Quite common in Western countries, the concept of shared accommodation in Japan is still relatively new. However, according to Oak House, a guest house and apartment operator in Tokyo, such accommodation is gaining in popularity. Fifteen years ago, the company managed about 150 units; today that figure has risen to 2,300. Shunned by some as being inconvenient and a hassle, others are being drawn to added-value properties featuring amenities such as yoga studios and home theater facilities. Oak House said there is a waiting list of 100 people at its most popular location.
Shared accommodation also has the benefit of being cost effective as no key money (a mandatory, nonrefundable payment, typically equivalent to two months’ rent, given to the landlord for the privilege of being able to live in the unit) or security deposit (typically two months’ rent, and though technically refundable, is seldom returned in full as apartment cleaning fees and other expenses are deducted) are required. Additionally, furnishings are provided, something else that is not common in Japan, meaning initial outlays can be kept to a minimum.
With the popularity of this type of housing increasing, companies in Japan are concocting various inducements in an effort to draw in renters.