New guidelines to define stigmatized properties

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) is planning to create clear guidelines regarding the sale and rent of stigmatized properties. Currently, confusion and uncertainty about what is and isn’t a psychological impact have led to numerous disputes between tenants and landlords.

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Tenant wins lawsuit over high brokerage fees

On August 7, the Tokyo District Court ruled in favor of a tenant who had sued a major real estate brokerage after being overcharged on their rental brokerage fee.

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Compliance rules relaxed for house-to-commercial conversions

On June 25, 2019, the Building Standards Act was revised. One of the interesting revisions was regarding the requirements that must be met when changing the use of an existing property. 

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Proposed law could allow the forced sale of abandoned land

On February 22, the Cabinet approved a bill that will allow land with unidentifiable owners to be forcibly sold off by a court-appointed trustee, thereby helping to free up some of the vast swaths of idle land across the country with missing owners. 

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New minpaku laws decidedly unpopular in Kyoto City

As at the end of August 2018, Kyoto City had only received 129 applications for short-term letting under the new minpaku laws that were introduced in June. Of those, 33 are located in exclusive residential zones where properties can only be rented out to guests for a maximum of 60 nights between January 15 and March 15, with some exceptions allowed for traditional machiya townhouses and homes where the host also lives on the premises. This pales in comparison to the total number of 7,028 applications made nationwide. In Kyoto Prefecture, excluding Kyoto City, only 18 applications have been received as at September 14.

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Apartment owner forced to pay 970,000 Yen fine for illegal short-term letting

The owner of an apartment in Tokyo who had been illegally letting it out for short-term ‘minpaku’ accommodation has been successfully sued by the building’s owners association. The Tokyo District Court ruled that the owner had violated the building’s bylaws and ordered the man to pay 970,000 Yen (approx. 8,700 USD) to cover the owners association’s legal fees.Read more

Government approves new law to deal with abandoned land issue

On June 6 Japan's House of Councilors approved a new act concerning the use of abandoned land. The new law will go into effect from June 2019.

This law will grant local municipalities, private corporations and non-profits the right to use idle land for up to 10 years. This applies to land where the owners are unknown or cannot be contacted. If the owners make themselves known and object to the use of their land, the land will be returned to them at the end of the 10 year term. If the owners do not object, the term may be renewed.Read more