1. Type of properties available in Yokohama.

2. Measurement standards used for floor space.

3. Size of rental homes in Yokohama that Zee Brothers can offer.

4. Type of properties expatriates typically occupy?

5. Garden/Terrace.

6. Difference between expatriate style resident and typical Japanese resident.

7. Availability of Sports Facility such as gym/swimming pool nearby.

8. Utility Arrangement.

9. Broadband or high-speed internet connectivity.

10. Parking lot



1. Popular places where expatriates wishes to live.

2. Typical sources of transportation in Yokohama.

3. How long expatiates typically spend on their commute.

4. Security



1. What typically is included in the rent.

2. What some of the common facts which define “fair rent” in Japan.

3. Amount of security deposit and whether they are refundable.

4. Maintenance fee.

5. Brokerage fee and the typical fee.

6. Do landlords provide any special incentives to prospective tenants?



1. Kind of lease contract used.

2. Typical lease term.

3. Termination and penalty.

4. Renewing and the process.

5. Subletting



1. Market condition.

2. Most popular time for expats to move.

3. Any “best deals”?

4. How long typical rental property stay on the market.



1. Keeping pet.

2. Tenant’s right to make improvements or alterations to the property.

3. Maintenance/Damages/Alterations that are responsible for/not responsible for.





Type of properties available in Yokohama

Apartments, detached houses, and semi-detached houses. Most high-rise apartments are located in the central commercial areas such as Chinatown and MM21 areas, where houses are very hard to find. Low-rise apartments are found throughout the central/outer area. The majority of houses are located in suburban neighborhoods such as Yamate Bluff, Honmoku and Negishi areas.

Measurement standards used for floor space.

Square meter (sqm) is commonly used to show the floor space for most properties. You may also come across ”tsubo” (A traditional Japanese unit used to calculate floor or land space) and “jo” in your house search. A “tsubo” is usually the size of 2 tatami mats, while a “jo” is the size of the tatami mat. Please refer to the following conversions:

1 sq.meter = 10.76 sq.ft

1 tsubo(坪)= 3.3057 sqm =2 jo (畳) =(36 sq.feet)

Size of rental homes in Yokohama that Zee Brothers can offer.

The size and type of properties greatly vary. Starting from 20 square meter studios and 1 bedroom to 5 bedroom unit.Although very limited in number we do have some properties which are close to 300sqm in size. Most typical 4 bedroom houses are about 200sqm.

Type of properties expatriates typically occupy.

Every expatriate family have their own requirements and thus choose a property which most fits their needs. Many singles and couples prefer newer apartments in prime central locations, while many families with children choose houses with outdoor space or larger apartments in areas with easy access to international schools and shopping streets.


Houses are quite rare to find in the center of Yokohama due to high land prices. But houses with small terrace size gardens are not difficult to find around suburban Honmoku and Negishi Area.

Difference between expatriate style resident and typical Japanese resident.

The major difference between a typical Japanese residence and the average expatriate style residence is in size and facilities provided. The average Japanese homes are typically much smaller than normal expatriate homes. Therefore, the number of bedrooms are not necessarily the common factor for finding homes. We recommend that you give your advice such as size, number of bedrooms, and location prior to your arrival to assist the agent in their home search

Example based in Yokohama…


Typical Expatriate Housing

Typical Local Housing





250,000 ~ 2,000,000yen per month

30,000~400,000yen per month


A/C & heating system in each room, basic appliances such as stove w/oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer & dryer, and often a telephone line

Not at all rare that you have to purchase and air-conditioning units, light fixtures in addition to kitchen and utility appliances.


Similar to typical western houses having 2 to 3 full baths. Rooms are much bigger in general (ie. If the apartment is 120sqm, you may find 2-3 bedrooms for expatriate houses verses 4 + 1 bedrooms for local houses.

Similar to wetern/expat houses but everything miniaturized and cut up. Tatami Japanes rooms are still common but becoming less popular for newer houses. Typically 1 full bath.



