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To lower your expenses when moving into an apartment in Japan, look for properties that don’t require a deposit, key money, or agency fee.
More and more agents and landlords are waiving some or all of these fees, especially when they are trying to fill vacancies in the off-peak season (from about April to July) or are trying to lease-up a new building. Together these fees can add at least three months’ rent to your move-in costs, so it pays to be vigilant in your search.
We currently list over 1,100 properties in Tokyo’s 23 Wards with no deposit, no key money, no agency fee required. You can see the full list here.
If you are going to a bricks-and-mortar agency, here is some vocabulary that may help you in your search.
No deposit: shikikin-nashi (敷金なし) or shikikin-zero敷金ゼロ