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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 18 - 24  > JCP urges public housing corporation to pay repair costs for housing interior
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2018 July 18 - 24 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP urges public housing corporation to pay repair costs for housing interior

July 22, 2018

Akahata Sunday edition

The Japanese Communist Party is urging the Urban Renaissance Agency (UR), an incorporated administrative agency that manages 730,000 housing units across Japan, to shoulder the costs for necessary repairs to the interior of the units instead of imposing the costs on tenants.

Under the current rent contracts with the UR, residents are required to pay the costs for repairing 81 items, including tatami mats and fusuma partitions. As the surface of tatami is covered with rush and fusuma is made of wood and paper, they are not durable and are in need of regular repair.

A man who has lived in a UR housing unit in Tokyo with his wife for 30 years said that tatami mats in their apartment are badly damaged and that their surface is blackened and ripped in places. He repeatedly asked the UR to reface them but only in vain. He said that with their pension benefits, they cannot afford the expense of repairs.

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Hatano Kimie took up this issue in May in a meeting of the House of Representatives Special Committee on Consumer Affairs. Citing the revised Civil Code, she demanded that the UR bear more of the repair costs.

The revision made last year to the Civil Code states that landlords should pay the costs of repairing damage that occurred naturally over time. Following this revision, the Land Ministry in March changed the guidelines for rent contracts so that repair costs concerning six items including tatami and fusuma will be covered by landlords. The ministry publishes its sample rent contract in order for landlords and tenants to be able to use it as a reference when signing a lease.

The UR replied to Hatano that in accordance with the Land Ministry’s new model contract, the agency is considering making a change to its template of rent contracts by April 2020 when the revision in the Civil Code will take effect.

Noting that among residents of UR housing units there are many elderly persons and pensioners, Hatano stressed that the agency should stop making tenants pay the repair costs as soon as possible.

Past related articles:
> Fukushima ‘voluntary’ evacuees forced to move out from public housing [December 13, 2017]
> Gov’t plans to sell off 1,109 public housing complexes to private corporations [June 28, 2016]
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