Renting Privately

In Japan, most people look for an apartment through a real estate agent. Generally, the agent asks you about the type of apartment you are interested in, then shows you what is available according to your requirements. When you find an apartment that meets your needs, you then begin the leasing process. The lease contract needs to be signed and stamped by a co-signer. Once the lease contract procedures are complete, the agent gives you your keys, and you are free to move in. Please make sure you understand the information below prior to approaching a real-estate agent.

Agents deal with customers in Japanese, which means that almost all the relevant documents are written only in Japanese. If you are not confident in your Japanese language abilities, it is a good idea to have a fluent speaker with you when you look for an apartment. Once you decide on a room, you need to check the room conditions with the landlord and/or agent. If there are any damages, discolorations, or dirty areas in the room, take pictures and show them to the landlord and/or agent. If you do not have any proof that the damage, discoloration, or dirty areas were there before you moved in, you may have to pay for repairs when you move out.

We have compiled a set of notes so that you may more easily rent private accommodation here in Hokkaido.

  • Rent Payment
    The rent fee must generally be paid by the designated date for the previous month. Paying your rent late causes a lot of trouble for your landlord, management company and guarantor. Please pay your rent every month by the designated date.
  • Noise Issues
    In some cases, sound can travel easily and can be heard by your neighbors. Listening to music at a high volume, talking loudly in your room and using such items as laundry machines and the shower after midnight may inconvenience your neighbors. Please be mindful of this especially at night. Remember that you live in a shared complex and respect your neighbors at all times by keeping noise levels down.
  • Frozen Water Pipes
    During the winter season when the outside temperature drops below -4˚C, water in the pipes may freeze and water pipes may burst. It takes time and costs a lot to repair the pipes. On cold days, it is advisable to defreeze pipes by running water for a few minutes in the morning.
  • Moving out
    You need to inform your landlord/management company of your leaving date at least one month prior to vacating. If you fail to do so, you will have to pay extra charges. Your room should be in the same condition as when you moved in. In the event of any damage to the premises or to the items within it, you will be liable for all costs. Depending on the contract you may also be required to pay a mandatory cleaning fee.
  • Breach of Contract
    The room is your landlord’s property. It is forbidden to renovate the room or remove attachments. Please also note that only the contract holder(s) are permitted to live in the apartment.
Term Meaning
Real-estate Agent A person/organization that shows customers apartments and handles lease contract procedures.
Agent Fee A fee paid to the agent who helps the customer find an apartment.
Lease Contract A contract that allows a customer to rent property. The contract must list the names of the landlord, renter, and co-signer, and it must be signed and stamped by all the above parties.
Lease Contract Explanation Sheet This document contains important points regarding the state of equipment, handling of the security deposit, the dissolution of the contract, etc. After the agent explains the contents of the document, the renter must sign it.
Security Deposit A deposit made to the landlord when the customer signs the lease contract; the security deposit is returned when the contract is terminated, but is often not returned as it is used in lieu to cover expenses to repair the room.
Penalty Fee In the event of early termination of the contract, the renter is required to pay a penalty fee to the landlord. This fee is usually the equivalent to one month’s rent.
Contract Term A lease contract term is usually for two years.
Co-signer A person that acts as a substitute should anything happen to the actual renter; if the actual renter is unable to pay their rent, the landlord can demand payment from the co-signer, and the co-signer must comply. In most cases, the co-signer is a parent, sibling, or another relative.

There are many private houses/apartments around Hokkaido University. The latest information regarding real estate agents who provide services in English is provided below. This information is subject to change without prior notice. Please note that that the university is not liable for any inaccuracies or misinformation provided by these vendors.

  1. Hokkaido University Co-op Room Guide

Hokkaido University, Clark Memorial Student Center 2F

North 8 West 7, Sapporo 060-0808

TEL: 011-758-9550


Language: English, Chinese

  1. UniLife on Hokkaido University

Ground floor of the Institute for International Collaboration (IIC) on Hokkaido University,

North 15 West 8, Sapporo 060-0815

TEL: 011-806-0855


Website:  (Japanese)



Language: English, Chinese

  1. Apamanshop Leasing Co., Ltd.

Apamanshop Kita 18-jo Branch,

Hotel Sapporo Met’s 1F

North 17 West 5, Sapporo 001-0017

TEL: 011-806-2111


Language: English

  1. Apamanshop Leasing Co., Ltd.

Apamanshop Hokudaimae Branch,

Hokudai Byoinmae Bld. 1F

North 14 West 4, Sapporo 001-0014

TEL: 011-738-5210 


Language: English, Chinese

Finding Apartment (PDF)


Updated on   September 15, 2021