What happens to an old building that doesn’t meet current fire codes?

Image is unrelated to article.

On January 28, NHK published a piece on old ‘non-compliant’ buildings that don’t meet current fire codes. A ‘kison-futeki-kaku’ (既存不適格) or non-compliant building is one that was built to the correct codes at the time of construction, but as codes were updated over the years, would not meet current standards and could not be re-built to the exact same specifications today.

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Japan’s two-address systems for land and buildings

Lot numbers indicated on a cadastral map. Different to the postal addresses.

Did you know that buildings and land in Japan can have two addresses? One for registration identification purposes and another to be used as the postal address. While this won’t affect your day-to-day life, it always comes up as a question from buyers when going over the contract of sale documents, so it may be worth explaining it in detail below.

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What is the lifespan of a house or apartment in Japan?

[Left] The Okuno Building (former Ginza Apartments), c1932; [Center] Warou Flat in Roppongi, c1930 ~ 1937; [Right] The 165+ year old Hosoda Residence in Nakano.

Do Japanese homes only last 30 years before they need to be torn down? Will you be kicked out of your apartment when the building reaches a certain age? There are a lot of tropes floating about regarding the lifespan of Japanese buildings, and the majority of these stories are based on incorrect information.

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What’s an appropriate amount to pay for apartment repair fund fees?

When you own an apartment in Japan you, along with the other apartment owners in the building, will pay monthly fees each month that go into the building’s repair reserve fund. These fees go towards periodic maintenance and repairs of the common structure of the building. Some buildings have high fees, while others have low fees. What’s the reasoning and what is a reasonable amount to expect?

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