Looking for a short-term apartment? – about the period of stay in sharehouse
If you are looking for a short stay apartment to stay for a period of 1 week, 2 weeks (fortnight) or 1 month, it may be difficult to find the right one.
Why are there no short-stay apartments (2weeks, fortnightly) in Japan where you can live by the week?
The short stay apartment business is a real estate business where people living for a certain period of time by signing a lease contract with the owner. (Shared house business is also included in a real estate business.) On the other hand, accommodations that allow people to stay from one night are a lodging business defined by a law called the 旅館業法 [Ryokan gyohou] “Accommodation Business Law”. In order to operate as a ryokan, hotel, or guesthouse, you must apply for 旅館営業許可 [Ryokan eigyo kyoka] “Accommodation Business license,” and you must comply with detailed regulations such as the number of bathrooms and toilets.
Therefore, the cost and time required compared with a sharehouse business. So, in terms of systems and laws, the question is whether it should be considered as “Accommodation business” or “Real estate business” depending on the number of days of stay. The answer to this question is that the legal wording does not clearly state the boundary between the two, but rather relies on the opinion issued by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
According to them, 旅館業法 [Ryokan gyohou] “Accommodation Business Law” applies to stays of a few weeks or less, as the purpose of the stay is not to have a home base,
On the other hand, a stay of more than 30 days is considered to have a home base, and therefore, in principle, the 旅館業法 [Ryokan gyohou] “Accommodation Business Law” does not apply.
For this reason, most of the share houses in the market, as a real estate business, have a minimum stay of one month or more. (Incidentally, this is also the reason why マンスリーマンション [Monthly Mansion] and ウィークリーマンション [Weekly Mansion] have different names, and Weekly Mansion probably have a 旅館営業許可 [Ryokan eigyo kyoka] “Accommodation Business license”.
For people from countries where you can stay every two weeks (fortnightly) and pay rent every two weeks (eg. Australia, England), they would like to stay every two weeks (fortnightly) in Japan, but for the reasons mentioned above, there are no shared houses where you can stay on a weekly basis.
*In Australia, there is a “Rooming House” system for managing shared houses, which sets standards for building safety, bedroom area and maximum occupancy based on the length of stay, water supply, etc. However, there are also hotels that offer long-term stay plans (extended stay in hotels). In terms of staying in a hotel, a long stay of a few weeks is the same as a short stay in an apartment.
We are a guesthouse (hostel), and of course we have a 旅館営業許可 [Ryokan eigyo kyoka] “Accommodation Business license”.
Although we are in the business of accommodation as a hostel, we have the same facilities as a sharehouse.
Therefore, you can stay for as short as a week and enjoy a stay like a sharehouse.
So, what is the minimum length of stay for a typical stay in a shared house?
As far as the author has researched, the minimum length of stay for most sharehouses is one or three months. Again, due to the reasons mentioned earlier, it is not possible to stay less than one month.
What kind of rental contract will you sign?
The rental contract for a sharehouse is usually a fixed-term lease, which is called “Teikishakka Keiyaku” [定期借家契約]. For example, if you decide to live in the house for 3 months, you will sign a lease contract for a limited period of 3 months. A fixed-term lease contract is a contract where the period of time is decided at the beginning, but originally for general real estate rentals, you would sign a regular lease contract, which is called “Futsu Chintaichaku Keiyaku” [普通賃貸借契約].
For more information about the difference between a fixed-term lease contract and a regular lease contract, please click here.
However, it is not always possible to choose the term of the contract as you want. Each sharehouse has a limited number of options for the term, so be sure to check when you sign the contract.
So, if the term is fixed, aren’t you worried about whether you can renew the contract or cancel it in the middle?
When you first start living in Japan, even if you plan to live in Osaka for a year at first, you may decide to move to another area halfway through the year. Also, even if you only plan to live in Osaka for a month at first, you might like it so much that you want to extend your stay for a few more months.
A fixed-term lease contract is one that expires at the end of the contracted period, and essentially cannot be extended or cancelled midway through the contract.
However, if the contract stipulates a notice period for moving out, you may be able to cancel the contract before it expires if you give notice to move out in advance of the specified period.
If there is no such provision regarding notice to vacate, you may try to negotiate with the owner or manager of the sharehouse by discussing when and why you want to move out.
In the worst case scenario, if you pay the rent for the remaining period of the contract as a penalty, you can terminate the contract midway and move out, but in order to avoid this as much as possible, make sure to check the clause about the termination in the contract beforehand.
In the case of a regular lease contract, the term of the contract is usually two years, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t cancel within two years. You can terminate the contract if you give notice of termination in advance, as per the set notice period.