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Non-company housing

 
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kah5217



Joined: 29 Sep 2012
Posts: 256
Location: Ibaraki

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:54 am    Post subject: Non-company housing Reply with quote

How common is it for companies to let you find your own apartment? I'm willing to work with a real estate agent to find somewhere for me and my kitty, but I don't want to pay for mandated company housing as well as my own rent.

All I've managed to uncover so far is that AEON makes you pay and IES doesn't. ECC's site was not very clear.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not heard of many companies that force you to live in their housing. A few offer it as a perk, a few more offer to give you assistance finding somewhere. It's more common for companies that are willing to offer you a contract while you're overseas I think.

As long as you're not living miles away from where you work, I doubt many will be unhappy with you doing it all yourself. It's less paperwork for them. The majority don't offer anything.
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ZennoSaji



Joined: 02 Feb 2010
Posts: 68
Location: Mito, Ibaraki

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interac for sure lets you find your own place if you don't like the one they pick for you. ECC won't force you to pay for the one they find, either. As an overseas candidate this was one of the big factors for me regarding which company(ies) to apply to. :3 That seemed to be specifically an AEON thing as far as I looked.
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kah5217



Joined: 29 Sep 2012
Posts: 256
Location: Ibaraki

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do ECC and Interac have places already set up, like a Leopalace apartment, or do they set you up with an agent?
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kah5217 wrote:
Do ECC and Interac have places already set up, like a Leopalace apartment, or do they set you up with an agent?


I think Interac tends to use LeoPalace where possible. If you work in a prefecture that's been using Interac the year previously, you're likely to be living in the LeoPalace apartment just vacated by the last teacher.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been my experience that most employers have places arranged, but they are also willing to help you look for one. Bear in mind two very important points.

1. Pets are usually not accepted, so you will find it harder to get a place if you insist on bringing one. Plus, it will cost more.

2. Getting a place of your own usually means you are the one responsible for security deposit and key money. If the employer has housing already, you will usually not have that obligation because the housing deposits have been paid. Also, employers set up housing in low rent areas or at least areas that call for a lower tax. You may not find that on your own.
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Rob1209



Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depending on whether you intend to secure a job before arriving in Japan, or come here and look for one, it could be that outcomes differ.

For example, the company I work for (one of the largest eikawa companies in Japan that hire outside Japan), provide single occupancy apartments (no pets) for all its' native teachers. This was no use to me, as I was moving to Japan with my girlfriend, and we wanted to live together.

My employer was fine with that, but I had to wait for a vacancy where the outgoing teacher was not in company housing, which is probably only around 15% of the total native teachers. Thankfully I didn't have to wait long, but the trade off was a much smaller selection of areas to work in, leading to a less-than-glamourous location compared to many of my colleagues (not that I'm complaining, I love my small city). I can't imagine many employers would allow someone to chose their own apartment if they've already paid for and secured a perfectly fine apartment for their staff, leaving them out of pocket. That's not good business, although if other peoples experience differs then great!

On the flipside, searching and securing our own apartment meant we were able to get a better place for less money than the company would probably have charged. There are teachers near me in 20sq/m Leopalaces paying more than I do for a 50sq/m 2LDK.

Also, we were able to get a really good location right in the centre of town and close to the train station, which I may not have got with company housing.

In no way was it easy to secure an apartment on our own though. For a start, you'll need way more money than those taking company apartments (usually). As Glenski said, key money etc are considerable amounts. You may well be able to avoid key money altogether, as we did, but 2 months deposit, plus the first months rent, and agent fees/insurance means you should allow around 4-5 times the monthly rent just to move in. So for a 50,000Y per month apartment, you'll be laying down 220,000-250,000Y just to get the keys. Again, we were able to negotiate one months free rent, meaning we moved in for around 170,000Y.

The problems you face are:

Pets - this will drastically reduce your options and increase the cost, but it should be possible to find somewhere in most locations.

You're foreign. We found that around 50% of the apartments we had identified as possibilities were out because the landlords didn't want to rent to foreigners, even though my girlfriend is a Japanese passport holder. Frustrating, but nothing we could do about it.

Language. I had no Japanese at my disposal, so going it alone would've been virtually impossible. Thankfully my girlfriend speaks excellent Japanese, but even she struggled with much of the estate agent jargon and endless bureaucracy involved with the process. I don't know what your level is, and don't be put off, but maybe prepare yourself specifically for speaking with agents.

You'll need a guarantor. In company apartments your company will act as a guarantor. If you arrange your own housing, there's a very high chance they won't. So unless you have a Japanese person who would be willing to act as a guarantor, you'd need to pay for this through a guarantor company. Not something I have experience of so I can't comment on this.

So, yeah, expect a difficult, frustrating and expensive process with limited options. Having said that, if I were to do it all again, I would go for my own apartment every time. Even with the higher start up costs and furniture etc factored in, you may end up paying about the same amount for a much better apartment over the course of a year. Whether or not your company will allow you to is probably something best brought up at interview. Apply anyway, then weed out the ones that don't fit what you're looking for if you're lucky enough to get to interview.

Good luck, it definitely can be done and from my experience it's well worth it.
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Rob1209



Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may also find the website www.athome.co.jp useful. Search for apartments and then contact the agents with your specific needs to get the ball rolling.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob1209 wrote:
You're foreign. We found that around 50% of the apartments we had identified as possibilities were out because the landlords didn't want to rent to foreigners, even though my girlfriend is a Japanese passport holder. Frustrating, but nothing we could do about it.
Sad but true discrimination exists. We smell bad, or our cooking does, we don't know how to take out garbage, we are loud, etc.

Quote:
You'll need a guarantor. In company apartments your company will act as a guarantor. If you arrange your own housing, there's a very high chance they won't.
You may not always need a guarantor, and I don't know about that "high chance".
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
Rob1209 wrote:
You're foreign. We found that around 50% of the apartments we had identified as possibilities were out because the landlords didn't want to rent to foreigners, even though my girlfriend is a Japanese passport holder. Frustrating, but nothing we could do about it.
Sad but true discrimination exists. We smell bad, or our cooking does, we don't know how to take out garbage, we are loud, etc.

Quote:
You'll need a guarantor. In company apartments your company will act as a guarantor. If you arrange your own housing, there's a very high chance they won't.
You may not always need a guarantor, and I don't know about that "high chance".


You can use a company as your guarantor, typical fee seems to be around 15,000 Yen. The agent should be able to set this all up, you just sign the form.
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