Space in Japan is usually expressed in square meters (m2), though the term "tsubo" is also common (1 tsubo = 3.305785 m2 or about 35.58 square feet). Floor space is usually measured from wall center to wall center. The balcony and terrace are always excepted.
Hoshokin or Shikikin
Before tenants can assume occupancy of any rental accommodation in Japan, they are required to pay the landlord a non-interest bearing deposit equivalent from 2 to 6 months rent. The landlord will refund the deposit at the end of the lease period.
Rent is usually paid for the following month on the last day or by the 25th day of the month preceding it.
In addition to rent, tenant are usually asked to pay a monthly building maintenance fee. Usually this fee is included in the monthly rent.
Only sometimes landlords demand that tenants pay a depreciation fee. This is deducted as a percentage from the deposit (usually 10 to 20%) when the contract ends, and the deposit minus the fee is then returned to the lessee.
It is common for landlords to demand a renewal fee when rental contract are renewed. This fee is usually equal to one month rent of the renewed contract.
Most of leases stipulate a two year contract period, and rental contracts can be renewed upon expiry.
Lease terms in Japan are mostly for a period of two years but are automatically renewed for an additional two years unless either party wishes to terminate the contract. Since March 2000, some landlords are using a new style lease (fixed term, not renewable). Be aware!!!
Notice of cancellation
Canceling a contract prior to expiry usually carries no penalty for lessees in Japan as long as the lessor is notified beforehand and within the time period specified in the contract (usually 2 months).
Restauration to original condition
Unlike in some other countries, when a tenant in Japan terminates a lease contract and prepares to vacate, all premises must be restored to their condition at the time the contract commenced with the exception of natural tear and wear. This restoration is at the tenant's expense.
In Japan, at the time of contracting a new space, it is the tenant and not the landlord who pays the introducer, the agent, a fee equal to one month's rent.