Living in Japan can be quite an exciting experience because of its wonderful culture, food, and unique customs. Japan is safe, people are friendly, and you can go and visit many places with easy access by train. You will have a memorable tour at this duty station. Discover a new world! Welcome to Japan!
All members (Military, DoD Civilian Employees, Contractor, and Single personnel) with command approval endorsement are eligible for off-base housing.
Required Documents: Military Member with Dependents
• Housing application, DD Form 1746
• PCS Orders
• Dependent Entry Approval or Command Sponsorship Approval
• Page 2
• Marriage Certificate (married after arrival member)
• Valid Power Of Attorney (POA) for your spouse or representative if sponsor is absence
Required Documents: Military Single/Geographical Bachelor:
• PCS Orders
• Approval of “Request to Move Off-Base Certification / Authorization” and OHA” approval by Command & Housing
• Valid POA for your representative if sponsor is absence
Required Documents: Civilians
• Housing application DD Form 1746
• DoD Travel Orders & Transportation Agreement DD Form 1617
• Letter of Employment sponsor is absence
• SF 50 (Notification of Personnel Action)
• Valid POA for your spouse or representative
Off Base Housing Process:
• Check-In - briefing with housing counselor. You are required to provide the required documentation.
• House Hunting - There is an available rental listing with house pictures and floor plans at the Atsugi, Housing Service Center located at building 84. All Service members and civilians can work with realtors or landlords to find available housing in the local communities. A list of approved local English speaking realtors with contact information will be provided during individual counseling briefing.
• On average, it can take approximately three to four weeks to secure an off-base rental.
• To ensure your selected home meets Navy housing standards, it will be inspected by the housing inspection team prior to move-in.
• Processing of all financial paperwork (OHA) & schedule move-in date, appliances/temporary furniture delivery, will occur, once the home has passed final inspection. Civilians are required to process their LQA through their servicing Human Resource Office.
• Realtors or landlords will provide assistance with utilities connection/disconnect and deposits.
• Pet Friendly units are limited and have to be approved by Realtor/Landlord prior to occupation.
• Houses selected outside of the radius as determined by the CNIC Housing Market Analysis will not have Appliances and furnishings delivered, therefore these residents must procure their own furnishings for use.
Initial Payment Process:
All newly assigned residents are required to complete any move-in expenses within two weeks from the move-in date, however if you can complete the payment sooner than two weeks or before the move-in date, please do so or contact your landlord. You must ensure that the realtor or landlord is aware of all actions involved to complete the payment process.
Private Rental Lease Agreement:
The Navy standard rental lease is a bilingual form, which is a binding private contract between you and your landlord. It includes a military clause in the event the lease must be terminated for military directed or emergency reasons. When entering into private rental lease agreements, many landlords require additional terms to the lease agreement such as; no pets or pets only outside of the house, furnished or only refrigerator provided, renter’s insurance is required etc.
Please do not make any verbal agreement; this may be a disadvantage for you when you move-in or move-out of your home. In addition, all lease agreements must be approved by the Housing Service Center and members are cautioned NOT to sign a lease agreement containing amendment to the contract unless you are fully aware of the contents. In the event you do not understand the lease contract, the housing staff will review the lease agreement with you and your family.
Please understand, that the contract you enter is legal and binding, and if you violate the terms or conditions of the contract, such as purchase a pet or modify the home without the realtor or landlord’s consent, you, the resident, will be held financially liable for any repair; cleaning or renovation services incurred.
Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA), Living Quarters Allowance (LQA), & Cost of Living Allowance (COLA):
For eligible military members, there is a ceiling set for each pay grade based on with or without dependents.
• OHA – is provided to help offset the cost of “Rent” in Japan.
• Military members receive a Utility Allowance to help offset the cost of utilities.
• COLA - paid by military (to military personnel)
• Civilian members may be authorized Living Quarters Allowance (LQA) when adequate government quarters are not available. The utility allowance is part of the LQA. Civilian employees will receive “Post Allowance” instead of military COLA.
Note 1: For all members, once you moved-in to military family housing, you will forfeit the OHA with utility allowance and/or LQA entitlement. COLA and Post Allowance will continue regardless of your home location.
Costs to Live in Japanese Home:
Local landlords require “four-months” of advance rent. That includes agent’s fee, landlord fee, security deposit, and first month rent. Most homes in the United States, required two-month first month rent, and security deposit. However, the Navy Lease Agreement landlords require “four-months” as move-in expense.
• Move-In Housing Allowance (MIHA), which is agent and landlord’s fee, both are usually one month of monthly rent. MIHA is covered by the Navy and is not reimbursable.
• The military member will be responsible for the security deposit, and first month rent. Security deposit which is reimbursable upon residence termination. The security deposit amount will be returned to you, if there is no damage to the house at move-out.
• All military members will also receive “MIHA Miscellaneous” which is paid by government, one-time only to help the move-in preparation cost to your off-base residence (i.e., gas connection, vehicle parking certificate fee at local police department, purchase curtains, carpets, telephone or internet service, etc.).
• Overseas Housing Allowance, Cost of Living Allowance, and Utility Allowance, Living Quarters Allowance and Post Allowance will help subsidize the cost of living in Japan. Move-in expense can be quite expensive, private rentals range from $1,700 to $3,000 a month. All rent and utility payments bills are paid in “Yen”, the currency in Japan. There are no draft checking accounts in Japan for individuals. If you would like to know more financial information about how to withdraw large amounts of funds and how to make your payments after the occupancy, there are multiple sources to remit payments in Japan. You can ask your realtor, landlord, or a housing counselor during the housing counseling process.
