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Column / 2020.08.18

According to YOLO JAPAN's survey, 1 in 2 foreigners living in Japan were refused because they were "foreigners."

Problems with security deposits, key money and contracts written in Japanese. Additionally, long  time required to receive government support

In July of this year, as part of comprehensive measures taken by the ministry of justice to accept and to coexist with foreign workers, specific measures were being considered to help facilitate foreign residents move into their new homes.  At the same time, YOLO JAPAN Co., Ltd. (representative director: Taisuke Kaji, Osaka Headquarters: Naniwa Ward, Osaka City, hereafter referred to as “YOLO JAPAN”), which manages one of the largest media in Japan with a membership of more than 160,000 foreign residents from 226 countries, conducted a survey* targeted towards foreigners living in Japan on renting real estate.

According to the same survey, 43% of foreign respondents said that the reason they had been refused a contract was because they were foreigners, thus indicating the challenges for foreigners to find a place to live.

※Survey period: March 9, 2020 - April 9, 2020,  Respondents: 695 YOLO JAPAN members from 84 countries

75% (520 people) answered that they have "searched for a home themselves," and more than half use their own skills such as using the Internet (60%, 313 people) and real estate companies (46%, 241 people). The current situation in Japan is that there isn't much support from schools or companies for securing housing. The most popular property information websites are SUUMO, HOME'S, and UR, which disclose rental information to foreigners.

Among the many foreigners who have needed to find their own housing, 43% (225 people) of the respondents who have looked for rental property said that they were refused a contract because they are a foreigner, the following are their comments:

"There were some properties that I really liked when we went to see them, but the landlord refused to rent to me because I was a foreigner." (India, 20s, female)

"I went to see a number of properties, but when I got home, they called me and told me they didn't offer servies to foreigners." (Algeria, 20s, male)

"I found a cheap, clean place that was accepting foreigners, so I called the landlord. But when I asked him on the phone, I was told it would be impossible if my parents weren't in Japan. Almost all foreigners living in Japan are living by themselves, and they wouldn't even be looking for rental apartments if their families were here." (South Korea, 20s, female)

Furthermore, 80% (366 people) of foreigners who searched for their own property said that finding a property was difficult, and their reasons were the high cost of moving due to security deposit, key money, key exchange fee, etc. (47%, 243 people), complicated procedures in contracts written in difficult Japanese (44%, 231 people), and language inconvenience for foreigners who cannot speak Japanese (37%, 194 people). This highlights the importance of explaining the costs and procedures involved in moving within Japan.

Also, additional points to look for when renting are that it's not expensive, it's near the station, and it's convenient, 1 in 4 people (25%) said that an important point was, "Cannot turn me down because I'm a foreigner."

The government has created and published guidelines and guidebooks for foreigners and intermediaries that accept foreign residents in multiple languages, but because the explanations are not thorough enough, it seems that the current situation of foreigners that have to deal with things like being turned down for being a foreigner and contracts that are only in Japanese will continue.

Based on the results of a survey on rents for foreign residents last year and this year, YOLO JAPAN launched a multilingual real estate information site, "YOLO HOME,"  which started service on August 12, 2020 for foreigners looking for properties in Japan. By supporting the rich lives of foreigners living in Japan, YOLO JAPAN will continue to make efforts to solve labor problems within Japanese society and contribute to a sustainable society.