Author Topic: What's involved with changing apartments?  (Read 4001 times)

Offline nixonlee

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What's involved with changing apartments?
« on: February 25, 2012, 11:51:48 PM »
For a long time (since I came here really) I've been curious on if it's possible to consider moving.  Basically, my school is a short walk from Nirasaki Station, and I am more of a city fellow.  My apartment in Nirasaki is too big for me.  I know that some people live in cheaper apartments that are really close to Kofu Station.  I wouldn't mind a short commute on the train and I would love to be locationed in Kofu because I basically hang around Kofu all the time anyways.  So, (a) is it possible to move--considering the rules of JET and being a Prefectural Highschool ALT.  (b) If so, is it possible to find a nice apartment like the that a few of the JETs live in next to the Kofu station--something like that would be wonderful both location and price wise.  (c) if both of those are possible, what would be involved?  What would I have to consider? 

I am assuming that I'm pretty much stuck here in my place, but I thought I'd ask if it was possible.  Just curious, if my dream has any reality in it.  Thanks!

Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 08:39:11 AM »
You're not stuck anywhere.  But, you will need to have the move approved.  I moved in the Spring of 2011 from Kasugai to Kofu.  I asked for the move in the Summer or 2010.  I found an apartment and made sure that I could move in (i.e. I spoke with the new landlord and told them I wanted to move in as soon as I could get out of my current lease).  I then told my school in August that I wanted to move to the city.  I informed them that I had found a place to stay and I had to assure them that my schedule would not be affected by the move. After 5-6 months of dragging their feet they finally approved it the following January.  Then, I had to give 1 full month notice, so I didn't end up moving out until late Feb, early March.  It's a lengthy process and I think when you mention it they just stone wall for a couple months, but if you keep it up they will eventually approve it.  Have a nice long talk with your super, because you will need him/her on your side through it all.  If they approve or think you have good enough reasoning then it will happen.  If not, then maybe it wont.  It all depends on how they set it up when they tell your Kyoto Sensei, because in the end it it his/her call.  Then the Kenchou approves it, then you can move...   
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 08:47:34 AM by Yamanashi PA »

Offline fred

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 09:12:38 AM »
As Coleman has said, it is possible and others have done it. One being Chris Tso (only locally), another is Karen Whooley. There are others, but they did it for family situations, mainly spousal.
I am not sure if your apartment is new for you or not, but if it is, I suspect that the school will have had to agree a minimum contract.
At the end of the day, moving requires your school and the kencho to do work for you. I would suggest you minimise the amount of work that they have to do and demonstrate a valid reason for the move.

Offline nixonlee

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2012, 09:24:07 AM »
Thank you very much for the information.  This gives me a lot to think about.  I guess the first step is to start looking around for apartments and the second step is to show the school the work I've been doing.  It seems like a game of timing, luck, and reasoning.  Does any one know where I can start my search into the mild blue yonder?  Is this the kind of search that will need to involve a native Japanese speaker to aide me?

Thanks again Josh for your personal story!  And thanks Fred for showing me that it's been done multiple times before.  It's been very relieving to read that there is hope that I can make things a little nicer in the semi-distant future :)

Offline nixonlee

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2012, 09:28:44 AM »
I am not sure if your apartment is new for you or not, but if it is, I suspect that the school will have had to agree a minimum contract.

The apartment was the same one used by my predecessor.  So I'm sure it's going to be a long hard battle.  Plus I set-up internet in this apartment.  But, just makes the process more interesting, eh.

Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2012, 09:31:02 AM »
You will most likely need some type of Japanese aide when talking to a new landlord (unless they speak English).  You will need to discuss things like Key money and all the apartment rules like trash days and how the utilities are currently set up.  Sometimes water is included, sometime not.  Also, you will need your super to talk to your current landlord and find out if you can break the 12 month deal that you have now. You may have to pay to get out, you may not be able to get out.  You will just have to tackle it one obstacle at a time.  It would make no sense to put time and effort into looking for a new place if yours is locked down until July...  Just think of things as a puzzle and work through it.  If you need help with Japanese you could always ask for help from other JETs or Japanese friends or even your supervisor if it comes to that.  The first step is talking to your school. They will have most of your answers.  The whole "finding a new place" shouldn't be too difficult, its the "getting out of the current place" that can be lengthy.

Offline fred

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 09:38:49 AM »
The whole "finding a new place" shouldn't be too difficult, its the "getting out of the current place" that can be lengthy.

