In Japan, traditionally rent is not raised every year and there are there are only 4 statutorily recognized situations where rent may be adjusted. The Act on Land and Building Leases lists the 4 situations: 1) property taxes have increased or decreased, 2) property values have increased or decreased, 3) some other change in the economic situation, & 4) the rent is inappropriate compared with other properties in the area. Barring one of these 4 situations, rent should not be adjusted either up or down. However, situation #3 (change in economic situation) is very vague and can be used to justify most changes in the amount of rent.
If a tenant in Japan feels that the rent currently being charged is too high, the tenant has the option of negotiating with the landlord for a reduction. However, since rent can only be adjusted in Japan under the specific circumstances listed in the Act on Land and Building Leases, the tenant must prove to the landlord that the potential decrease in rent would be legal. If the landlord refuses, the tenant has the option of pursuing the rent reduction in civil mediation with the landlord. If civil mediation is unable to resolve the dispute, a lawsuit may be filed and a judge will decide the appropriate amount of rent.
If you have any questions about paying rent in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.