Jiko Bukken, Japan’s “black properties” (事故物件じこぶっけん) are apartments with discounted rent, due to a negative past which might have a psychological impact on the current tenants.

These black properties, also called psychologically harmful properties (心理的瑕疵物件しんりてきかしぶっけん), include apartments where the previous occupants died an unnatural death, due to murder, suicide, neglect, illness or fire, for example. Also under this title are apartments which were related to negative activity, for example, once being owned by a cult, or even owned by a criminal gang like the yakuza. Finally, apartments in an unpleasant location, like ones built near a crematorium, or over a well, might be classified as jiko bukken. However, if you, like the Ghostbusters, “ain’t afraid of no ghosts” then these apartments can save you a lot on rent.

If you’re deciding whether or not to rent a Jiko Bukken, or if you want to make sure you don’t accidentally rent one, read on, we cover everything you need to know!

Pros of Renting a Jiko Bukken

1. Cheap Rent

Jiko Bukken are generally very cheap, for at least 1 year. The rent can be as much as 40% cheaper than equivalent apartments. This means you’ll probably be able to afford a better location or a larger place. Often other fees like cleaning and * will also be waived, making these apartments cheaper to move in to.to pay extra fees like cleaning* or * normally.

2. Refurbished Rooms

A jiko bukken apartment is likely to be newly refurbished after any unsavory incidents, as well as being throughly cleaned by professionals. After accidents, if there was any damage to the apartment, the rooms will be fixed and up to code. So should be no danger of a jiko bukken having any physical defects.

Apartments with physical defects which have not been repaired, like termites, flood damage etc. are not classified as jiko bukken, instead they are called wakeari bukken (訳あり物件). Real estate agents are required to tell you if an apartment is a wakeari bukken and tell you in detail about any physical damages to the property.

3. Ghostly Friends

You might get an invisible roommate. If you’re a fan of the supernatural, horror films, and haunted houses, then perhaps you would enjoy living in a place that’s purportedly haunted. If nothing else, you’ll get a great story to share!

Cons of Renting a Jiko Bukken

1. Safety Considerations

Before renting a jiko bukken, it’s best to find out why it’s considered as such, as the reason it is considered as such could relate to the potential safety of the apartment. If the cause of death was a random murder, how safe is the current apartment? Were locks improved around the windows and doors? And is the neighborhood generally safe? Or, if it was once a gathering place for yakuza, have all the yakuza left the surrounding area? You’ll need to check with your real estate agent about any safety concerns and think carefully about any potential risks.

2. Your Neighbours Might Avoid You

Your neighbors will likely find you a bit odd since they’ll know you purposefully rented a place with an unsavory reputation. Especially in a country like Japan, where social norms are very important, being associated with a stigmatized place will have a negative effect on you. But then again, if you look foreign, your neighbors might keep their distance anyway.

3. Actually, I am Afraid of Ghosts

Finally, if you’re superstitious, or even a bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to living alone, then maybe these wouldn’t be the apartments for you. If you are afraid of ghosts, but still want to rent a jiko bukken, one option is to hire a Buddhist temple to perform a ceremony to lay any lingering spirits to rest (the cost is around 300 dollars/ 30,000 yen)

How to Rent a Jiko Bukken

1. Ask Your Agent

Should be fairly easy, as you can ask your real estate agent to rent one. Most real estate agents have trouble renting out these stigmatized properties, so they will be happy to show you the jiko bukken they have on file.

2. Search Online

You can also search for jiko bukken apartments online. The unofficial website Oshimaland keeps track of the locations where someone has died, as well as their cause of death. You could use this site to make sure no deaths have occurred near where you are thinking of renting… or if you are looking for a jiko bukken, then you could use it to find possible locations for discounted apartments. However, the site is not official, so you’ll want to double-check any information you find.

How to Avoid Renting a Jiko Bukken

Your real estate agent, and/or the landlord, are legally required to tell you if you are renting a jiko bukken property. However, although real estate agencies must disclose whether or not the property had an accident, they are only required to do so if you are the first tenant to move in after the accident. Many landlords and realtors exploit this loophole in the law to hide any unsavory connections with the apartment they are trying to rent out.

If you want to make sure that no accidents have occurred in an apartment you are thinking about renting, Tokyo Room Finder has plenty of nice and, more importantly, not haunted, apartments for rent!