On May 11, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) released the results of a survey into the approximate costs of large-scale maintenance and repairs for apartment buildings. The goal of the survey is to provide apartment owners associations with a general idea of what the repair work should cost in an effort to reduce over-charging.

This is a useful guide for potential apartment buyers as you can check the amount of money in a building’s repair reserve fund before purchasing. Some buildings may have ample funds, providing some peace of mind, while others may have very little accumulated which would mean each apartment owner may have to pay out of pocket in the future or necessary maintenance won’t be carried out at all.

The survey covered 944 projects completed over the past three years. The majority, almost a third of the total, cost between 750,000 ~ 1,000,000 Yen per apartment. A quarter cost between 1,000,000 ~ 1,250,000 Yen, while 15% cost between 500,000 ~ 750,000 Yen.

There are 6.3 million condominium-type apartments across Japan, housing 15 million people.

Large-scale repairs and maintenance work is usually carried out around the 13 ~ 16 year mark, with an average cost of 1,000,000 Yen per apartment. The second round of repairs and maintenance is carried out between the 26 ~ 33 year mark, costing an average of 979,000 Yen per apartment. The third round is typically carried out between the 37 ~ 45 year mark with an average cost of 809,000 Yen per apartment. Repair and maintenance work usually involves the building exterior, water-proofing and plumbing related items.

It is important to note that these are general averages only and actual conditions may vary depending on the building. Some buildings are better maintained than others, while some are not maintained at all. When buying an apartment you will receive a sheet showing the past history of repairs to a building, noting the date and work that was carried out. This will be provided at the time of the Explanation of Important Matters, which is similar to a due diligence report read to the buyer before signing a contract of sale. If you haven’t been provided with one, be sure to ask for it. Also, take note of the condition of the building’s common areas and exterior when inspecting a property.

To go ahead with large-scale repairs and maintenance, a majority vote from the apartment owners is generally required.

MLIT, May 11, 2018.
The Nikkei Shimbun, May 12, 2018.