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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.

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

In this post we’ll review:

— Average Cost to Rent An Apartment in Sapporo
— 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 additional fees and charges

The average total cost to move into a Sapporo apartment is roughly three to six month’s rent. We will look at each of the costs and fees separately. And then 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 (~$400 USD). 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.

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.

When you first establish a rental price for Sapporo that is acceptable to you, it’s easier to estimate the other fees and move in costs.

Fees and Move-in Costs for an Apartment in Sapporo

The fees required to sign a contract for a rental in Sapporo include:

— Deposit (敷金, paid to the owner, some/all of that fee potentially returned when you move out if apartment)
— 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 renewal fee* (更新料, paid to the agent)
— Guarantee company fee** (保証会社, paid to a separate company, ~30%-75% of one month’s rent (including management fee) + ¥10,000/yr after the first year)
— Renter’s insurance (火災保険, a flat fee for a 2 year contract is about ¥15,000 – ¥20,000)

* 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 contracts.
** Hokkaido, like Tokyo, often uses a guarantor company, making it easier for foreigners than places 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 2LKD in Chou-ku
— 5 min walk from a major train station
— A fairly desirably apartment, 15 minutes from downtown Sapporo by train

The Rent:

— ¥65,000/month

Contract/Move-in Fees:

— Deposit ¥65,000 (one month’s rent)
— Fee for the real estate agent ¥65,000
— The key money ¥65,000
— Guarantee company fee ¥32,500 (for the first year)
— Renter’s insurance ¥15,000 (for the first year)
— TOTAL for FEES: ¥242,500

Total Move-in Cost:

— First month’s rent ¥65,000
— Total fees ¥242,500
— TOTAL COST ¥307,500

Based on the monthly rent of ¥65,000, that Total Move-in Cost of ¥307,500 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 is a little unusual for renters coming from outside of Japan. There is no obvious 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’s just a “tax” paid to the owner, for no specific reason.

It is not always required. There are many apartments that do not require key money. Additionally, if you have several options, and don’t need a particular apartment, you may be able to negotiate with the owner to reduce or eliminate the key money fee. Negotiations are typically done via your real estate agent.

Even as the key money fee may be unnecessary, paying the fee may make a transaction more likely to proceed smoothly. If you have few options, particularly like a specific apartment, if the location is especially desirable, or if considerations for pets are being made, etc, you may want to pay the money to ensure the deal is completed.

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 responsiblity.

While other damage to a rented apartment may come out of security deposit as you move out, if you lose your key (or need to change the lock for any other reason), 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
— Find Lawyers in Hokkaido
Tax Offices in Sapporo

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