Akiya and Turning It into a Hotel?
Uncover the Legal Considerations
for Change of Use
If you’re mulling over the idea of buying an Akiya (unused house) in Japan
and converting it into a hotel, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself
with the legal considerations involved in modifying the property’s purpose.
In this blog post, we’ll highlight the primary aspects you need to
keep in mind before diving into this thrilling endeavor.
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In Japan’s condominium industry, there are some serious issues.
In 2015, there was a huge scandal involving the condo complex called
“Park city La La Yokohama” developed by Mitsui Fudosan.
Mitsui Fudosan is the top developer in Japan.
Construction based on false data was carried out in October 2015, and a scandal where the building was inclined was discovered because the plurality of piles did not reach the appropriate depth in the ground. Safety for earthquake resistance was suspected.Read more
We don’t need to tell you about the brilliance of Japan quality: detailed, good service and competitive price etc etc. But for how good Japan quality in general is, it’s equally easy to screw up. Badly.
Japan’s real estate industry and construction industry are full of fraudulent companies.
A number of them are rogue (of course, there are good and trustworthy companies, too.)
You need to be very careful to deal with them.
When you build your brand-new house in Japan, you must be extra mindful because it could be a disaster if it goes wrong.
It is widely known to the industry professionals that the laws are not necessarily protecting the consumers
Why is the owner (consumer) in so disadvantageous position ?
There are five main reasons.
1.The industry is not seeking a repeat business so they don’t look after customers well
2. High overhead cost
3. The related laws have many loopholes
4. The owner(customer) trusts the contractor (real estate agents and builders included) too much
5. Victim’s tragic stories are not widely reported in the media.
(kominka in snow)
* Foreigners can buy a property in Japan without having special qualification.
Do you want to be close to beautiful Japanese mountain with your pet ? Or you love skiing ? Want to spend your weekend in real Zen（禅） surroundings with onsen(hot spring 温泉) within 15 mins drive ? Living in kominka could be a good choice.
The term kominka （古民家）refers to traditional Japanese houses, especially ones built a long time ago.
Kominka are not defined by the period they were built or how old they are, but usually the term is used when referring to houses built before the World War II, and especially to those built before the Taisho Period.
We have recently made the strategic collaboration agreement with a renowned kominka renovation specialist(工務店) in Nagano prefecture.We will find an appropriate kominka for the investors or conventional home buyers and renovate outside and inside the house into the pristine condition. We have a list of 100+ kominka properties for sale/rental.
If you want to buy kominka, it is essential to pay attention to what you are doing as you purchase a very unique Japanese traditional house. You want to get this right.
While inspecting any property is important, it becomes even more uppermost to check for defects found in second-hand property especially akiya (空き家abandoned houses)
In Japan’s real estate industry, it is generally assumed that there are four types of risks of ‘defects’ （瑕疵）the industry professionals usually recognize.
They are physical defects, psychological defects, environmental defects
and legal defect (issues).
1. What is a physical defect?
Physical flaws are situations where the building leaks, termites occur, and the earthquake resistant strength is insufficient.
Some common physical issues
For example, with 8 million akiya (Abandoned house, 空き家),
old houses are usually very affordable in Japan these days. However, those old houses could also come with a lot of issues that you may not be prepared for.
What seems like a great deal at first may ultimately cost much more than you originally thought.
It is always recommended to do your research before investing in real estate, particularly when the property in question is old property.
The following checklist will give you an idea of what issues to watch out for when buying a second-hand property especially an older home.
Due diligence always pays off.
You want to avoid common physical defects, problems with the construction structure.
In light of the surging inbound tourists, Japanese and foreign developers and hotel companies have stepped up construction, with names like Hyatt, Marriott, Nomura Real Estate Development and Mitsui Fodosan building new accommodations.
We have been increasingly receiving the inquiries from overseas investors about the properties in Kyoto for vacation rentals.
Generally speaking, lots of investments money to build the hotel and private lodging are flooding in Kyoto now from both inside and outside Japan and therefore the good properties with hotel license tend change hands very quickly.
There are very attractive investment opportunities for foreign investors in Kyoto properties.
I am going to discuss the opportunities of vacation rental in Kyoto today.
Let me start with the recap on the inbound tourism market in Japan, in particular, Kyoto.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan rose 19% to a record of nearly 29 million in 2017.
The government set the road to the target of 40 million by 2020 when Tokyo will host the Olympics.
Spending by foreign visitors rose 18% to ¥4.4 trillion ($40 billion).
Tourists have transformed the face of the nation’s cities, crowding into popular destinations such as the Ginza shopping area in Tokyo, temples in the ancient capital of Kyoto and ski
areas during the winter.
For example, the number of American visitors rose 11% in 2017 to 1.24 million which accounts for about 4% of the total.
There are risks associated with any investment – loss of capital, finance, leverage and liquidity risks and so on.
Not like buying the paper assets such as REITS, many of these are only relevant to the direct investment (where the investor invests, owns and has control over the real estate asset).
This article will highlight the main risks associated with investing in real estate in Japan and provides commentary on how to analyse and mitigate these risks.
Today I am going to discuss the risks at time of acquisition.
Unlike regulated industries such as accounting and financial planning, working for a property company (as distinct from working as a traditional real estate agent),
does not require a great deal of education, experience, or study prowess. Marketing investment property requires nothing really but the ability to sell.
That is one of the reasons why there are unlicensed (often rogue )
‘property consultants’ in Japan.
Engaging in the marketing activity to lure the investors without holding a license is against the
Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Law. If your consultant or agent do not hold
the license, your contract is not protected by the said law.
For more information, please see my post on February 11, 2018.
Are there any rogue real estate agents in Japan ?
At the end of the day, even the good agents cannot guarantee the success of the investment and thus investors must learn the risks and returns
before they make a investment.