Kawasaki City wants to curb supply of studio apartments

Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture is planning to introduce guidelines to limit the construction of small studio apartments. The city has seen a surge in development of ‘one-room’ apartment buildings and is concerned about the effects on local communities.

The new guidelines may increase the minimum apartment size from 18 sqm (194 sq.ft) to 25 sqm (269 sq.ft), and may require on-site building managers or caretakers. For a building with over 100 units, an on-site manager may be required, while smaller buildings may require a manager for a minimum set of hours per day or week. Garbage collection may be required daily. Developers, managers and residents may also be encouraged to join the local neighbourhood association. However, there will be no fines or penalties for failure to comply with the guidelines.

In 2012, Kawasaki City received 20 applications for the development of studio apartment buildings. In 2013, they received 37 applications, and a further 59 applications in 2014.

Kawasaki City is located next to Tokyo, where there are strict regulations for the development of studio apartments. The strict rules introduced in neighbouring cities in recent years may have encouraged developers to shift their attention to Kawasaki.

Studio apartments are geared towards single-person households and tend to have a higher turnover of tenants. Tenants can sometimes cause annoyance to the neighbours by leaving garbage out, parking bicycles on the street and making noise. In Kawasaki’s Nakahara Ward, local residents have started a petition opposing the construction of a 109-unit studio apartment building.

The Tokyo Shimbun, December 10, 2015.
The Mainichi Shimbun, December 12, 2015.

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