In Japan, maintenance responsibilities of a leased property are split between the landlord and the tenant. The landlord is generally responsible for major maintenance, while the tenant should carry out minor maintenance.
Tenants are responsible for the minor maintenance at their own cost, including the following:
- Standard Care: tenants must keep the property sanitary and tidy, and dispose of garbage properly.
- Cleaning Filters and Vents: including A/C filters, wall vents, bathroom vents, and washer/dryer vents.
- The wall vent type shown below is for mold prevention. The filter inside can be cleaned as necessary.
- Replacing Light Bulbs: bulbs should be working at move-in, however replacements are up to the tenant.
- Replacing Batteries: this includes for remote controllers (A/C, lighting, etc.), gas range (if it exists in the property and requires a battery), for toilet controllers (for washlet type toilets – if the battery runs out, toilets may have to be flushed mechanically per the user manual instructions until the battery is replaced), etc.
- Garden Weeding: only if there is a garden, and should be quite minor
- Notification Duty: tenants must notify the landlord when they will be going on long trips (generally over 30 days) or if there is any major issue that arises in the property (fire, leak, etc.).
Landlords are responsible for major maintenance at their cost, including the following:
- Structural Repairs: if there is a water leak or other structural issue, it should be fixed by the landlord.
- Appliance Repairs: the landlord will maintain included appliances. In case appliances are specified as “leftover items” from a previous tenant, the landlord is not responsible for any repair costs.
- Trimming of Trees: usually performed once or twice a year, only if there is a garden
Failure to provide timely notice on an issue can lead to tenant costs; e.g. if an A/C is leaking, the landlord must repair it, but if the tenant only gives notice after the leak has caused water damage to the wall, the associated renovation costs can be charged to the tenant. Similarly, damage to appliances resulting from misuse or improper maintenance (such as damage to an A/C from clogged filters) could also be charged to the tenant.