- One Japanese company is looking for a team of reviewers to live in its properties for three months at a time.
- The rent is only $200 for an entire seaside home in Chiba, just one hour from Tokyo’s city center.
- In exchange for the low rents, the reviewers must provide feedback and make social media posts on their stays.
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That isn’t a pipe dream, because one Japanese home rental company is opening up spots for 20 lucky people to live in the seaside town of Chiba for three months.
Japanese pop culture site Sora News 24 first reported on the program started by rental company Hobimo, which started taking applications this month. It is looking for 10 groups of two people each to reside in its seaside properties.
During the stint, the reviewers will have to live in one of the company’s properties in Chiba, which is an hour out from Tokyo. And if relaxing in a huge beachfront home somehow isn’t enough of a lure, the prefecture has loads to offer – including two Disney parks, a 40-mile coastline of sandy beaches, and plenty of spots for hiking, including up the scenic Mount Nokogiri.
Throughout the review period, the teams are required to provide feedback to the company on the property and document their three-month stay on social media. In exchange for their work, rent will only cost a reviewer $181 per month.
It’s a pretty sweet deal, considering that 300 square-foot two-bedroom apartments in the Chiba prefecture are going for around $450 to $600 a month.
Hobimo advertises its properties on its Facebook page as repurposed akiya, or unoccupied houses. The company’s website notes that it has properties in the Shizuoka, Yamagata, Hyogo, Kochi, and Miyazaki prefectures too. These houses are a little pricier, though, and go for around $360 a month, utilities included.
One property in Shizuoka, for instance, boasts gorgeous mountain views from its onsen-style bath.
The company is also offering these cheap rental rates while akiya located in the Japanese countryside are being sold off for a couple of hundred dollars each. Cities like Tochigi and Nagano have “akiya banks” run by the municipal governments, which lists vacant homes for as low as $455.
These attempts to get people into empty homes come while Japan faces a glut of some 8.4 million empty and abandoned homes, some of them crumbling and in derelict condition. Insider reported this June on the phenomenon in Wakayama, where the city’s government is struggling with a fast-declining population and attempting to fill the staggering 18.8% of empty homes across the prefecture.