*No key money unless there is a special condition. (non-refundable)

*3-6 months refundable deposit

*No renewal fee

*2 months cancellation notice

*1 months penalty for cancellation within first 12 months

*1-2 months key money (non-refundable

*2-3 months deposit

*1 month’s renewal fee (non-refundable)

*1-2 months cancellation notice

*No penalty for early termination unless stated in the contract

Availability of Sports Facility such as gym/swimming pool nearby.

Although your choices will be limited to less than half a dozen buildings, there are some apartments in central area with some kind of sports facility. We recommend you consider joining one of the many sports clubs especially YC& AC, the only family oriented club in Yokohama.Others clubs, mostly for adults can now be found throughout the city, which offer decent facilities and services at a reasonable price. (Please check our ‘useful links’)

Utility Arrangement.

Upon moving in, the utilities are usually connected by Zee Brothers on behalf of the tenant. In most cases, the utility charges are not included in the rent and are charged to the tenant separately from monthly rent. Each tenant is charged by each service provider directly every month (the water charge is usually billed every other month). (Please check our ‘useful links’)

Broadband or high-speed internet connectivity.

Many apartment buildings going up these days are pre-wired with fiber-optic cable (typically 100Mbps) for tenant use. Even if fiber optic services aren’t available in your building or house, ADSL services can be easily arranged for most properties.Connection speeds for ADSL vary greatly, depending on a myriad of factors, but usually they are between 20 to 50 Mbps.Internet connections are typically separate charge and will also require a Service Provider to connect to these internet connections.(For more information, please check our ‘useful links’)

Parking lot.

Most properties that are of fair size will come with one car parking space.Apartments may be limited. In Honmoku Area, most houses over 180sqm. may come with two car parking space. Covered parkings are very limited.



Popular places where expatriates wishes to live.

Many expatriates prefer to be in Yamate Bluff area by Chinatown, International Schools, and Motomachi, close to Motomachi-Chukagai Subway station and Ishikawacho (JR) station for easy access to the central office districts in Yokohama, Tokyo, and Fujisawa area.

Some other locations popular locations with families sending children to International Schools by bus or carpooling are Honmoku and Negishi area. Especially Honmoku area is popular for it is surrounded by lots of parks, family restaurants, and shops.It is one of the best locations for raising children.

Typical sources of transportation in Yokohama.

Buses, subways, and trains in Yokohama are very efficient, clean, and safe, and are the main method of commuting for most people in Yokohama. Buses are convenient for short distance, and are fairly punctual, as they are not at the mercy of traffic like in Tokyo. Taxis are plentiful and easy to hail, but rather expensive, with a typical starting price of around 710 yen for initial 2km.

How long expats typically spend on their commute.

Many spend around 30 minutes to an hour each way. If you can get from your place to your office, door to door, in under 30 minutes, you probably won’t be complaining.


Yokohama is a very secure family oriented residential city. Crime rates are very low though we still recommend tenants to secure the house especially during the long holidays, leaving some lights on or set timer for light stand and radio. Some higher end houses/apartments may come with online security system.




What typically included in the rent.

Maintenance/management fee, appliances (ie. refrigerator, gas oven, air-conditioning, telephone, washer, dryer, and dishwasher), and a parking space are often included in the properties over 600,000 yen. For properties on the lower end of the price range, these features are typically not included in the rent.

What some of the common facts which define “fair rent” in Japan.

Location and size definitely come first. The age of the building closely follows behind. Interior quality, view and sunlight ( this explains why apartments on lower floors are priced lower) are also important factors. Large accompanying outdoor space, rare even still in Yokohama also add to value.

Amount of security deposit and whether they are refundable.

Yes, although they return without any interest, minus any ”tenant liabilities” which may have occurred, such as room renovation costs, cleaning costs, unpaid rent, etc.

Maintenance fee.

It covers the cost for the maintenance of the common space in the building such as hallways, elevators, the building entrance, etc.

Brokerage fee and the typical fee.

Typically the tenant company will require to pay a brokerage fee equivalent to 1 month’s rent to the agent.

Do landlords provide any special incentives to prospective tenants?

Depends on the owner, but not every time. Sometimes landlords bear the cost of installing new appliances or curtains or have cable tv or internet included. The details would be discussed and agreed upon during the initial application stages. Of course, if the property is popular, there is less possibility that the landlord will offer you special incentives to move in.




