Hoyo Tokyo rentals (landlord update)

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.]

6 thoughts on “Hoyo Tokyo rentals (landlord update)

  1. Is HT yak-affiliated by any chance? As for the landlord, all I can say is: Ho, ho, ho (and not in the Xmas sense). These cheats – including the modeling agency – need to be reported to the tax authorities – I’m sure they’d be interested in the goings on.

    1. I highly doubt it. I think this is garden variety, take advantage of the foreigner. It’s not that people are stupid, it’s that there are things they don’t know. (Maybe I am in fact stupid, and too stupid too realize it. The older I get the more it feels that the less I really know.)

      There are companies that are set up with a business model that, basically, is to see what they can get away with when it comes to foreigners. If you go back to my post a few days ago, and the stuff the Debito had featured in 2009, this one is basically an outfit where they have a prepared BS line for every little thing. When I pointed out that I had actually signed a lease in January 2008 (not a hotel contract), they brought up Civil Code Section 593. They have kept wanting me to sign one month extensions to the original lease, when it’s clear from the law that the original lease just continues by my occupancy. When I finally got them to put the rent at what my neighbor allegedly paid (but likely more than that modeling company does), they wanted me to sign a whole new lease. For some reason, they refuse to acknowledge the original. This has always made me suspicious that I am entitled to the overcharges back, and the idea of theirs of getting me to sign new paper is that they can argue that the overcharges were part of a separate lease arrangement (and that was in fact more like a hotel, which it wasn’t.)

      Re: Yaks. How do people know that, anyway? Do the different chokais hand out a sticker you can put in the window?

      Tax? Funny you caught that, too. If they’re telling the young women that their employer is paying 170,000 yen per unit, it means the landlord shows 170,000 yen as revenue. If, in fact, the number is more like just 70,000 yen, the girls are being lied to and ripped off—underpaid, really. They are being told they are working for wages of “y” and housing costing “x”. If it costs “half x”, where’s the rest of the compensation? Plus, any who are U.S. citizens are also overreporting income and being pushed into a higher bracket on stateside income (like bank interest or on any earned income they make in America.)

      Again, this all goes to doing bad things to foreigners by making a bunch of misrepresentations.

      1. Yeah, the more I think about it, this is the scam of “we must have the paperwork in order!” Who drafts the paperwork? The agent. So it becomes take it or leave it.

        That’s how my corporate job turned into “contract” employment.

  2. ISTR [Note: stands for “I seem to recall”] – perhaps from reading Tokyo Vice – that yaks are heavily involved in rental properties/management as a means of money laundering. I doubt you’d get the proverbial window sticker – yaks’ lapel badges have fallen out of fashion due to the various anti-yak initiatives.

    In sum, given your experiences, Japanese “contracts” WRT foreigners aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

    How big a player is HT and/or the modeling agency? Big enough to get in trouble over cooked books? Is the modeling agency really what it claims to be, or are they importing illegal sex trade workers? If you suspect the latter, you might want to contact the Polaris Project.

    1. No, I don’t think it’s anything like that. I think it’s very garden variety, and the women (and occasionally, men), who occupy the building are in fact working for a modeling agency. The lie is that the employees are being told that the units are worth “x”, when in fact the real number is lower. Then, unaffiliated tenants like myself have been led to believe that the building is actually filled with similarly-situated renters.

      The harm being done is if the modeling workers are being given less in cash wages because they’re being told that the employer has to pay HT a lot for the units. Plus, for US citizens, the deception is screwing them on federal taxes if they also have stateside income.

      The landlord agent is trying to pretend to be a Leopalace. But I think the “Leopalace system” is something unique, and you can’t just take an ordinary lease and suddenly say, “Leopalace system” or else all the landlords in Tokyo would be doing this.

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