• For pet owners, landlords may require a pet deposit, which the resident is responsible and usually the amount is one-month rent or less. All pets are expected to be on a leash at all times when outside your residence and you are required to clean up after your pet during walks or at a park. You must be able to control your pets at all times. It is strongly discouraged that children under the age of 10-12 years handle dogs outside, due to the possibility of an incident occurring. Please ensure that you understand and adhere to the terms outlined in your private lease agreement for the benefit of you, your family members, or guests residing in your home.
Most of Japanese houses off base are small compared to something you would be entitled to in the United States. You may be surprised by the first look, but you will feel comfortable living in a uniquely Japanese style home. Few private rentals exceed 22,000 square feet (sf) and have limited or no storage. One-story dwellings with four or more bedrooms homes are difficult to find. Very few homes have garden, yard space, garage, or more than two-car parking spaces. They are also usually without an attic and basement.
The number of tatami mats determines each room size and are approximately two inches thick filled with rush covered on both sides by woven straw. The standard bedroom has the size of six tatami mats that are approximately 9 x 12 and a larger master bedroom is the size of eight tatami mats 12 x 12. Newer built homes have one or two tatami rooms, other homes are usually hardwood floors, or have carpet. Most homes have narrow doors, hallways, and narrow staircases (i.e., 29-inch wide doors and staircases).
Oversized furniture is strongly discouraged. In some cases, queen or king-size beds, will not fit upstairs but Japanese movers are very skillful and they will do their best to help move it through the upstairs windows. With the size of the American beds you may feel very cramped utilizing the larger bedding arrangements. Doorframes are often lower, approximately six-feet from floor. The ceiling is approximately eight-feet from floor. Do not bring oversized furniture, major household appliances or too much gear, because it may not fit into the home (i.e., Dining room set with six or more chairs, sectional large couches, piano, etc.). Take advantage of stateside storage.
Closets in bedrooms seldom have bars to hang clothes, and some are called “Oshi—ire” which is divided into upper and lower sections with no place to hang long dresses or coats. One unique bathroom style is the bathtub and shower is in the same room with no toilet, which is called “Ofuro”. Usually there is only one Ofuro space in the some home.
However, you will find some newer homes that have a full bathroom to include shower, sink and toilet space or bathtub, sink and toilet space downstairs or upstairs. Unfortunately, most landlords do not allow dogs in the home. You will have a difficult time finding a suitable off-base house. You should carefully consider bringing your dog or cat until you have obtained adequate off-base housing. Pets are not a consideration for the housing determination process. If you elect to bring your pet and you are unable to obtain housing transportation, kennel expense, and quarantine requirement will become very costly while you are house hunting. Off-base home electric wattage is 100V / 50MHZ and on base wattage is same as the U.S. It is also a Japanese custom to never wear shoes inside any home.
Note 1: Members with large families having a four or more bedroom requirement are advised that suitable housing both on and off base houses are severely limited. Sponsors in this category should consider preceding the family to Japan to find appropriate accommodations.
Note 2: The Housing Service Center will provide you a Dwelling Unit Condition Record that will be required for you to complete. You should carefully walk through your home, check for damages or discrepancies on your move-in date, and return the document to the Housing Service Center to file within seven working days. This will avoid future problem refunding the security deposit when you vacate.
Note 3: As of March 17, 2016, single E-5 and senior personnel are authorized to reside off base with command support and endorsement. You must have at least nine months remaining prior to permanent change of station (PCS).
Japanese Streets & Parking Space:
• Japanese residential streets are generally quite narrow can present a problem driving with large American vehicles. Overnight parking on city streets or local housing neighborhoods is forbidden, and illegal parking in Japan can cause an expensive violation. Your first parking ticket will cost approximately $150 or more in Yen. Please ensure you request an accommodating parking space capable to fit your vehicle. Whether you plan to bring your own car or purchase a car here in Japan.
• Housing recommends that you rent a house that comes with at least one vehicle parking space. Few homes have covered parking, but finding a garage is rare. If the rental home does not come with a parking space, you should ask your agent or landlord to find the nearest parking lot or lease a parking space in close proximity. Ask your landlord if you can include the parking space into your house rent, as long as total amount is under your rental threshold. Please expect to pay at least $100 to $300 in Yen for your monthly parking space.
Government Furniture & Appliances:
Accompanied, Unaccompanied, and DoD Civilians:
• Duration of your tour, the housing office will provide appliances to all eligible members such as a refrigerator, gas range (on-base is electric range only), washer & dryer, and microwave for on and off-base residents. For off-base residents, there will be a gas and/or gas stove connection fee to the local gas company, which is approximately $150 - $200 in Yen. Residents are encouraged to utilize the MIHA funds to help offset this cost.
If you have an issue with government appliances, please contact the housing furniture & appliances section at local # 0467-63-3887/DSN 264-3887. Your Household Goods (HHG) must be in transit to be eligible for temporary furniture.
Temporary loaner furniture is issued to support Service member’s, civilians, and dependents for a period not to exceed 90 days for accompanied and unaccompanied military and Department of Defense civilian personnel. In case of loss or excessive damage, you will be held responsible financially for replacement cost as the housing office does not “repair furniture”. Furniture & appliances are not issued for homes selected outside the Atsugi, Housing Service Center Jurisdiction area of responsibility as designated by U.S. Forces Japan.
• Unfortunately, you are not eligible for government housing or associated issued furnishings and appliances. The housing office will only provide off based realtor contact information, but housing personnel are unable to assist with the house hunting process.