Airbnb finally legal !

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Born2ski, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    After years of tiptoeing around the law and being told by property owners not to mention the word "Airbnb" to any neighbours, it is finally legal ! Expect an explosion of rentals over the next few years.

    Airbnb Gets Green Light in Japan With Home-Sharing Law's Passage

    Airbnb Inc. will now be able to operate in Japan without the risk of running into regulatory hurdles after the government passed a law that sets out rules for home sharing.

    Japan’s upper house passed a legislative bill on Friday that lets private homes rent out space to paying guests, while limiting total stays to 180 nights a year. The law requires providers of such accommodation to register with local governments and lets local authorities impose their own restrictions.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...ight-in-japan-with-home-sharing-law-s-passage
     
  2. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons Dedicated Member
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    ...you do know that AirBnB charge the guests between 6-12% booking fees based on the owners rates.
     
  3. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    I thought it was actually more ! But what other choices do you have for Japan ?

    Even with the booking fees Airbnb often still come out cheaper than the travel agents, Booking.com or the big hotel chains. If you have another owner direct option for Japan please let me know. :)
     
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  4. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    Now what needs to happen is for a consistent way of directing guests to the right place!!
     
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  5. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki Dedicated Member
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    Last time I was in Japan I took the advice of someone in the know ;)
     
  6. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    More relevant to Australia but Airbnb and Uber have both added significantly to the black economy, lots of mums and dads that consider it a hobby and plead ignorance or just refuse to declare their income.No wonder they can be really competitive .
    And everyone else just looks the other way with the cheap deals.
     
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  7. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    A pin on Google maps ?

    I always know exactly what building I'm going to long before I even arrive in Japan. When you've got a wife and two young kids in tow getting lost is not an option.
     
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  8. Any

    Any Active Member

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    i agree it is pretty dodgy all the cash deals going on, but there has always been people taking cash and always will be. not as if airbnb invented it. worst case, airbnb is moving the dodgyness from one place to another. except theyre more controlled and dont reward the actual scammers. plus the better prices will encourage more travel, and im certain the tourism industry wont complain about that.
    what is criminal is booking/property management agencies taking 50%, a huge mixup in the market is certainly needed. eventually itll settle somewhere in between. otherwise the customer will always lose.

    all of my airbnb stays have been real easy. a google maps point, step by step pictures of the street and entrance, and a pin locked little safe thing for a key in case the owner wasn't home. i assumed it was standard.
     
  9. currawong

    currawong Old And Crusty
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    The tourism industry is largely made up of the accommodation places that airbnb is undercutting
     
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  10. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    You may have been lucky!!!! ;)

    I had some friends to Tokyo on the way in, then later they were staying Airbnb in Tokyo at the end of their trip.....
    So we sussed out the place first up, using Google maps.
    We got to the right place, but there was only a shop front there. The broken English Airbnb instructions said to go up to the 3rd floor.... But there was just a restaurant and no stairs. It turned out that you had to walk 30m to a side street, then a lane, then another lane that ended up at the back outside stairs, where you could go to the 3rd floor, which was the only access to the other floors. They were to be heading in around 11:30pm, so they couldn't ask anybody as the shop would have been closed.

    I've seen two other occasions where the same situation applied. It's the right location, but the instructions are too vague to easily find the way in. There's lots of cases in Tokyo, where multi floor buildings have a shop front entrance just on the ground (1st) floor, but another entrance at the back, maybe 50-60m away, around the back.
     
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  11. Any

    Any Active Member

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    doh! that'd be real fun to find at night after 24 hours travelling with no sleep and your brain doesn't work anymore and carrying around luggage.
     
  12. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons Dedicated Member
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    Wrong. AirBnB pay into your bank account. No cash to be seen anywhere. Very easy for ATO to audit.
     
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  13. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    For me I would have done a Google street view before leaving home to find the stairs. If I couldn't find them on street view I would have contacted the owner asking where the stairs are. But I know I'm not normal, I do a vast amount of research before I even book a place.
     
