Edward Coe (English)
Financial adviser, 35
The landlords can be very temperamental. They want the rent guaranteed but they are often not specific about their requirements. For example, can a company be guarantor or does it have to be a Japanese citizen? If so, they may need to see evidence of income in excess of half a year’s rent.

Gavin Cruickshank, 30
English teacher (U.K.)
I initially had a lot of problems with agencies saying there were very few options because most landlords don’t allow foreigners, but I went again with my Japanese friend’s parents and suddenly everything changed. I was shown 15 or 20 places and was able to find one that suited me straight away.

Sarah Albrecht, 28
English teacher (U.S.)
I found my place through a company that recruited in America. Part of the contract was that they provided an apartment with subsidized rent. Since I came here I have changed my job, but I made sure that my new company also provided me with an apartment. So I have luckily avoided a lot of difficulties.

Vincent Poirier (Canada)
Computer security, 43
I don’t have a guarantor. However, I did have to provide a lot of forms and pay a ¥110,000 insurance fee. When the two-year renewal comes up I only need to pay another ¥10,000. I think the system can be difficult not only for foreigners but also for Japanese, especially for elderly people living alone.

Munneer Mazi (Bangladesh)
Restaurant owner, 40
I tried many times to find somewhere when I first came here. But this is Japan; it’s not easy to find somewhere as a foreigner. They kept telling me that with no Japanese guarantor I couldn’t do anything. I got a guarantor and it was OK. I think Japan’s caution is one of the reasons it’s safe here.

Frank O’Carroll (Aussie)
Computer engineer, 46
When I was renting 15 years ago, my guarantor died. When my contract came up for renewal, I didn’t visit my agent to organize it because I wanted to avoid the inevitable headache that my guarantor’s passing would cause. I continued paying rent but never paid the renewal fee. It was never a problem.

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