Pets in My Apartment: Navigating Pet-Friendly Apartments in Japan

Is Apartment in Japan Pet-Friendly?

Have a furry friend by your side or considering getting one in Japan? Let's dive into the question of whether Japan is truly pet-friendly. First things first, in most apartments, you're not allowed to keep any animals. When signing your apartment contract, the no-pet policy is usually crystal clear. However, you can always ask your agent to find you pet-friendly housing, allowing you and your adorable companion to coexist. Keep in mind though, that this feature may come with an extra cost.

Why the No-Pet Policy?

Ever wondered why apartments don't welcome our pals with open arms? Well, let's talk about the two major reasons. Firstly, there's the issue of noise. Picture this: your dog decides it's a great time to bark, disturbing the peacefulness of your neighbors. In Japan, where neighborhoods are known for their serenity, such disturbances are frowned upon. You don’t want to be the guy that creates the noises every night. The second concern is odor. Pets come with their unique scents, ranging from disposal odors to strong body odors. And let's not forget the potential mess pets might leave around the building, causing frustration among fellow tenants and posing risks for property owners. It is also worth mentioning for people who have allergies to their furs.

Consequences of Sneaking in Pets

Now, let’s say you decide to sneak in your beloved pet, thinking no one will notice. What happens if you get caught? You'll be asked to bid farewell to your furry friend within two weeks to one month. Property owners might ask you for an extra charge ranging from ¥100,000 to ¥200,000, covering cleaning and damage repair fees. But that's not all—penalty fees might also knock on your door. Ranging from one to three months' worth of rent. It's a hefty price to pay for a secret pet. If you thought that was the end of it, think again. In extreme cases, a lawsuit might come knocking. Attempting to defy the contract agreement is a risky game. Failure to comply, and the consequences escalate to legal action. Trust us, the legal route is not worth the gamble.

Pet-Friendly Apartments

If life without your furry companion is unimaginable, there's a solution for you: pet-friendly apartments. These housings are designed with your pets in mind, offering facilities that make both your lives easier. It might sound great, but in the current market, there are around 15% of pet-friendly apartments available for you. From 7 wards (Minato, Setagaya, Chuo, Meguro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Chiyoda) with a range of ¥150,000 - ¥500,000 there are 3784 properties listed at the moment only 588 properties listed as pet friendly.

Now if you manage to get one, you can expect to have a dedicated paw-washing area right by the entrance, ensuring cleanliness after a stroll. You don’t need to deal with your dirty floor or carpets that your dogs caused. Furthermore, they usually come with handy pet litter bins outside your apartment, saving you from lugging them back to your room. These seemingly simple features work wonders in maintaining the homey aroma of your building. Some apartments even consider those who fear or are allergic to animals, installing an elevator with pet signs to alert everyone onboard. There's the possibility of a dog run area within your building making it convenient for you to play with your pets.

Not All Pets are Allowed in Pet-Friendly Apartments

However, it's essential to note that not all pets are created equal in the eyes of pet-friendly apartments. Some may allow dogs but draw the line at cats due to perceived training difficulties and potential allergies, and some are the other way around. Sneaking a pet that’s not a part of the deal, even in a pet-friendly apartment, is a violation if stated in the contract. While dogs and cats are commonly accepted, double-check if you plan on sharing your space with reptiles or rabbits. Most apartments also limit you to one pet.

One thing you also should always keep in mind is that pet-friendly apartments often allow dog sizes up to 10 kilograms (the bigger it gets the less option you will get). Anything above is considered large, potentially leading you to seek a detached house instead. Keep in mind, though, that larger pets come with a price—expect an additional cost and a requirement for a more spacious, and consequently, pricier apartment.

In general, it’s safe to say that small dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, birds, and fishes are the easiest to own and fit the policies. While rabbits might be a little more challenging, but not impossible as they are known to bite and destroy the wall. On the other hand, reptiles such as snakes and spiders are almost impossible to own. The reason is to ensure the safety of the tenants. Although, spiders and snakes are most likely to be kept inside a glass box, but you would never know.

The Price of Pet-Friendly Living

Now, let's talk costs. Pet-friendly apartments are, unfortunately, 10% to 20% more expensive than their pet-less counterparts. Monthly rent varies based on the facilities offered, and the security deposit is more expensive, ranging from one to three months' rent. This deposit is a safety net for when your furry friend causes chaos in your room. The money covers the necessary repairs after you leave the apartment. If they don’t, you will get your money back. For those with larger pets (above 10 kilograms), an additional monthly fee of around ¥10,000 (or even more) from the standard pet-friendly apartment is to be expected.

Preparing for Pet-Friendly Application

If you're sold on the idea of pet-friendly living, be prepared for some extra measures. Agents and property owners often request a picture of your dog to understand its kind, size, and age, ensuring that it fits their pet-friendly policies.

Additionally, proof of vaccination is typically required. While vaccination certificates could be different depending on the country or even the vet, ensure they include the necessary information for you to pass the tenant screening procedure. Some apartments are more strict about vaccination specifics, so make sure your documentation meets their criteria. If you own a dog, an annual rabies vaccination and dog license are mandatory by law, and property owners might ask you to provide them with the certificate.

In conclusion, there's hope for you and your beloved pets to find a home in Tokyo. Take advantage of the facilities designed to make your life with your pet smoother. Just remember to check if your pet's type and size are accepted in the apartment, and be prepared to allocate extra funds for both the initial move and monthly rent. Don't forget to communicate with your agent and property owners about the necessary documents before moving in. Happy pet-friendly living!