• Omuta, Fukuoka

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I read with interest the Aug. 2 life & style article “Once settled in, chances are you’ll have to pay to stay,” as I can understand that the property rental system with its deposits, gratitude fees and renewal fees may be difficult for a foreign tenant to understand. But let’s look at this from another angle.

I own property in Yokohama, a two-story building of 150 square meters, suitable for use as an office and workshop/warehouse. In August 2009 I signed a leasing contract with a new tenant (not a foreigner), employing a real estate agent and using a standard leasing contract. A middleman (kanri gaisha) was appointed to act as my representative in Yokohama as I reside elsewhere. The tenant paid a three-month deposit, one-month gratitude fee and one month to the real estate agent.

All was good until January 2011, when payments of rent ceased. No further rent has been paid, even though both the tenant and his guarantor (a dentist) have been notified. In June, I asked our company lawyer to look into the matter and we decided to seek an eviction by court order. The lawyer advised that the estimated time it would take to get a verdict would be eight to 10 months. If the tenant still did not move out, I would have to remove his belongings and store them in a warehouse for two months at my expense — after which I could throw the things away or auction them off. On top of this, if the tenant caused damages to the property, I would bear the subsequent repair costs.

Adding it all up, including the fee to my lawyer, it will probably cost me more to get rid of the guy than what I have received in rent over the past two years. This case is now in progress.

So, anybody, please tell me why it is unfair to ask for deposits plus gratitude and renewal fees from a tenant.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

name withheld by request

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