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-   -   Key Money? Are you kidding me? (https://www.expatforum.com/expats/japan-expat-forum-expats-living-japan/105805-key-money-you-kidding-me.html)

GaijinBuddhist 12th March 2012 03:30 PM

Key Money? Are you kidding me?
 
So my Japanese friends say that a rental requires 1 month deposit and 1 month rent, just like in the USA.

However, the rentals I am finding online require 2 months deposit, 1 month "key money" (non-refundable), 1 month referral fee (non-refundable) and 1 month rent.

5 months rent to move in??? Are you kidding me? Is this for real or is it just people trying to fleece corporations sending their employees here? What's the deal?

larabell 12th March 2012 03:52 PM

No kidding... But recently I've been seeing places listed that require only 1 month deposit and 1 month key money. In some cases, no key money at all but that's still kinda rare. And chances are you'll have to pay the referral fee because almost all rentals are handled by real estate agents. In today's economy I've seen ads on the trains for rentals handled by the owner (usually some development company) and they claim there's no referral -- probably because the place is overpriced and they're having a hard time finding renters.

But what you quoted is both traditional and typical. Ask your friends to introduce you to the agent(s) for the "1 month deposit, 1 month rent" places. They're out there but not so easy to find.

Rube 13th March 2012 12:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GaijinBuddhist (Post 736921)
What's the deal?

After the war there weren't a lot of houses so it made sense back then and it has just carried over is what a realtor told me recently. Used to be a minimum of 6 months and there are many places that only have 3 months now. Rental search engines include options to click that will display rental properties with no key money as well.

My experience however is that often the places that have no key money are filled with people who can't afford key money or have the proper references. A long time ago you could search for months to find a place that would accept a gaijin only to find out you were living in an apartment filled with hookers and yakuza.

And don't forget, in 2 years when your contract is up you'll have to pay an extra month's rent to extend your contract.

Quote:

Originally Posted by larabell (Post 736937)
I've seen ads on the trains for rentals handled by the owner (usually some development company) and they claim there's no referral -- probably because the place is overpriced and they're having a hard time finding renters.

A lot of those places will actually charge something they call a "membership fee" which ends up being one months rent anyway.

deebz 23rd March 2012 08:42 PM

Thankfully I didnt have to pay a deposit or key money as my work paid it for me, but yeah those prices sound about right. Most of my friends paid 3 months up front and very few got their deposits back as they took out cleaning costs from it.

larabell 24th March 2012 08:34 AM

That's something that still puzzles me. I'd always heard that deposits seldom come back and in the first couple of places I lived in (company paid) that turned out to be true. But the last couple places (self-paid) that I moved out of gave me most of my money back with some held back for the inevitable bits of damage here and there. But, even then, the figure was pro-rated based on how long I'd been living there. So either things are slowly changing or I just got lucky with those two places.

GaijinBuddhist 24th March 2012 09:34 AM

It is changing - many places now have "no key money" promotions. Some places are even offering 1 month free. Now there are a lot of vacancies, so they are being more agressive. Seems like a poor rental system to me overall - overpriced and need to pay several months in advance. Not very user-friendly.

Rube 24th March 2012 11:38 AM

They are starting to give back more of the deposite than before. I once had a friend end up renting the same place I had lived in and when I visited they hadn't done anything even though I was charged for new wall paper and so on. That was a fun phone call to get my money back.

nevaeh 14th April 2012 08:01 PM

As mentioned above, the "key money" is really getting to be a thing of the past.

It depends on the property. Personally I've never paid it and I would only do so for a place I truly loved, and even then only if I had no choice... I moved to a high rise last year and there was no key money, and no agency fee (or maybe 0.5?) Having said that, I searched for over 3 months and had a few "specs" that I wanted to be met: size, age, safety, floor, rent, distance to the station, must be Yamanote or inside, supermarkets, big windows, "gaijin" friendly... So yeah, I'm surprised it only took 3 months.

I tried to bargain (oh yes I did!) and they were really adamant about the rent being the publicized amount, not even 3% down, but they did offer 3 months half rent (50% off, and they'd give us 6 months half rent if we chose a 2LDK), which made no sense to me because it would "cost" them less to just lower the rent 3 or 4%. Anyway, many companies do offer "free rent" or "half rent" so always try to haggle! It's a myth that Japanese don't negotiate on prices/benefits. It's a bit like Yodobashi Camera, they won't lower the price, but they'll give you more points if you push them.

Either way, it did end up being a couple of months up front because of the deposit, the guarantor fee (as non Japanese without Japanese family we use companies to act as guarantors), the insurance and whatnots. I was happy to hear from another expat in the building that he renewed his 2 year contract without the renewal fee!!! Hope that sticks around for a while.

Regarding the deposit, my last place was a bit of a disappointment. I spent the whole weekend moving and then went back to clean EVERYTHING, leaving it spotlessly clean and the floor super shiny, no dust, no nothing... Only to find out that almost half of the deposit was always retained for cleaning and "buffing" the floor and such, there was NO damage whatsoever, not even a scratch. Should have saved the elbow grease.

larabell 15th April 2012 09:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nevaeh (Post 762508)
... but they did offer 3 months half rent (50% off, and they'd give us 6 months half rent if we chose a 2LDK), which made no sense to me because it would "cost" them less to just lower the rent 3 or 4%.

Assuming you move out at the end of the contract. Most people don't because it's a hassle to move and because you end up with another huge up-front payment. The half-rent is for a limited time -- a discounted monthly rent is likely to last for however long you're in the place so, in the long run, lowering the rent could cost them a lot more than six months half rent.

Also, if the places listed as "no key money" have monthly rents that are jacked up by a couple percent to compensate, it ends up costing you more than if you just ponied up the key money. And many places that ask for key money also ask for another month's rent just to renew the contract so that's worth asking about when you do the math.

Quote:

It's a bit like Yodobashi Camera, they won't lower the price, but they'll give you more points if you push them.
You're right that it pays to haggle but usually only on high-ticket items. Even at Yodobashi. When I moved into my current place, I had to buy three air conditioner units and I walked back and forth between Bic Camera and Labi with a notebook in my hands being very obvious about writing down prices. A Panasonic rep spotted me and asked what I was doing. He said: "Let me make a few phone calls... I can beat that price" and he did. So for large items, even the big discount shops will haggle but sometimes you gotta go there when the manufacturer's rep is there trying to push his wares. Also, any time they've scratched out the price and not replaced it with another, that's a sign they're willing to haggle because they likely have a bunch of something they want to move quickly.

Rube 17th April 2012 12:32 AM

Another way is to tell them you don't need any points.


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