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Wasabista (Offline)
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07-09-2008, 03:12 AM

Thanks for your replies. Just to clarify, I didn't mean to imply that kanrikin (Bribe #1), Shikikin (Bribe #2) and Reikin (Bribe #3) were only for foreigners. I'm aware that Japanese have to pay them too. But one of these is touted as a deposit, and I've never received that deposit back. (I even left some money with the fudosan when I left one apartment, to take care of future bills. The utilities people all showed up the day I signed out, and the fudosan demanded I pay the bills, even though I'd left the money with her!)

On the surface of it the "short period of stay" issue makes sense, but look at who else wants to rent. Students are probably the biggest bloc of renters, and they may stay for no more than a year in most cases. And they can be just as noisy as AETs!

Also, foreigners are no more or less a risk than students, if they are working legally. When I got my apartment, my employer served as my guarantor. For students, the parents routinely serve as guarantor -- and everyone needs a guarantor to rent.

Here's something that should make foreigners more attractive as tenants, though: Foreigners are often unaware of the strong rights they hold as tenants in Japan. I paid my rent on time every month, not just because it's the right way to do business but also because I feared being turfed out. I didn't realize that evicting a tenant in Japan can take up to a year and ¥10 million in legal fees.

Still, there's a fundamental point here: In other advanced countries, it is simply not acceptable to refuse a person an apartment because she is a foreigner. I'm aware that there's discrimination in the States too, but could you imagine a rental agent in America saying, "Sorry, we don't rent to black people/immigrants/women"? It should be possible to turn right around, march to the koban and report a crime when this sort of thing happens. But it isn't, because such discrimination is still perfectly legal in Japan.
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07-09-2008, 03:30 AM

Actually, a lot of students live at home or in the dorms.
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07-09-2008, 08:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasabista View Post
But one of these is touted as a deposit, and I've never received that deposit back.
You can press for this one - we`ve gotten all but one of ours back. The one we didn`t get back we didn`t even attempt to get - our refrigerator broke and leaked something foul and oily into the floor. A bit beyond "normal wear and tear".
One of them we were actually surprised to get back in whole because we shirked out of actually cleaning the place well when we left. No garbage left behind, but hey - we were moving into a *house* and didn`t feel like spending days scrubbing dust out of corners, hiding scuffs on the floors, etc.

I think it depends on how determined you are. They certainly don`t want to *volunteer* to give you money.

Quote:
(I even left some money with the fudosan when I left one apartment, to take care of future bills. The utilities people all showed up the day I signed out, and the fudosan demanded I pay the bills, even though I'd left the money with her!)
That`s just wrong... Then again, I had almost an identical thing happen to me in the US. As I was leaving in the middle of the month, I paid the landlord for the bills and considerable extra for any other costs... And what do you know, he cancels the utilities 2 days before I leave and sends them to collect from me.

Quote:
On the surface of it the "short period of stay" issue makes sense, but look at who else wants to rent. Students are probably the biggest bloc of renters, and they may stay for no more than a year in most cases. And they can be just as noisy as AETs!
Actually, until pretty recently, you had to leap through a TON of hoops to even get into "student friendly" apartments, let alone rent a normal room somewhere away from a campus. My husband had to look at 6 apartments before he found one that was willing to accept a student, and he had a rich dad willing to pay in cash right there in tow. Even the 2 that were listing their rooms in the university paper insisted on quite a lot of paperwork and various guarantees from his father. They wouldn`t even let my husband pay for himself - the rent had to come from dad`s account.
My husband was downright *shocked* after we got married - anywhere and everywhere was literally inviting us to rent their place.

Of course, this was a few years ago - now university is a huge "living alone" rite of passage. But things weren`t all that much easier for native students.

Quote:
Also, foreigners are no more or less a risk than students, if they are working legally. When I got my apartment, my employer served as my guarantor. For students, the parents routinely serve as guarantor -- and everyone needs a guarantor to rent.
You only need a guarantor to rent if you are a student or considered not to have job stability - which is the case with English teachers, as the turn-over is so high. The risk *is* higher, because there is a limit to what employer guarantors will cover. It`s usually more of a loss to sue, so landlords give up far far more often than they pursue a case. In order to sue, they`d have to preserve the state of the apartment until the case ends... So not only do they have to foot the bill for the cleanup/repair, they lose income in the meantime. (Sometimes a year or more.) Gifts and appeals to sympathy work most of the time with parents, who are ashamed their kid did such a thing... But they don`t work with English chains who are used to blowing them off.

Quote:
Here's something that should make foreigners more attractive as tenants, though: Foreigners are often unaware of the strong rights they hold as tenants in Japan. I paid my rent on time every month, not just because it's the right way to do business but also because I feared being turfed out. I didn't realize that evicting a tenant in Japan can take up to a year and ¥10 million in legal fees.
While I *do* agree with you on the unaware of the rights bit, eviction isn`t quite the best example. Usually, you cannot evict a tenant unless they have done something significantly illegal, or haven`t paid their rent for more than 3 months. That isn`t a matter of rights - if that is indeed the case, you are definitely in the wrong.

Quote:
Still, there's a fundamental point here: In other advanced countries, it is simply not acceptable to refuse a person an apartment because she is a foreigner. I'm aware that there's discrimination in the States too, but could you imagine a rental agent in America saying, "Sorry, we don't rent to black people/immigrants/women"? It should be possible to turn right around, march to the koban and report a crime when this sort of thing happens. But it isn't, because such discrimination is still perfectly legal in Japan.
Don`t get me wrong - just because it`s based in reality and real cases doesn`t make it right... And it isn`t at all fair to anyone who is a serious renter and honest person. Things are getting better, I believe, as I`ve never encountered discrimination of that sort.

I think the best way is to change people`s opinions - not to run around just simply complaining or searching for a way to punish the landlord via the legal system. Be a good tenant, make a good impression on people, show them whatever stereotypes they may have aren`t always true. Being pushy doesn`t help.
Eventually, hopefully, the weight of the good cases will outweigh the weight of the foreigners who see Japan as a big playground, with countless opportunities to screw people over without consequences.


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