Yep, this.....
As for the internet, in the grand scheme of things, deal with this when you need too. At most it will be 20,000 yen and some hassle. Is this really going to stop you?
If Mariah was in the apartment, then I think it is safe to say that you will only need to give a months notice before moving. They got that apartment and had it for two years. Most minimum leases are two years.

Offline nixonlee

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2012, 09:50:25 AM »
I'm liking what I'm hearing from both of you.  Since I know Maria had this apartment, it seems like I might be able to move with less hassle.  So, the next thing is making sure that there are places to move to.  Since my school is so close to the train station and it's only a 12 to 14 minute ride, I'm guessing the school will eventually be willing to give in to my request.  Particularly if I can find a place within a 15 minute walk to Kofu Station.  The other thing is I generally go to Kofu 5 to 7 days a week anyways (more like 7).  I'm sure I'll find someway to be convincing. 

Arigatou sirs!

Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 09:55:09 AM »
As far as looking for a place, you might want to get a tour one day from a local real estate company.  Sometimes they charge a fee for a look around, but you might find something close and cheap.  I know my apartment complex is full with a waiting list, but there are others on the North side just like it for cheap.

Or, pick up one of the green booklets.  It is in most combinis, and has apartments for rent with pictures.

Offline Khaleesi

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 10:05:24 AM »
I went through a slightly different process -- not being a JET and all. 

My first apartment was organized by my employer, but I have moved 4 times since then.  In every case I have looked for apartments either through an apartment agent, who never showed me anything I liked, then by walking the neighborhood and searching for a building I liked.  After checking for saodake (those laundry poles on balconies) I would either a) ask someone in the building by either knocking on a door or asking someone who was going in or out OR as in the case of my current apartment, there was a rental company sign out front (these signs are usually on the fences of the buildings or the edge of them if there is a vacancy) and I called up.


If I had changed employers, they would pay key money.  However I have paid it myself once in the past and I know people who got the landlord to waive it altogether.
Bargaining down is possible.

Finding an apartment on your own takes (in my experience) about a month--including moving in and out and such--but a lot of legwork.  March is the perfect opportunity to do it. ^-^

Signing a new lease means you'll probably have to get the school to act as guarantor, unless you have a Japanese friend who is willing to act as such.  Again, on the JET program the apartment search is prob. vastly different, but for those of us not on the program it needn't be a nightmare.
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Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 10:14:40 AM »
On the JET program the school is responsible for the first apartment, anything after that is you burden.  They should be able to act as a guarantor if need be, but I wouldn't expect much more than that. 

Offline nixonlee

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 10:23:18 AM »
Well that's cool! 
I should assume there is that place somewhere (possibly north Kofu) waiting for me a barge in and plant my flag.  I have no problem with being sandwiched between two extra noisy nightly party animals who blast out annoying music all night's apartments (in fact I almost prefer it), I hope that opens up my choices in my search.  So, I guess I should spend my spare time stalking down apartment buildings and their tenants for a view ;)  Or perhaps a tour day sounds like a lovely weekend plan.  Thanks for the advice!

Offline Josiah

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 10:43:19 AM »
haha, speaking of noisy neighbors I feel really bad for mine. How the tables have turned.

Offline nixonlee

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 10:47:55 AM »
You gotta do what you gotta do...  based on you FB message, I'm assuming you're on your Drag Race Marathon. 

Offline Josiah

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 10:49:32 AM »
You gotta do what you gotta do...  based on you FB message, I'm assuming you're on your Drag Race Marathon.

it has nothing to do with television noises and we're gonna leave it right there. Keeping it family friendly.  8-) :mrgreen: :evil:

Offline nixonlee

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2012, 10:51:44 AM »
Well... a marathon one way or another.

Offline OxO

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2012, 03:42:28 PM »
Would the school not be concerned about losing their Jet apartment where their Jet's have always been placed and so dooming themselves to having a lot of extra work with the next Jet?

Anyway, good luck Nick, it is great not to have to stress about the last bus/train home!
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Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2012, 03:52:52 PM »
It may mean that they need to find a new apartment when he leaves for good and they get a new teacher, but that doesn't mean that he can't move.  If they sign on with JET then they have agreed to a certain amount of grunt work that the program writes into the contract.  Just as we are expected to come to school festivals and participate in after school functions and clubs they also have contractual obligations.
Look, a living situation is a personal decision.  We are all adults and there is no reason you shouldn't be able to live where you see fit.  This is exactly what I told my school when they initially denied to help me move.  I went ahead and signed a new contract anyways and told them I was an adult and I would be on time every morning and basically "here is my new address".  I wanted to make it clear that I would handle my personal life myself.  They quickly came on board.  I wouldn't suggest this approach until it in needed, but Japan or not, you have to live your life how you see fit...  Look, your school doesn't tell any other teachers where to live, why should they tell you where to live?

