Petty harassment from an ingrate landlord.

An update from my post the other day.

It seems my landlord’s agent has taken to a daily practice of “we have to talk about the contract!” calls and e-mails.

Here again, is the story, in short:

I have rented from the same landlord for about three years. Originally, the rent price was 150,000 yen with about 20,000 yen tacked on in addition for utilities. I found out that my neighbor of the time was only paying 100,000 yen, and could pay actual meter charges for utilities. Only when I started just sending 100,000 yen, did the landlord’s agent start talking, and agreed to make the rent the same as what my neighbor was paying.

If you read Debito, you have actually read that story before; as, in order to be anonymous, I had to use another handle other than the one that I am already known by as a blogger.

In that discussion with the agent, what I was fed back as a load of bull was that a multi-month lease is actually not a lease for land but soemething in civil law called “rent for use”, rent for a specific purpose like a hotel room.

I think the bit of fraud going on is that part of the building is leased long-term to a modeling or entertainment company, so that they can stick in project workers flown in from overseas. I am fairly certain that that company is paying a flat rate to have the apartment “available”, and it’s significantly less than 100,000 yen per month. So in fact, the entertainment company is renting the rooms. But the landlord’s agent wants to pretend that the project workers’ occupancy is “like” a hotel stay.

So, fine, right? I’m leaving, and the landlord already has 200,000 yen in prepaid hotel charges. Ah, but no! Now, I’m being told that was the security deposit (like on a lease), and they need the actual rent in addition to the security deposit. The numerous times I’ve brought up the 2008-09 overcharges, I’m met with silence. (One thing I’ve noticed about Japan is that delay and ignoring facts is quite a popular bullying tactic.)

Yes, readers, of course when I’m out of here, you are going to know which apartment and which landlord company to avoid. But as of right now, that’s not so opportune. (I imagine if you did your research, you could find out anyway!) If you’re looking right now, send me an e-mail.

So the lease, which they argued was really more like a hotel, turned back into a lease. I think. (Because when it does, I ask where the extra 1,000,000 in overcharges went.)

It’s obvious that the landlord and his agent can’t fill the building. But the reason is crystal clear: the stated rent is too high. No one will rent it in the market except for cut-rate special deals–but they expect foreigners to shell out over-market prices! Or, pay extra gifts along the way to live here, in a situation where black-letter law clearly indicates the tenant, in fact, is given a number of legal protections. (No overcharging, 6-month eviction notice, etc.)

Stay tuned.