There is a government affiliated company out there in this country we call home that rents apartments regardless of nationality, requires no key money, no guarantor and no renewal fee. In addition to this, this company maintains their building to impeccable standards regardless of age and in order to break the contract you only need 14 days notice. Breaking the contract prior to 2 years involves no penalties and in between tenants apartments are fixed in the fairest way possible.
This company is called UR housing and they have locations nationwide. In Tokyo’s 23 main wards alone, UR operates over 100 buildings and is expanding rapidly. The buildings consist of new buildings like the Atlas Tower finished 2009 in Naka Meguro where UR bought the 1st to the 14th floors and middle aged buildings like Ebisu View Tower located beside the Westin Hotel and behind Ebisu Garden Place. In Ebisu’s case, UR operates the entire building consisting of 32 floors of apartments ranging from 1K’s to 3LDK’s.
Despite the lack of extra expenses like key money and no agency fee, the rents in UR buildings are par with the market place and in some high demand locations, rents can be up to 20% lower than market rates.
You may ask the question if there is no agency fee then why would a real estate agent promoting these kinds of properties. The answer is simple; if you contract for a UR apartment through a UR licensed agency, UR pays the agent a 1 month fee for introducing you.
This makes UR properties the most win-win rental situation out there for budgets between ¥100,000 – ¥350,000 a month. Agents win by offering clients the best deal out there and clients win by having the option of obtaining a well maintained apartment without the massive upfront costs.
You might think that these properties are in inconvenient locations but not at all. In addition to the above mentioned Naka-Meguro and Ebisu locations, UR operates buildings in Aoyama Itchome, Shibuya, Tamachi, Shibaura and other well sought after locations in central, southwest Tokyo.
As mentioned before, not all real estate agents can introduce these properties and even fewer can facilitate an English speaking client. UR strictly screens agents wishing to introduce their properties and if the agent passes the scrutiny of the government, then that agent is able to introduce UR properties.
In order to contract with a UR apartment, the entire process is done in Japanese and if you can’t speak Japanese you will need to enlist the help of an UR licensed, English speaking agent. There are several available on RealEstate.co.jp (our partner site) and some more below on GP Apartments.
In order to reserve a viewing, you will need to submit to your agent copies of your Alien Registration Card (both sides). This allows the agent you are working with to then turn around and reserve your viewing as your representative. Remember, UR is government affiliated and they are pretty strict on their policies. That said they are the fairest deal out there in terms of rentals for foreign residents.
UR Housing on GaijinPot