Offline nixonlee

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2012, 03:59:33 PM »
Would the school not be concerned about losing their Jet apartment where their Jet's have always been placed and so dooming themselves to having a lot of extra work with the next Jet?
Of course that was the main thing I was worrying about them worrying about.  I think my predecessor had interest in moving to Kofu if she was going to stay any longer though.  And I bet many people would have interest in moving to Kofu.  I know many of my teachers live all over Yamanashi.  I know when teacher who lives in Kofu and has to switch to from the Minobu line to the Chuo line.  So I hope I can use these cases in my argument.  Plus that I am planning on staying for a while...  They want a happy teacher don't they?

Anyway, good luck Nick, it is great not to have to stress about the last bus/train home!
Always train for me.  But yes, that would be fantastic be where I no longer need to train home.  It would also be nice to have a smaller apartment that was possible to heat in the winter.  They only only downside is not having a parking space.  I wonder if theirs any cheap way to get a parking space for my visitors. 

It may mean that they need to find a new apartment when he leaves for good and they get a new teacher, but that doesn't mean that he can't move.  If they sign on with JET then they have agreed to a certain amount of grunt work that the program writes into the contract.  Just as we are expected to come to school festivals and participate in after school functions and clubs they also have contractual obligations.
Look, a living situation is a personal decision.  We are all adults and there is no reason you shouldn't be able to live where you see fit.  This is exactly what I told my school when they initially denied to help me move.  I went ahead and signed a new contract anyways and told them I was an adult and I would be on time every morning and basically "here is my new address".  I wanted to make it clear that I would handle my personal life myself.  They quickly came on board.  I wouldn't suggest this approach until it in needed, but Japan or not, you have to live your life how you see fit...  Look, your school doesn't tell any other teachers where to live, why should they tell you where to live?
Well said!  If I'm going to be here for the next 4 1/2 years (for example) I should be aloud to have my own personal life as well.  And if I'm the own setting up everything, they should respect that I figured it all out and that I am capable.  Moreover, if I am putting in this amount of effort, they should assume it's not just so I can leave right away...  Thanks Josh for the motivation :)

Offline K-Bear

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2012, 04:05:37 PM »
My Pred`s, Pred`s, Pred   (hope you can follow along), thought that Kuma Ana was not fit for human habitation, and asked the school to move her into a newer apartment. They did. After that, all the other successors (me included) still live in Kuma Ana. I could probably move if I wanted to, but the sheer size and cost of Kuma Ana make it a place I want to stay in.

So, as long as you get all the info gathered and present your case, I think you will be fine.

Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2012, 04:15:24 PM »
My previous rant came off a bit strong...  Here is the steps I would take, in this order

1.  Look for places you might want to live.
2. Tell your super you have seen a few places in Kofu that would fit your lifestyle better than your current situation.
3. Wait for a week, ask your super what you would need to do in order to relocate to Kofu.  Bring up specifics such as key money and lease issues. Get the super thinking that your move is a high priority for you without bugging them daily about it.
4. Listen to what the super comes back with and adjust your actions accordingly.  If you can get out of your lease then do so and move.  If you need to wait to get out or pay a fee to get out then consider what it is worth to you to leave.  Don't put the school in a situation where they lose face with the landlord. (In my case I had a specific 1 month clause in the contract, so I knew I was ok to leave).
5.  Then find a place and hopefully give notice.

Throughout the process your supervisor will most likely have a few chats with your Kyoto Sensei about what is going on.  Hopefully they will be supportive, but in the end they can't make you stay there for more than your lease states.  My lease was up so I found a place...  Be respectful and patient, but also be proactive.  Find the place, figure out the logistics.  The school may want to check the building out for earthquake code and fire code adherence, which is perfectly within their right.   
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 04:17:03 PM by Yamanashi PA »

Offline Croninokehige

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2012, 04:55:44 PM »
I would also try not to get your hopes up because it's very easy for your school not to approve it. I looked into moving from one of my villages to the other last year, but was bluntly told by my principal "Sorry, that won't be possible". The schools have an arrangement about the ALTs living in a specific area (since I am shared between two BoEs) and it's my town's "turn" to have me- it would create problems for the fairness of it all if I were to try to move. Or something.

