Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Japan: Law on Renting Rooms in Private Homes to Tourists

(June 16, 2017) On June 8, 2017, the Diet (Japan’s parliament) passed a bill that allows people to rent out rooms of their homes to tourists for profit.  The new law, the Home-Sharing Business Act, was promulgated on June 16, 2017.  (Home Sharing Business Act, Act No. 65 of 2017, KANPO [OFFICIAL GAZETTE], Extra Ed., No. 128 (June 16, 2017), p. 39 (in Japanese) (scroll down page to view beginning of Act No. 65.)

Background

The Hotels and Inns Act requires persons who operate hotels and inns to obtain permits from the government and imposes other requirements as well.  (Hotels and Inns Act, Act No. 138 of 1948, amended by Act No. 47 of 2016, art. 3, E-GOV (in Japanese).)  Persons who repeatedly rent rooms in their homes to strangers in exchange for money are subject to the Hotels and Inns Act.  (Q & A on Home Sharing Services and Hotels and Inns Act, Q4, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website (in Japanese).)

However, many individuals have reportedly been engaging in this business without permits and, because some renters make noise at night, neighbors have opposed the operation of such businesses in their neighborhoods.  (Home Sharing Law Enacted, Report Is Required, May Be Enforced January 2018, NIKKEI (June 9, 2017) (in Japanese).)  The new law eases the regulation of those home-sharing businesses and will provide a legal framework for their operation.  (Id.)

The New Law

Under the new law, people who wish to rent out rooms in their homes must report each property used as a home-sharing business to the prefectural government that has jurisdiction over the properties.  (HomeSharing Business Act, art. 3.)  Individuals who have a criminal record, have a record of previous violations of relevant laws, or who are gang members are prohibited from conducting a home-sharing business.  (Id. art. 4.)

Home-sharing business operators must explain to their guests the need to suppress loud noises and observe certain other norms in order to avoid disturbing neighbors.  The explanation must be given to foreign guests in the relevant foreign language.  (Id. art. 9.)  The Act also states that home-sharing business operators must respond to complaints from neighbors promptly.  (Id. art. 10.)  Home-sharing business operators must periodically report the number of days that guests stayed and other matters to the prefectural governor.  (Id. art. 14.)  Home-sharing business operators must not rent out their rooms for a total of more than 180 days per year.  (Id. art. 2, ¶ 3.)

Prefectural governors can order home-sharing business operators to take measures to improve their business operation.  If a business violates such orders, the governor can suspend the operation of the business for up to one year.  (Id. art. 16.)  In addition, violators of the Act may be subject to criminal sanctions.  (Id. arts 72-79.)

Agencies that provide home-sharing contracts, such as Airbnb, must register with the Tourism Agency of Japan.  (Id. art. 46.)