When it comes to renting a flat most people find that working through a real estate agent is the easiest option and the one that offers the most choice. If you end up taking a flat they’ve found for you, you will have to pay them a fee equal to about one month’s rent.
Until you actually sign for a place there’s no charge for using an agency however. Be aware of the substantial move-in fees that a new flat in Tokyo will normally incur, such as your first month’s rent, a two to three-month deposit (make sure you get a written receipt for this), key money (non-refundable and can sometimes be as much as two-months’ rent!). If you do decide to go through an agency take your time to look at lots of places since the first ones they show you may be the properties they’re anxious to rent but may not be the best for you.
Try to hold out until you find something that’s really suitable. Since move-in expenses are high don’t rush into signing anything until you’re really satisfied. Japanese apartments tend to be small so have a good look at storage space and the bathroom.
If you get a Japanese person to help you deal with the landlord and/or agency it will be a big help. The following links are for agencies where English is spoken:
Looking for cheap accommodation in Tokyo isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.
The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.
Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking mid-long term accommodation with thousands of verified properties.