes-- discrimination is perfectly legal in Japan), the next step is for me, as the primary income-earner, to find someone to be my co-signor (連帯保証人 / Rentai hoshounin). Having a co-signor is not a matter of credit worthiness like in the U.S., it is a mandatory formality that is taken very seriously in Japan, and no one is exempt from it. The person who agrees to be my co-signor is essentially accepting the financial responsibility of settling with the apartment owner if we decide to abandon the apartment without paying rent, or if something should happen to us whereby we are unable to pay. In my case, it is preferable the my co-signor be an office colleague. If it happened to be the case that my wife was the primary income-earner, a steadily-employed member of her immediate family would be preferred as a co-signor.

Readers, if this sounds intense, stay tuned for more because this is only the beginning! More to come soon!

Pictured above: The paperwork specific to Finding a new home, part 1.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for your feedback Michael, and thanks for stopping by!