Tokyo Landlords Lose Century-Old ‘Gift Money’ as Rents Slump

Tokyo Landlords Lose Century-Old ‘Gift Money’ as Rents Slump

Toshiyuki Aizawa/Bloomberg

A woman walks past advertising billboards for rented apartments put up outside a real estate agent in Tokyo. “Reikin,” or “gift money,” a non-refundable fee on top of a deposit and any broker fees that has helped boost landlords’ earnings since at least 1897, is the latest victim of a slump in the market in the world’s second-most expensive city. Rents in Tokyo’s five central wards fell to an average 4,165 yen per square meter in June, the lowest since the Japan Real Estate Institute started tracking prices in 1998.