Moving Apartments


I'm moving to a different apartment later this month.

所在地LocationMidori-cho, Musashino
階 / 階建Floor2F (of 3F building)
駐輪場Bicycle ParkingCovered bicycle parking
賃料Rent¥85,000 (¥82,000 家賃 + ¥3,000 管理費)
礼金Key Money¥0
敷金Security Deposit¥164,000 (2ヶ月)
仲介手数料Realtor Fee¥44,280
家財総合保険Renter's Insurance¥20,000 (2年間)
家賃保証会社Guarantor Company¥40,000 (1年目) + ¥10,000 (2年目から)
鍵交換Lock-changing Fee¥21,600
築年月Build DateJanuary 1986

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Search Criteria

Between Musashino University and Kichijoji. Somewhere quiet, not on a main street. I've been living in Nishitokyo, and the location is convenient for work and going to the park, but it's too far from my dance school and night life.
35m2 or larger. I want space for my bed, desk, and sofa. When friends visit Tokyo, I want to have enough room for them to stay over.
Generally speaking, there are three types of apartment building materials in Japan: concrete (RC / 鉄筋コンクリート), steel frame (鉄骨), and wooden (木造). Of the three, concrete buildings are the quietest, and wooden buildings are the noisiest. I only looked at concrete and steel frame buildings.
On average, higher floors are more expensive. First-floor apartments can have humidity issues, depending on the building and location. I looked at one, and it smelled somewhat humid. You can buy a dehumidifier to deal with that, but it's an extra expense.
I've been living in a place with tatami flooring in the living room and bedroom. I'd prefer a place with no tatami, but if it were only tatami in the bedroom, that's acceptable.
Many apartments don't have covered bicycle parking, which is unacceptable to me. Unfortunately, the new place doesn't have motorcycle parking. I will probably sell my motorcycle. That's kind of sad. On the other hand, there's a rental place close by. I love riding my motorcycle, but I typically ride it about once a month, so the overall cost is comparable. Also, it opens up other riding setups, like taking a train to another city and renting a motorcycle there.
I searched for places ¥85,000 and cheaper. It is possible to find cheaper places by relaxing any of the above conditions. My old place cost ¥66,000. I like to save money, so moving to a more expensive place is a minus, but the quietness and the location are important enough to go for it. Right now, if I have a tiring day at work, I often go home and relax on the sofa. I'd like to dance and hang out with friends more, and moving closer to Kichijoji and Mitaka will help with that.

Old to New Comparison

Floor3F (of 3F)2F (of 3F)
Bicycle ParkingCoveredCovered
Motorcycle ParkingCoveredNone
Key Money¥66,000¥0
Security Deposit¥66,000¥164,000
Build Date19781986

Moving Out Activities

There's always a lot to do when you move. Finding a place can take a while, but the amount of information available online helps a lot — I searched online, the real estate agent did too, and then we went around to the places that looked good. You can look at color pictures and floor plans before you go, so you don't waste too much time. My real estate agent was good about communicating by email. I don't answer my cell phone at work, and even if I could, email is easier to use. Overall, apartment hunting was smooth sailing.

There are various ways the property owners nickel and dime you. The realtor takes a one month finder's fee. Many places make you pay for new locks when you move in. You pay a damage deposit, but you won't get it all back. In my old and new contract, I agreed to pay for a professional cleaning company when I move out, and for part of the cost of replacing the tatami. There's a base rental price, but some places — like my new place — have an extra "management fee". Most landlords require renter's insurance, which costs me around ¥18,000 for two years. When you want to renew your lease after two years, you have to pay an extra month's rent. You need a guarantor, and if you can't find one, or the one you find somehow isn't good enough, you have to pay a private company to act as one. That would have cost me around ¥40,000 up front, plus around ¥10,000 per year. Owning a car in Tokyo is not recommended, but if you have one, you have to pay for parking, which might run you ¥20,000 per month. When you're calculating the cost of a place, take a look at the detailed paperwork to see how much these extra fees will cost you.

Depending on your landlord, it's possible to avoid many of the extra fees. Many companies don't charge key money. Some companies don't charge you for new locks. There's a wonderful company called UR that owns many large apartment complexes in the Tokyo area. I didn't go with them this time because I wanted a specific location, but perhaps in the future. UR's apartments are slightly expensive, but they don't charge key money, a realtor's fee, or a renewal fee, and most importantly, they don't require a guarantor. Guarantors are particularly dicey for non-Japanese residents, because typically one would ask their mom or dad to be a guarantor, but we can't. So, we end up asking our bosses, and that's a risk because if you get fired or let go right when your apartment renewal comes up, that could cost you a chunk of time and money right when you're transitioning jobs and don't have either to spare. Last month, my boss agreed to be my guarantor, but just two days before the move-in date, he changed his mind, and instead I'm using a guarantor company, which is still within my budget, but it's an extra expense and it happened right when I was busy preparing for the move. My boss isn't being a jerk — I think he just thought things through carefully and realized that as he gets closer to retiring, he will no longer be able to be my guarantor, and he couldn't even if he wanted to, so declining now is the sensible choice — but still the timing is unfortunate. I don't like the guarantor system, and if you're careful and lucky, perhaps you can find a place that doesn't use it.

I've been cleaning and packing and boxing things up. My new place is larger than my old place, so I don't have to get rid of tons, but I've managed to throw out a lot. If you haven't used it in a year, you probably don't need it. There are a few exceptions. I didn't use my ice skates last year, but I'm keeping them. My photos, books, music, and almost all of my paperwork are digital, which helps keep the clutter down. When I moved to Tokyo, everything fit into my X-Trail. Now I own too much furniture, but other than the furniture, it probably still would. That's nice.

Most of the utilities are set up well for people moving, and it's easy to turn them on, off, and switch apartments. I transferred gas and electric online, and water took a twenty minute phone call. Internet took a long time because NTT is a horrible company. I called to move or cancel the internet, but it had to be done before 5PM, and couldn't be done online. So I called back at work the next day, and they asked all sorts of identity confirmation questions, such as "How do you pay for internet?" Well, either I pay with credit card or by automatic bank transfer, but I couldn't remember because either way it's automatic, and the important thing is that I wanted to stop paying. The person on the phone said if I couldn't confirm the payment method, I couldn't cancel, so I told her that was horrible. I called back the next day with my papers in hand, and finally got the thing stopped. That person didn't even ask me the same questions. Something similar happened years ago when I canceled my NTT Docomo plan, so I guess NTT simply doesn't value customer service. And they charge a lot.

After the nonsense with NTT, I was discouraged about internet and planned on tethering my phone for a while, but on the day I moved in, a guy from JCom, another TV & internet provider, came to my apartment for some landlord the owner had scheduled. I asked him about internet, he explained their plan, and got me signed up. He said, "My coworker will be here in an hour with your wireless router, and he'll get you hooked up right quick." And his coworker came and configured the wireless router, and everything works now. To recap, during a typhoon, I signed up for and started using high speed internet in my apartment, and the whole thing took less than two hours on a Sunday afternoon.

There was a lot of other paperwork and offices to visit. It's easy enough, but it takes time. Nice to have a new place.