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  14. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    No , most people just dont declare it as income, they know the rules, your not dealing with a business .
    In many cases ,they are not ran as investment properties , so the ATO has very little to go on.
    In many cases they cannot even cross-match between the type of loan, deductions and profit , because they are no deductions, and it was never initially set up with an investment loan.
    The wont even have D.A approval with the local shire council , so the ATO cannot cross-match with local shires
    And because they dont have D.A approval they dont even know fire safety regulations for short term property rentals.
    In N.S.W , they include yearly inspections with a hard wired smoke detector, that also require a form to be submitted to Fire and Rescue N.S.W.
     
    #14 WaitAwhile, Aug 11, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  15. travelislife

    travelislife Dedicated Member
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    That's pretty cheap. You do know standard hotels is somehwere between 15-25% through something like booking.com.
     
  16. cin

    cin Part of the Furniture
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    Our neighbourhood has an action group going called neighbours not strangers
    They don't like airbnb, clearly LOL
    I can see their point but honestly don't have time
    There are so many action groups in my neighbourhood
     
  17. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons Dedicated Member
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    So, book at your own risk, regarding probable eviction and a fire trap death wish. Legit holiday/investment homes are very different to somebody renting out their private home or bedroom, of which is no different to everyday people trading second-hand goods with cash. eg. garage sales.
     
  18. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons Dedicated Member
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    No different to owners adding all their costs from cleaning to power bills, built-into the basic tariff, before external booking fees are added.
     
  19. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    But you dont book at your own risk , if something goes horribly wrong you go straight to the lawyers, and because the owner did not meet fire safety standards and have approval , they dont have a leg to stand on.
    The issue with fire safety regulations in short stay accommodation being of a higher standard is because you might only be there for a night or two , and in many cases you would struggle to find and exit in a smoke filled house.
    Its not like living in your own house, where you could close you eyes and and find your own way to the front or rear door.
    You are also using heaters and stoves/ cooktops that you not familiar with,and trust me, people can be pretty stupid sometimes when it comes to using heaters and cooking appliances that they are unfamiliar with.
     
  20. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons Dedicated Member
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    Yeah, like unplugging from single power point and plugging a 2500kw panel heater into a friggin power board extension shared by other appliances, so they can move it closer to the lounge they are sitting on. :eek:
     
  21. pedub

    pedub Well-Known Member

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    To be honest RE finding the place, never had a problem
    Also, IMO you would be a bit dim to expect to turn up to a place on Airbnb (i.e. not a commercial hotel/accom) without having a direct contact number for the host and be in good contact with them before you arrive.
    These days its easy to get a local sim and wifi and get direct messaging or even calling on whatsapp / LINE / similar (LINE is big in Japan so ask if they have it)

    I've found Japanese will always try to help you even if they can't understand you, they'll sort it out.
     
    #21 pedub, Aug 11, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
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  22. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    Sometimes I use Airbnb and other times hotels - it depends on the experience I want
     
  23. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    The only reason you would be paying 50% in fees is because it has gone through 2 or 3 resellers.
    A standard property manager that handles the booking ,deals with complaints ,runs their own website,takes the money, deals with maintenance issues and co-ordinates/organises with cleaners and linen changes and do inspections will charge between 17% and 25% , if that property is then also listed on Stayz ,they add about another 10%, same with airbnb, about 12%, or Bookings.com, others like ski and save would add a lot more.
     
  24. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    Calling them can be a problem because so few people in Japan speak English.
     
  25. JoeKing

    JoeKing Part of the Furniture
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    Not in my experience. Haven't used Airbnb but for everything else, wherever I've gone and if there were a problem, there has always been some random nearby who can translate/mediate. Or someone a phone call away.
     
  26. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    You'll find that in areas where tourists will go, there is often be a higher proportion of English speakers. But once you head into normal Japan (and that will often include Airbnb owners), the English rate is very low. Statistics seem to indicate a English fluency rate of less than 1%, based on EIKEN Test pass rates (Grade 1 is equivalent to TOEFL score of 600).
    Even for a foreign company in Japan where I work, I'd say that maybe 15% of Japanese speak pretty good English, (maybe 5% close to fluent).... but most of the other 80-85% speak very little English.
     
