- In Japan, houses where people have died evoke bad associations, making them difficult to sell
- However, some agents have turned “posthumous” houses into businesses
- One expert estimates that the prices of some of these properties could be reduced by up to 50%.
- More such information can be found on the main page of Onet.pl
When Koji Hanahara first entered one of Japan’s “posthumous properties,” he saw a scene of a sad departure. The older man died alone in his apartment. His body was discovered two months later.
Disturbing as it was, it reminded Hanahara why he chose to do what he did. as president Marx Co., a Japanese real estate company that specializes in cleaning, renovating and selling infamous properties, is tasked with bringing these properties back on the market – despite their history.
– I found myself wanting to do this. I realized that my mission is to help as many people as possible – Hanahara said in an interview with Insider.
“Jiko stoop”, or a house with a stigma
The term “jiko stokken”, which means “stigma property” or “accidental ownership” in Japanese, is most commonly used to describe a home that has suffered suicide, murder, or natural death.
– In Japan about 30 thousand. people die alone at home, while 13 thousand. commits suicide, and about 2,000 die as a result of murder or fire, for a total of 45 thousand. kill – lists Hanahara. “Not all properties where people have died are rented or sold, but a large number are,” explains the head of Marks Co.
The difficulty lies not only in thoroughly removing traces of the accident, but also in removing the social stigma that death brings on the property.
“In Japan, many people feel that after a crash, properties are ‘scary’, spooky’ and ‘dirty’ meaning they are barred from the vending machine when bought, Hanahara says.
While most cops don’t want to share macabre details, Hanahara does just the opposite.
After quitting his job at a construction company, he founded his own real estate agency Marks Co. in 2016. on. In 2019, he decided that his specialty would be houses of fame.
The list of places on his company’s Jobutsu Real Estate website includes property descriptions and details of how and when the previous owner died in them. “December 2018 suicide” we read in the tab next to an apartment that is currently worth 26.8 million yen, or $194,857. “The previous owner passed away at home in 2014.” it is listed next to another apartment costing 21.8 million yen.
Death brings the price down
Despite the bad reputation, posthumous properties have advantages: a reduced price.
Hanahara estimates that the cost of properties where some deaths have occurred will fall by 5 to 10 percent. Apartments where suicide has been committed are no less than 20 to 30 percent cheaper. – But the best deal is the houses where the murder took place. They cost up to 50 percent. fewer Hanahara announces.
On Jobutsu’s property for sale page, a 29m2 “posthumous” apartment in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, costs 21.8 million yen. A house with an impeccable reputation of the same size in a similar location is worth 27.6 million yen, according to data from the Japanese platform Utinokati.
For some young families, cheap rent is attractive, regardless of the history of the former owners. The Polish woman, Katarzyna Pawlus-Ono, moved to Japan from Australia in 2019 with her Japanese husband and daughter. They lived in the house in Hanamigawa, Chiba Prefecture, from March 2019 to May 2021, disgraced by the death of the house. – The previous tenant, a young mother, died in the house – says Pawlus-Ono.
– The rent will cost about 25 thousand. yen, half less than usual – says Pawlus-Ono in an interview with Insider. – We paid a year’s rent in advance, because it was half the price before the accident.
For comparison, according to Utinokati’s website, the average monthly rent for an apartment in Hanamigawa is 56 thousand. yen.
– We have positive memories of the apartment there, as our neighbors were fine. They also seemed to enjoy the company. It seemed strange to them that the place was empty for so long – says the Polish woman. However, after a year, the rent returned to the normal price – about PLN 50,000. yen.
Failing to disclose the incident may result in a fine
The amount for renting a property may return to normal over time, but that does not mean that agents no longer have to inform potential tenants about the accident. Japan’s construction transaction law prohibits intermediaries from intentionally withholding facts about the properties they sell, Hanahara explains.
In October, new guidelines from the Department of Lands, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism required intermediaries to disclose deaths if they are high-profile cases or related to a crime, or if circumstances could significantly influence the decision to buy. Agents must also disclose all prior deaths, regardless of their nature, if tenants so request.
Scott Rothman, a technical director from the United States, moved to a “posthumous” studio in Shibuya, Tokyo in September 2017. He lived there for a little over three years.
“I didn’t pay anything for two or three months, and then the rent was greatly reduced,” Rothman told Insider. – The price was much lower than I could ever afford. They even gave me some free appliances from the apartment.
The previous tenant was an old lady who died of natural causes at home. – I considered the pros and cons of living there, but in the end I said to myself, “People have to die somewhere. What’s the difference?” – the American remembers.
I rent a posthumous house
A list of Japanese real estate where the death occurred is on a website called Oshimaland.
The site presents the properties on a map and provides details as well as the date of the event that took place there. – This is not an official list. Anyone can add an item – explains the creator of the site Teru Oshima Insider.
“Owners are motivated to check the site because anything on it negatively affects the prices of their assets,” Oshima says.
– Landlords can email me, post comments, direct messages via Twitter or Facebook or any other means of contacting me to correct the information if it is not true
mark co. receives about two to three notifications of potential real estate offers during the day, most of which come directly from relatives of the deceased. The company is also working with funeral homes and specialty cleaning companies to search for more properties, Hanahara reports.
When it comes to renters living posthumously, the largest number are in the 20- or 30-year-old group and among single women or mothers. And while discounted prices are one of the reasons housing can be attractive (After all, Tokyo is the fourth most expensive city in the world to buy real estate), it’s not all about money.
– When you think of an object after an accident, you expect that the most important asset is money. But these apartments may have other strengths — close to public transportation or a new building,” Hanahara said.
Some real estate agents have reservations about dealing with this type of property.
“There’s some demand, but it’s risky,” Yuki Yanagita, a sales representative at J&F Plaza, who specializes in helping foreigners find a home in Japan, told Insider.
Along with the smaller group of buyers, the entire cleaning of the house is paid for by the agency – something not every company wants to take on, explains Yanagita. People in Japan often associate posthumous housing with paranormal phenomena, he adds.
But the president of Marks Co.Hanahara, doesn’t seem to care. The goal is to intervene and tackle exactly the phase of the process where other companies stay away. – We help anyone who wants to sell their property after an accident. From the moment death occurs there – Hanahara concludes.
Author: Amanda Goho
Translation: Dorota Salus