It may not be the first, but it is easily the largest service of its kind.
Suumo is a national housing information website, compiling a vast database of available properties for sale or rent as well as providing advice and other support for buyers. Their presence in Japan is huge to say the least, with physical service counters in various locations and commercials that run around the clock.
Starting next month, they plan to expand even further by offering a search aimed at members of the LGBT community, including cohabiting same-sex couples, all over Japan. Suumo will begin a registry for landowners to specifiy that they are tolerant of LGBT lifestyles and allow tenants to live openly.
Often in Japan, people who live certain lifestyles must deal with rejection from discriminating renters or feel they have to keep certain aspects of their life secret for fear of eviction or alienation. A spokesperson for Suumo’s parent company Recruit Sumai Company said that this move was intended to help give LGBT people peace of mind when looking for a place to live.
Realtors who cater to LGBT communities aren’t new to Japan, but having such a wide-reaching company like Suumo acknowledge the need to cater to a wider range of lifestyles is an important step. In addition to increasing awareness on a large scale, perhaps this will push property owners to realize that not only is accepting everyone the decent thing to do, it’s profitable!
I for one would lean towards renting from an LGBT-friendly landlord simply for the fact that it shows they have a sense of compassion. As such, I might have a chance at getting my security deposit back. Sure, it’s a long shot, but all things considered….