Apr 24, 2019

We paid for a professional cleaning and got ...

When my husband and I moved together we had a very interesting experience with the cleaning service. When you move out of an apartment in Japan you usually will not have to clean the apartment yourself. Most rental contracts require it to be cleaned by a professional cleaning service. The fee therefor is either paid by the person leaving or by the person moving in. I guess some property management companies even charge both parties. 

As we were charged a cleaning fee when moving in we were expecting a clean apartment. The time we viewed the apartment it was still quite dirty but we didn’t question that it would be taken care of properly.

On the day of moving we realized that there was a lot of dust and dirt in the entrance area but we were pretty busy with unpacking and arranging our furniture such that we didn’t check more closely. After we settled in and I had a closer look at the bathroom for the first time I saw that it had only been cleaned very superficially. I found spots that probably hadn't been cleaned for quite a while judging from the amount of dirt.

As this was definitely not what we had paid for I made some photos for proof and my husband called the property management company to complain.

We paid for a professional cleaning and got ... photo

This is how a wet sheet looked like after wiping the dirty spots.

The company tried to make excuses at first, saying things like that dust keeps piling up very easily in this apartment, but they finally agreed to send in the cleaning service again. 

When the service arrived we were quite surprised to see an elderly man with pretty cheap-looking cleaning supplies in a bucket. Not exactly what I imagine a professional cleaning service looks like, but you should not judge books by their cover. However, when I showed him the dirty spots he was hardly able to see them because of his bad eyesight. On top of that, after a while he started complaining that he is only getting paid very little and that usually he doesn't have to clean so thoroughly. Doesn’t sound much like Japanese service culture now, does it?

We realized that it was no use to have him keep cleaning so we gave up and cleaned the rest ourselves. At first I was quite upset by the behavior of the cleaning guy but in the end I felt sorry for him. He probably only does this job because he can’t find any other job and the real bad guy here is the management company. They make us pay the fee for a professional cleaning service and instead of hiring such a service they hire a poor guy that works on minimum wage and is not even qualified for the job because of his bad eyesight.

We had some other issues with the property management company as well, e.g. we were promised that a few of the quite old interior items would be replaced before we moved in but they were still the same.

So, I have a pretty bad impression of them by now. Unfortunately, as someone who rents a property, there is not much you can do. The company that manages the properties is chosen by the owner and you basically are first introduced to the company once you have already decided on it. We could technically complain to the owner directly, asking them to switch to another company, but I doubt that they would do so.

The next time we move I will try to find out more about the management company of a property before we decide for one. Have you had similar issues when moving in Japan?



Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/