Moving In: Paperwork
In the earlier post I shared about how to choose apartment. After you had found one, then what?
If you already decided on which place to and date of moving in, the housing agent will give you a summary of the place and breakdown of first payment. The agent will also give you list of phone numbers of service providers you should contact (e.g. gas, water, electricity, internet).
2. Inform your dormitory office
Preparing for moving out is as important as moving in. If you failed to settle this under the right time, you might still have to pay for the dormitory although you no longer live there. It takes some time for the dormitory office to settle your business upon your checking out, so give it 2 weeks prior your moving out date. I will suggest the room checking to be done the day after moving out.
After the dormitory officer checked your room, you will be cleared to visit the dormitory head office to get your deposit refund (unpaid rent, bills and surcharge will be deducted from the deposit) if any. If you are moving out from dormitory not during new enrolment, this refund will not take more than 1 week from your clearance. In my case, it was the same day.
This is always needed, along with insurance money. If you are a foreign student, mostly the International Student Office will be your guarantor. Submit the paper you receive from your realtor to the office, they will give you a form for you and your academic supervisor to fill in.
In some cases, your academic supervisor may be your direct guarantor, but this is generally not advised, as s/he will be the sole party to take responsibility of you. If you could not follow the terms agreed or there is a damage done and you could not afford, s/he will be the one paying for you. Very risky. Thus the International Student Office steps in.
To get the office’s approval, you will have to get your supervisor’s approval and pay insurance money to the office through an account. The office will tell you the detail of payment procedure based on which konbini (convenient store) of your choice to pay at. Surely, choose the closest one to your current residence. After submitting the form and proof of insurance payment (for University of Tsukuba’s foreign students, it’s ¥4,000 a year, you will have to renew for the following period), the International Student Office will issue a guarantee paper along with a notification paper for your academic supervisor.
4. Get a contract
Submit guarantor’s paper to your realtor to get your contract prepared. The realtor will call you when the document contract is ready. There will be 2 sets: one for the realtor and one for you. Fill in the marked blanks with your information. If you already have inkan/hanko (seal, name stamp), use it.
5. Complete the guarantor’s side
Bring both set to the International Student Office, for they as the guarantor also have to fill in the marked blanks. Make sure none is left.
6. Submit your signed contract
Bring both set back to your realtor’s office. They will inspect through the documents to make sure everything is right. Some people might have different arrangement such as ‘free one month’ deal or ‘delayed payment’ with the agent or landlord based on what both parties can afford. It will be on case to case basis, be sure to settle this first before the contract is submitted.
7. Payment & key
Depends on which approved day you have with your realtor, make payment and you shall receive the key of your apartment.
You might get constant reminder from your realtor and student office about being very careful on settlement of things. No need to get annoyed, because we DO forget things. Just get through and check the list. You will not want to spend your first night without electricity during winter.
8. Move in!
You will need help. Make sure you have a good relationship with your fellow students so it is not difficult for you to ask for their kind help on this time. You can use the moving service or you can use a friend’s (who has car) service. Settle this far before your moving time.
9. Change of address
You HAVE to report your change of address. Come to city hall with your residence card AND health insurance card. Make it one stop and not having to come again for the other card. This change will be recorded on your card. And only after changing the stamped address on residence card we will be able to visit other places. Here is the list:
- Bank(s). If you are Monbukagakusho (or other) scholar, make sure the bank account which receives your scholarship fund is the priority.
- Post office. The officer will give you a form for you to fill in with your old and new address (and phone numbers). Bring your residence card along.
- International Student Office. If you had submitted this notice on your last visit during guarantor’s approval issuance, then no problem. The university HAS to know where your residence is, or they will not be able to help you sort your problem in the future. In case you are a Tsukuba university student, you have to change your address (and or cellphone) through TWINS by yourself.
- Cellphone provider (if you are under service contract). Their type of mails are un-forwardable. If you forgot to inform them, you might receive a mail or text asking about why their mails are returned.
- Your embassy. Well, they surely need to know where the citizens are. In case of emergency or disaster, your known whereabouts will ease the embassy.
- Others. Make sure you remember your new address and how to write it in kanji 😀
10. Settle your billing
Even after the list? Yes. Automated payment directly from your bank account might be needed for: rent, electricity, gas, water, phone, etc. Depends on the arrangement. Make clear which is which and what is the fee for payment (yes, there might be). You can ask your realtor agent’s help to settle.
Ensure and recheck. Simply because it is not your home country, everything is in Nihongo and written in kanji, so you might overlook or misunderstand something.
Sounds tiring? Good heavens it is 🙂 So be patient and follow through. Fussing is useless. It will discourage people (moreover the Japanese people who don’t speak English) from helping you.
So, get your list ready 🙂
Sorry for no photos for this. My address is all over the documents ::laugh::