First, it's important to pick a good management company. Now that more people are aware of share houses and they have become a viable choice when it comes to finding a place to live, it is important to avoid anything suspicious from management companies or employees. Here are 3 of the main things to look out for.
1. Is there a proper rental contract? 2. How good is their response time? Did they explain the house or the rules to you well? 3. How often does a manager visit the building?
1. Make sure that there is a contract. Check if it is a fixed-term lease contract or a regular rental contract, check the rules (for example regarding overnight visitors, etc.), what fees to pay (expenses outside of monthly rent), shared facilities (free or charged, usage times, etc.), how they respond to any trouble (especially infrastructure: how they respond to power outages, for example)...essentially, anything you feel that is necessary for you to feel good about living here. In the case of a power outage or water leak, you will have to contact the management.Of course, as a resident, you have to make effort to follow the rules in the contract. If it is not written clearly, this could cause problems down the road. Read the contract carefully, ask any questions, and make sure you are satisfied with the answers.
2. It is important that they are able to respond quickly. In the case of a power outage or water leak, you will have to contact the management. And if they do not respond, there is no telling how long it will take to get fixed. Judge this based on their initial responses to you. Also, since different houses may have different rules, make sure this is explained to you when you visit, call, or write. This can also be a source for future trouble, so be aware.
3. Sometimes when living with other people, there can be small issues. Whether it's trouble with the building and facilities or between residents, if someone from management comes regularly, it is possible to even solve issues before they happen. You will feel more at ease if you have open avenues of communication. If there is little communication, or the house is rarely if ever cleaned, that can be a big problem.
How to Find the Share House that's Right for You
Once you have found a good management company, now it's time to find the right place for you. Management companies may have houses based on concepts or have special features, so even though it can be sometimes difficult, sometimes searching can even be fun.Check your priorities in advance and research well.
1. List your priorities. 2. Check the house rules. 3. Check out the atmosphere of the house, and what kind of people live there already.
1. Is the location good? Do you like the design or concept of the house? Are initial fees good, or monthly rent affordable? Can you interact with people from other countries? Make a list prioritizing what you are looking for in a house. Even if a house is a bit further from the station than you might like, sometimes a house further away from the station or even the city can have great facilities or have lower rent. Also, different management companies will have different fees. Share houses are often cheaper than regular rentals by comparison, but check the total initial and monthly fees in addition to finding a house that fits your other needs.
2. There are share houses that are women-only, pet friendly, or geared toward single mothers, among many other interesting concepts. Make sure you understand the rules of the house. For example, in a women-only house, no men are allowed to stay over. But what about family? Can I bring a male friend over for afternoon tea? If you understand the rules and they are explained to you in advance, you can avoid misunderstandings in the future. Understanding the rules will help you live a more comfortable share house lifestyle.
3. Once you have found a house you like, make an appointment to check out the house atmosphere and residents if you can. The share house lifestyle is an experience you won't find at a regular apartment, and it has the merit of being a place with growth, learning, and social potential. Is it a more quiet, laid-back house? Or do they have many events and parties? Are there foreigners living there? This extra step can help you more easily decide on the atmosphere that is right for you.
Share house danger?
The Mainichi Shimbun published an article about these kinds of houses which was a hot topic among the share house business and its users. Mainichi Shimbun article: “Legal Loophole houses: Increasing in the city Potential danger in violation of fire codes”http://mainichi.jp/graph/2013/05/23/20130523k0000m040105000c/001.html (Japanese)
There is not set media or legal standard as to what constitutes an illegal rental, but the following cases could be considered illegal.
Possible violations of building and fire codes Houses that have been reformed with partitions into very small rooms An unusually large amount of people living in one house
Though these kinds of places have problems with safety, these kinds of rental places had been called “boarding houses” under the law. However, in 2014, in response to these issues, measures were put in place regarding safety and emergency exits. Make sure the house has sufficient safety measures.