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Costs and Fees to Move Into an Apartment in Sapporo

As part of our series on renting an apartment in Sapporo, here is a breakdown on the various fees and move-in costs associated with signing a contract to rent a Sapporo apartment.

In this post we’ll discuss:

— Move-In Costs Include Both the Rent and Some Fees
— Average Cost to Rent An Apartment in Sapporo
— Specific Fees and Move-in Costs for an Apartment in Sapporo
— Cost to Rent an Apartment in Sapporo: An Example
— Key Money for Sapporo Apartments
— Some Possible Additional Fees and Charges

Move-In Costs Include Both the Rent and Some Fees

The average total cost to move into a Sapporo apartment is roughly three to six months rent. In the specific example in this post (see below), it is approximately five months rent.

The basic cost to move into an apartment is a combination of the monthly rent and the move-in costs/fees that are required as a part of the contract process. Average rent for an apartment in Sapporo depends on the apartment. And the fees are a mix of flat fees, and fees that are based off the rent. Taken together, those costs represent the total cost to sign a lease for an apartment in Sapporo.

We will look at each of the costs and fees separately, and give a specific example of total move-in costs for review.

Average Cost to Rent An Apartment in Sapporo

The average rent in Sapporo depends upon many factors, such as the age of the building, the location, the size of the apartment, and it’s features.

Our research into apartment prices in Sapporo shows the average rent is approximately ¥52,000 per month. Smaller studio apartments (1DK) may be closer to ¥38,000. A good budget for a two bedroom apartment (2LDK) might be ¥63,000 per month, or closer to ¥100,000 for a very nice apartment in a good neighborhood or close to a desirable station.

For more details on locations and prices for apartments in Sapporo, we have detailed descriptions of all the major Sapporo wards (neighborhoods), including Chuo-ku apartment prices, Kita-ku apartment prices, Higashi-ku apartments, and more.

Establishing a rental price for Sapporo that is acceptable to you can be a smart first step in this process. That will help as you start talking to agents. Once you have an approximate budget for your monthly rent, it will be easier to estimate the other fees and move in costs.

For specific apartments that meet your needs, we can introduce you to a real estate agent that can help. Contact us any time to learn more.

Specific Fees and Move-in Costs for an Apartment in Sapporo

In addition to the rent, typical fees required to sign a contract for a rental in Sapporo include:

— The deposit (敷金, paid to the owner, some/all of that fee potentially returned when you move out of the apartment)
— A fee for the real estate agent (仲介手数料)
— The key money (礼金, which is paid to the owner, it is not returned when you move out)
— A fee for the guarantee company* (保証会社, paid to a separate company, typically ~30%-75% of one month’s rent for the first year, then ¥10,000/yr ongoing)
— Renter’s insurance (火災保険, a flat fee for a 2 year contract is about ¥15,000 – ¥20,000, renewed when the contract expires)

These are fees that are paid as you sign a lease.

If you stay in the apartment, there can also be a renewal fee paid to the agent when the lease is extended (typically at the end of the 2nd year).

In Hokkaido, there is often no key money or renewal fee. However, those fees can be required for new construction, detached houses, condominiums for sale, and other situations.

* Hokkaido apartment leases often utilize a guarantor company, making it easier for foreigners to rent than cities that require a co-signer.

Cost to Rent an Apartment in Sapporo: An Example

To help show how all these costs and fees apply in real life, here is an example of the cost to move into an average-priced apartment in Sapporo:

The Apartment: (hypothetical example)

— A desirable 1LDK in central Chou-ku
— 5 min walk from a major train station

The Rent:

— ¥70,000/month

Contract/Move-in Fees:

— Deposit ¥70,000 (one month’s rent)
— Fee for the real estate agent ¥70,000
— The key money ¥70,000 (not always required)
— Guarantee company fee ¥35,000 (for the first year)
— Renter’s insurance ¥15,000 (for the first year)
— TOTAL for FEES: ¥260,000

Total Move-in Cost:

— First month’s rent ¥70,000
— Total fees ¥260,000
— TOTAL COST ¥330,000

Based on the monthly rent of ¥70,000, the total move-in cost of ¥330,000 in our example is approximately five months rent.

Some of those costs are ongoing (like the monthly rent, the annual costs for the guarantor company and the renter’s insurance). There could be additional fees for renewing the lease (not considered in this example, as this is the initial contract). And fees like the deposit may be returned (in whole or in part) when you move out.

Key Money for Sapporo Apartments

Key money for apartments in Sapporo is a feature that can feel a little unusual for renters coming from outside of Japan. There is not always a specified purpose for that money. It’s not a deposit (that money is not returned to you when move out). It isn’t a commission for the agents involved. It is traditionally paid as a “thank you” to the owner.

Specifically in Sapporo, there can often be a key money requirement when renting a brand new apartment, a detached house in Sapporo, or a condominium (where the owner owns one rental unit in a larger building), or when you want a lease that allows pets. In Hokkaido (unlike the rest of Japan), key money is less common when renting regular apartments.

In the case of an apartment that allows pets in Sapporo, the key money is not a security deposit (or a “pet deposit”), but can function as additional compensation to the landlord for allowing you to keep an animal in the unit.

There are many apartments for rent in Sapporo that do not require key money. If you are flexible about where you live, and don’t need a particular apartment, you may be able choose apartments that don’t require key money at all.

Some Possible Additional Fees and Charges

In some cases there may be additional charges related to renting.

There may be a cleaning fee in the contract when you sign a lease. It may be required to be paid when you move in, or it may be paid when you move out.

For renters that don’t speak Japanese, some property owners may require you to communicate thought a “24-hour life support” service, which provides support over the phone in foreign languages. Cost for that service may be your responsibility. If you speak Japanese, you can ask to have that cost taken off the lease. In many cases, that service allows the owner to feel more confident and can create more willingness to allow non-Japanese to rent apartments in Sapporo.

There may be a condition in the lease that you’ll pay a fee to have the apartment “re-keyed” (having the lock for the front door serviced for the new renters) after you move out of the unit. A key exchange fee may be charged for that labor.

Unfurnished Apartments in Sapporo

Most long-term apartments in Sapporo are unfurnished. They are often completely empty, with no refrigerator or washing machine (although a stove is often included, as they are typically built into the kitchen). When you consider the cost of moving into an apartment in Sapporo, you might also consider the cost of basic appliances.

If these additional costs are something you want to avoid, or if you don’t want to buy furniture and other household items, there are short-term furnished apartments that include most of the basics you need for everyday life. And those contracts, while more expensive than long-term rentals, avoid some of the move-in costs such as key money.

If a Sapporo apartment with furniture would work better for you, contact us and we can introduce you apartment brokers in Sapporo.

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For More Information:

Local Sapporo Real Estate Agents
How to Rent an Apartment in Sapporo
— Our List of Sapporo Neighborhoods (Sapporo Wards)
International Schools in Sapporo
Apartments for Rent in Niseko
Average Price of an Apartment in Otaru
— Find Lawyers in Hokkaido
Tax Offices in Sapporo

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