Offline OxO

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2012, 04:55:55 PM »
It may mean that they need to find a new apartment when he leaves for good and they get a new teacher, but that doesn't mean that he can't move.  If they sign on with JET then they have agreed to a certain amount of grunt work that the program writes into the contract.  Just as we are expected to come to school festivals and participate in after school functions and clubs they also have contractual obligations.
Look, a living situation is a personal decision.  We are all adults and there is no reason you shouldn't be able to live where you see fit.  This is exactly what I told my school when they initially denied to help me move.  I went ahead and signed a new contract anyways and told them I was an adult and I would be on time every morning and basically "here is my new address".  I wanted to make it clear that I would handle my personal life myself.  They quickly came on board.  I wouldn't suggest this approach until it in needed, but Japan or not, you have to live your life how you see fit...  Look, your school doesn't tell any other teachers where to live, why should they tell you where to live?
I totally agree of course. I just mentioned it as a concern as I wouldn't put it past schools to try and be obstructive for such a reason.
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Offline nixonlee

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2012, 05:08:55 PM »
Well Im gonna make it my mission.  Thanks for the ideas and i appreciate the outline to Josh's success.  And for me the train commute is really a plus.  Im pumped right now.

Offline Yamanashi PA

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2012, 08:30:41 AM »
Its these small projects that make you feel like you are actually a part of the community.  Doing something on your own and all that jazz...  enjoy and let me know if you need help during the process.

Offline nixonlee

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2012, 08:53:03 AM »
Its these small projects that make you feel like you are actually a part of the community.  Doing something on your own and all that jazz...  enjoy and let me know if you need help during the process.
Thank you so much!  I think I'm going to take it slow with my super (avoid coming on too strong) and mention how the apartment is too big for one person... then a few days later mention I've been looking around... then mention I've found stuff that fits my lifestyle better...  then, if things are moving along too slowly, make a couple a light pushes here and there.  But of course my super is "super" busy with test week/graduation week and preparing for heading out of the country (school trip) for a couple of weeks.  So this exciting process might not even start for a while. 

I totally agree.  We need projects to keep our fluidity and connection with reality.  Another advantage to taking this project slower is that once I am successful, I'll be finished.  I guess that will be time for the next project. 

Offline Mister.J

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2012, 02:03:52 PM »

So rather than create a new thread.  I just thought I would ask.  What are some real estate agencies in yamanashi that are Gaijin friendly.  I am looking to move somewhere where there is a train station like Ryuo or Kofu.    Teach in the same school but move to a place closer to a train station
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Offline Khaleesi

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2012, 02:09:42 PM »
THese agencies (I have lived in 3 places in Kofu--all found on my own) usually charge a fee and consistantly have shown me the worst apartments for the most outrageous prices.  In all honesty, for my current place, I went to a neighborhood I liked and walked about looking at the apartment balconies.  If there is no saodake on the balcony, chances are there is a vacancy and a sign outside the place you might want to rent.  If you dont see a sign, knock on a door/ go to the doorman and ask for tenant information (easier for me as a girl).

Also, try to negotiate the price of your gift money down...Moving into an apartment now, you'll have an advantage because most people move in the Spring.
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Offline fred

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2012, 02:30:59 PM »
You need to take a Japanese friend with you who is willing to be a hard ball at negotiation. Then they can get all of these costs down for you.
It is not impossible, but there are just so many hoops to jump through.
If possible, get friendly with an estate agent whose kid you teach, it makes a hell of a difference.
Sometimes the landlord will be really friendly and you won't have to play hard-ball. For example.....

1) I had moving in costs of 20man which the landlord cut from 30man. He also cut the rent from it's usual price by 25% and a lot of other stuff.
However, I had to take a specific apt in his building that he always had issues trying to fill. Also, his apt block was never 100% full.

2) I had moving costs of 35man and no discounts because it was a brand new place and there was a waiting list. Normally the landlord (company) does not even rent to foreigners. The best I could do was the badger them via the estate agent and various other City hall people until they realised that there is no was I was going to be a risk. That was a bloody ball ache to say the least.

You will also need a guarantor, someone who will step in if you fail to make rent payments. This can be a ball ache in it's own way too.


Offline OxO

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Re: What's involved with changing apartments?
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2012, 02:37:51 PM »
I have read that Japanese people don't take that guarantor stuff lightly at all.....I'd imagine that would be a major pain.
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