For the readers following me on this one.
I have previously reported that a number of silly things are going on. The building where I live has eight apartment units. From what I can tell, five of the eight are leased to a modeling company. So the majority of the building is leased out to a business, who in turn subleases to their employees.
There is a private renter next to me. There is me. There is a unit that is usually vacant.
My own feeling is that the rent for one of these “1K” apartments (studio apartments in America) is the price that that modeling agency is paying. Since they are buying five units, it’s obvious that they aren’t paying more than the going rate in Tokyo, which has declined dramatically in the past 2 years.
The game that the landlord and/or Hoyo Tokyo seems to be playing is this:
Tell the modeling company employees that the apartments they are being provided as part of compensation are much more valuable than they really are.
Tell other customers that since the building is so full, it’s because the rental prices stated are “market”. As in, “we are charging ‘x yen’, and as you can see, the building is full.”
The reality is that the marketing company who buys five of the eight units is maybe paying 60,000 yen per 1K. It’s a big secret. The young men and women working for the company are told some bigger number—the better to cut back on their cash wages, maybe. People not affiliated with the company are then shown a full building, with the implication that the other tenants are paying the stated price, rather than an actual market price. How sneaky! How clever!
This would never be going on with the regular Japanese. The only reason it’s happening is because the business is being done with transient foreigners. (Even not-so-transient ones.) “Japan” has been seeming to be saying that, if you cheat foreigners, well, it’s OK. I hope that’s just an observation based on misunderstanding, and not fact. But it looks like fact.
[Update: and, uh, uh, oh! One thing I would insist on, as part of any rental contract, is a clause that if the landlord or agent discounts or charges a lower rent in any month to another tenant, that you get the same discount that month. Otherwise, what you are going to have is a situation where you are paying more rent to cover for someone else who is being given a deal because of your presence. You should insist on it, although the typical rental situation makes that very difficult.]