Dear Rica, I’ve been told I need a guarantor to rent an apartment…

Posted on November 6, 2016 in News

Get Answers about Owning, Renting and Living in Greater Kobe. Please submit your comments to

Dear Rica,

I plan to rent an apartment in Japan, but was told that I need a guarantor even though I have a job. What kind of person should I ask to be my guarantor? What happens if I cannot find a guarantor?


Dear Clueless,

Unfortunately, guarantors are required in most cases. This is a person or company that acts as the insurance for your rental contract, promising to cover any rent or damage costs if you can’t pay or suddenly terminate your lease. Your safest bet is your Japanese employer or a Japanese relative. Japanese landlords have a strong preference for a Japanese guarantor.

Another option is using a guarantor company (hoshonin-gaisha, 保証人会社). You will have to pay a one-time fee equal to about half a months’ rent and an annual renewal fee (usually JPY10,000). Check out Nihon Safety’s English website to see generally how guarantor companies work. However, most of these guarantor companies do not have English-speaking staff, and the application process can be a headache. As a bi-lingual real estate agency, we have significant experience working as a bridge for our foreign clients and can provide seamless services to help you find a suitable guarantor company for you.

Finally, you should keep in mind that living in a shared house is an increasingly common way to avoid the hassles of finding a guarantor. Typically, you will have your own furnished and share the common spaces with others. There are many types of shared housing—ranging from student-like housing to high-end luxury digs. Best of all, you avoid the costs of setting up an apartment. Many have websites or are listed in Craigslist.

Please let us know how we can help!