Kind of lease contract used.

There is one main type of contract with several sub-versions to accommodate specific needs of the landlord.We can provide English and Japanese versions of the contract as well, though in this case, typically, theEnglish version becomes the translation.

Typical lease term.

The vast majority of rental housing leases in Japan are set for two years with the condition that the term can be extended. Limited-Term lease contracts are sometimes used incase the owner of the property wishes to used the property in the future for their own use.

Termination and penalty.

Yes, in most common cases it is possible.

For a standard rental contract, you are required to a submit a notice of termination in writing at least one or two months in advance (the exact notification period shall be noted in the contract). If you must move out sooner, you must pay rent equivalent to one or two month period noted in the contract.

In the case of fixed- term lease contracts where your company is renting the apartment for you, things can be quite difficult. If there is no special provision or clause in the contract which enables cancellation, sometimes it may simply be impossible.

Renewing and the process.

Standard lease contracts can be renewed automatically, unless either party submits a cancellation notice.

Typically, your landlord will remind you of the upcoming expiration a few months before, and ask if you’dwish to renew. Rental matters and negotiations are often held at this time if required.


In most cases the answer is “no”, unless both parties have specially agreed to it in advance in writing.




Market condition.

With the Japanese economy fairly stable which may not be always true, a lot of foreign companies from avariety of industries are still establishing (or reestablishing) a presence here. As a result, the expatriate housing market has definitely picked up over this year, and shows no signs of abating any time soon.
It should be noted however, that the market is no longer the “owner-driven” market it once used to be, and that in general , it follows a healthy “supply and demand” mechanism. Furthermore, please note that the supply of housing are decreasing in popular area each year whilst more new small room apartments are increasing. Western size 4 bedrooms are very difficult to find in Yokohama.

Most popular time for expats to move.

For the most part, expat relocations to and from Japan occur at a consistent rate over much of the year.

However, families with school age children do tend to move the most during the summer school break (June to August), so that the children can start attending their new schools from the beginning of the school year in September.

Expat moves to Yokohama generally tend to slow down a bit in October, pick up some in November, then grind to an almost total halt in the later half of December and first few weeks of January due to the holiday season.

Any “best deals”?

In Japanese culture, it is of paramount importance that everything be “tidied up” before the arrival of the New Year.” Everything” in this case literally means E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G; from the cupboard and windows, to family relationships and business deals…Therefore, the last week or so of December is probably the most likely time in the course of the year, for aJapanese landlord to offer you an attractive discount.

How long typical rental property stay on the market.

This invariably depends on host of different factors, including location, pricing, and age. Usually, however, attractive properties found in popular neighborhoods generally have a very good chance of being grabbed up very quickly, even if a bit overpriced, while ”insipid” properties in less than a hot areas can often end up being vacant 6 months or more.



Keeping pet.

As many apartment buildings/landlords do not allow any pets, please first check with your agent or the building management to see if pets are allowed, and obtain the owners prior approval before deciding upon a place. It should be noted that even in cases where pets are allowed, you will usually be required to sign a memorandum which confirms your duty to pay for any and all soiling or damages cause by the pet.

Tenant's right to make improvements or alterations to the property.

In case of very minor alterations it is often possible with prior consent of the landlord .However, any alterations beyond that are generally prohibited..

One good reason why you shouldn’t try to make improvements to the property is that tenants must restore a property to its exact original state when vacating the premises. In other words, any “alterations”---damages and improvements included---must be “undone” at the cost of the tenant, and the apartment returned to its exact original state..

Maintenance/Damages/Alterations that are responsible for/not responsible for.

You should immediately inform the landlord or the management in case of a problem or malfunction. You will be responsible for any damages/ malfunctions caused to the premises or the equipment which come with (e.g.aircons) if they occurred as a result of abuse or lack of maintenance on your part, while the landlord is generally responsible for fixing all problems non-attributable to the tenant.

Considering the above,tenants are expected to regularly perform such basic maintenance as cleaning the a/c filter and watering and weeding the garden ( if you have one), in addition to replacing such minor items as light bulbs and water faucet rubber sealings when necessary.


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