You won’t get your deposit back. It’s as simple as that. Deposits for an apartment are unsurprising; A months rent, which in my case was 70k yen. When my wife got the apartment, we got it through a company called housemate. These types of companies are like a real estate agent plus. The owners give the company a tasty slice of the rent, and then don’t have to ever worry about anything.
My wife and I were determined to get our money back, so we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I have lived in 3 other apartments in Japan, and never once have I got my deposit back. I always knew that process was dodgy, so I had never 100% cleaned. I had always left a little bit of a mess, just because I assumed they wouldn’t give me back the deposit anyways. This time, my wife was determined to get that money back though, so me, her, and her parents went to work on the apartment.
When it was time for the inspection the inspector immediately was surprised that the place was so clean. He even said it was like no one had ever lived there. He looked around for a while and then had my wife sign some papers. After we left, I asked the question “How much did we get back?” The response “nothing.”
I asked my wife to itemize the reasons we got nothing… Here are the reasons:
1) 35k for a cleaning fee. Excessive given the condition we left it in.
2) The tatami had to be replaced. This was us being screwed. After living there for as long as we had, it’s supposed to be replaced at no charge. Too late for me to argue though.
3) this is so absurd, it’s funny. We had to replace all the doors. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the doors by the way. They were in the same condition as the day we got it. Here is where it gets absurd: they told us we had 24 doors that had to be replaced. We actually had only 12 doors, but my wife was told that each door counts as 2 doors, because a door has 2 sides.
So in the end we got nothing. Word of advice though, be very careful when dealing with these sorts of companies. In my case; housemate. If you rent, try to rent directly from the owner.