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  27. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    We have been to Japan a number of times , on ski holidays , but we would also do a bit away from the resorts , and do stuff ourselves, just using all the local transport options on non-organised trips and on some occasions it was quite challenging, sometimes we never even made it to our intended destination for that day,but for us that is all part of travelling in a foreign speaking country that has limited english speakers. But get away from the big tourist areas, I would totally agree with Sandy.
    What was also mentioned to us once ,was that many do learn it in school, but get very little opportunity to actually speak it outside of a classroom, and as a result after a few years many do not even feel comfortable speaking it again.
     
  28. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    Actually, EVERYONE learns English at school!!!! But they get NO opportunity to SPEAK it in CLASS!!!!
    i.e. The kids write English words in Japanese (Katakana), without initially knowing what they even mean!! Then later at school, they write English without speaking it. So once out of school, any written English is forgotten, and any speaking English was never actually done! That's why English Conversation schools thrive.
     
  29. WaitAwhile

    WaitAwhile Dedicated Member
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    Nothing beats talking to an "american" in Europe with a texas drawl , only to find out later that he is from Sweden or Norway , but as many young kids do in Europe , they will go and live with a host family overseas in their teens to improve their foreign language skills and do more English classes at the same time.
    Its really big business right through Europe during their summer break and they will spend a month ,with a host family , say in the U.K and do additional english speaking classes a few times a week.
    Once they have spent a reasonable amount of time there, it stays with them for the rest of their life, and they become quite comfortable at actually having conversations in that particular language.
     
    #29 WaitAwhile, Aug 12, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  30. essjaywhy

    essjaywhy Active Member

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    in Japan , house addresses are numbered based on the construction date of the building ; ... utterly illogical for gringos trying to work out where their address will actually be,
    so the japanese are well used to providing manga styled maps for your accommo, now you just need to interpret those ...
     
  31. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    No, it's not done that way.....

    It's based on city, ward, district/town, then location. Often in cities, the location is a 3 number block (like 3-7-2), but not always. Mine is just a number and building, not block. That info will often get you within 30m, but if you don't have a building name, it might be further
     
  32. JoeKing

    JoeKing Part of the Furniture
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    Building numbers in Japan.

    :headbang:
     
  33. pedub

    pedub Well-Known Member

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    I just totally ignore the address :p I can only go on maps and pictures
    I agree if you try to call up your Airbnb host you may end up talking to a wall (if you cant speak Japanese)
    I guess i was mostly talking about instant messaging - they can generally write English well enough to help you
    If not, you can send them a picture showing them your situation!! :D
    Tasukete kudasai = Help me please!

    There is no doubt they will help you as much as they can!
    My most difficult experience was actually at a hotel, not Airbnb
    In Asahikawa trying to find out where/how I can park
    Even though it was so difficult for them, I could tell they they would not give up until I was sorted, and eventually they sent a guy to lead me all the way on foot to the carpark :)
     
  34. essjaywhy

    essjaywhy Active Member

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    Google " japanese street address 'building number'"
    Then correct your post
     
  35. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    Google doesn't only say that, because it doesn't always work that way. Where I live in Yokohama, my street has no name (no street address), and my building has no number.
     
  36. Jacko4650

    Jacko4650 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, very hard to compete against people who dont have proper licencing, town planning approval and the myriad of compliance requirements (costs) that go with it. It seems harmless enough to allow someone to "ride share" their car and pretend they are not doing a taxi function or to let somebody "share their house" and pretend it is not an accommodation service but if they do it for one or two industries, why not them all? Surely that would be fair? "Sharing" alcohol, your body, the yummy food you whip up out back, childcare, aged care, come to mind. Why have regulations at all? I hate regulations, but try imagining when you are hamstrung by them and a competitor next door isn't?
    Our local Council has extorted over $100million from local caravan parks for D.A. fees alone and then takes another $600,000 a year in fees & charges but then allows 'friends' of Councillors to compete for free, undercutting our prices by more than 70%. Funny thing is they wont refund our money so we can go compete in other industries to repay our debts!
     
  37. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    This is the big issue. Over the top exorbitant taxes from governments. I don't have a problem with some regulation in an industry but when you're charging $500,000 for a taxi licence it's no longer about regulation. I hope Uber and Airbnb shake the market up and can reduce the government ripoffs.
     
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  38. M_G

    M_G Dedicated Member
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    I've deleted Uber off my phone after one terrible abortive attempt to use it. Used AirBnB only twice because there was no other real choice. Why? Because it's meant to be 'sharing economy' but what it has really morphed into is a legal way to drive prices and income down. Drivers are paid peanuts and have no real certification to do what they do, plus there's no holidays, no sick leave, no super, etc. With AirBnB people don't have to have any licences, no fire certification, etc. etc. Then owners are constantly bombarded with messages, "You need to cut your prices", "Your competitors are 40% of your rate", etc. So they are driving down rates, sure, but the long term game will look pretty ugly. It's a complete wild west capitalist con game.
     
  39. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Funny how when something like Airbnb becomes popular it's suddenly a problem that needs to be fixed , but booking owner direct accommodation and home sharing has been around for ages. I remember booking owner direct stays back in the 1990s when I use to visit New Zealand. This style of accommodation is nothing new, it's just the secrets now out.
     
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  40. M_G

    M_G Dedicated Member
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    Oh yeah, certainly not new but the model and scale is different. The knock on from that is enormous.
     
  41. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman Addicted Member
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    Not to mention when you add all the fees , cleaning , booking , etc . AND a lot of the time the decor is a bit tired , no nice crisp sheets , cleanliness not up to par ....... It can be a bit of a disappointment , or the one time we used it in New York it was .
     
  42. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    While part of the attraction of Airbnb might be lower costs the other big factor is that it offers a style of accommodation you just can't get in most of Japan - Self contained apartments.

    I recently booked an apartment in Tomamu, but the ONLY way to get an apartment there was by booking direct with an owner, there is no other way (that I could find). The other options were a hotel room or limited lodge style accommodation a few kilometres away. And I've experienced the same in many other parts of Japan. Try getting a place with a kitchen in Yuzawa or Naeba that is NOT owner direct, it's nearly impossible.
     
  43. Any

    Any Active Member

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    airbnb may be cheaper because youre not paying for some corporate fatcat to swim in the profits. but you still get what you pay for. the whole industry mixup goes both ways; customers need to realize they need to pay for quality.
    airbnb review system seems better than some abstract star rating based on weather or not the room has a tv or not. even the customer gets a review also.
     
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  44. skichanger

    skichanger Dedicated Member
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    Whilst there are apartment blocks at lots of resorts in Japan, generally the apartments themselves are privately owned and are governed by a body corporate type entity. Owners are beginning to let them out via Airbnb as there are no checks about hotel licenses and meeting safety requirements. Some body corporates choose to ignore this, others don't and try to stop the private lettings.

    BTW with the new rules these places will be meant to register with the local government and meet any restrictions imposed by local authorities.
     
  45. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    And a lot of those apartments just sit empty most of the time slowly falling apart. I couldn't believe how many apartments there are around Naeba and Yuzawa, what a waste.

    At least with the new rules it's now legal and this waste of resources can start being used. Might even help bring the property market back to life in Japan. ;)
     
  46. JoeKing

    JoeKing Part of the Furniture
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    My understanding with much empty property is the banks own them. If that's true I wonder if the cost of fixing up the run down plus someone having from the bank chasing foreign tennants.... seems like a lot of effort.
     
  47. skichanger

    skichanger Dedicated Member
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    In the past the banks/management companies were unlikely to offer them for rent as that would involve breaking the law unless they got a hotel license.

    The new rules may make it easier for them to sell off foreclosed properties to people wanting to use Airbnb. But there are still some hoops to jump through to do it legally. And there will be some body corporate rules to deal with as well.
     
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  48. TACKIE

    TACKIE Dedicated Member
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    Not sure if the Local Govt are too interested in policing this. There are plenty of foreign owned places that would not have the relevant licences (hotel and food ) or current Fire Safety Cert.
     
  49. skichanger

    skichanger Dedicated Member
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    Depends who and where you are. ;) And in some places there are different rules for locals, sigh, so frustrating when you are trying to do the right thing.
     
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  50. pedub

    pedub Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree.
    It goes both ways.
    Buildings and accommodation should be up to scratch in terms of safety regardless of who is staying in them. The owner, the renter, or the casual tourist.
    And sometimes I don't want somebody to come and clean up my room everyday, I'll do it myself if I can save money that way...