Registration will be mandatory when inheriting real estate in Japan!

Poste date: Thursday, December 28, 2023

From 1 April 2024, application for inheritance registration will be mandated, and penalties will be imposed for failure to do so. This act will apply to all persons who inherit real estate in Japan, including Japanese nationals and foreigners residing outside of Japan. In the past, many people did not apply for inheritance registration because they did not like to follow cumbersome procedures, such as obtaining signature certificate and other documents, and there were no penalties for failure to do so. However, you need to be careful about the said coming change. So, this time, we will explain in detail about the inheritance registration of real estate in Japan including the amendment points of the Japan’s Real Property Registration Act.

What is inheritance registration?

The ownership of real estate in Japan is recorded in a register maintained by the Legal Affairs Bureau. Inheritance registration is the procedure to change the name of the inherited real estate from the decedent (the deceased) to the heir, specifically by applying for registering transfer of ownership due to inheritance to the Legal Affairs Bureau having jurisdiction over the location of the subject real property.

Why will inheritance registration become mandatory?

The number of “Land with unknown owner, whose owners cannot be identified in the register because it has not been registered as inherited, is increasing nationwide and has become a social problem in Japan, hindering public works such as disaster prevention, disaster mitigation and town planning, and causing the deterioration of the surrounding environment. To solve this problem, inheritance registration, which was previously voluntary, will become mandatory soon.

Land with unknown owner

- Land whose owner cannot be immediately identified by the register of real estate.

- Land whose owner is identified but not contactable because the owner’s whereabouts are unknown.

Details of mandatory inheritance registration

- Heirs who have acquired real estate in Japan by inheritance (including the cases by will) are required to apply for inheritance registration within 3 years from the date of knowing that he/she has acquired such ownership.

- Heirs who have acquired real estate as a result of the conclusion of a legacy division agreement, are required to apply for registration based on the details of the agreement within 3 years from the date when the agreement is concluded.

(If the division of the estate has not been concluded, an 'heir declaration registration' must be applied for prior to the inheritance registration, within 3 years from the date when you learn the existence of real estate in the inherited estate. Thereafter, the inheritance must be registered within 3 years from the conclusion of a legacy division agreement).

- If an application for inheritance registration is not made without justifiable reasons, a civil fine of up to 100,000JPY may be imposed.

*What are justifiable reasons? (excerpts from the Ministry of Justice Circular)

(1) When there are an extremely large number of heirs in relation to an inheritance pertaining to the obligation to apply for inheritance registration, etc., and it takes a lot of time to collect documents related to family registers, etc., and to identify other heirs, etc.

(2) When the entity to which inherited real estate belongs cannot be clarified because the validity of the will and the scope of the inheritance are disputed among the heirs, etc. in relation to the inheritance pertaining to the obligation to apply for inheritance registration, etc.

(3) When the person who is obliged to apply for inheritance registration, etc. has a serious illness or other similar circumstances.

(4) When the person who is obliged to apply for inheritance registration, etc. is a victim or other equivalent person as stipulated in Article 1, Clause (2) of Act on the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims (Act No. 31 of 2001) and is forced to evacuate due to a condition where there is a risk of harm to his or her life or mind.

(5) When the person who is obliged to apply for inheritance registration, etc. does not have the ability to bear the cost required to apply for registration due to financial hardship.

Is real estate inherited before April 1, 2024 not required to be registered?

You are obliged to apply within 3 years from April 1, 2024, the date on which the amended act comes into force, or when you learn that you have inherited real estate, whichever is later.

Summary

Even though there is a 3-year grace period, applying for registration, which requires time and effort, may be an uncomfortable task. However, it is very important to know who owns the real estate in order to make effective use of the limited land of the country and to create a safe and secure living environment, so we hope that this amendment to the act will encourage more people to apply for inheritance registration. When you actually need an application, it may be difficult to deal with it by yourself, so we recommend that you consult with an expert such as a lawyer or judicial scrivener. We also recommend that you consult with a real estate company about how to use the inherited real estate.

On 1 April 2028, the law also will come into force stating that "if there is a change in the name (head office or trade name) or address of the registered owner of the real estate, the change must be registered within 2 years from the date of the change." We expect that the legislation relating to real estate will continue to be developed in the future, so we will explain any decisions or changes as soon as they are made.

  • Renting a Spacious House in Tokyo

    For those who are looking for a spacious rental residence in Tokyo, we will guide you on renting a house. While there are many spacious apartment units in Tokyo, spacious houses are in high demand and popular with both Japanese and foreigners.
  • A Simple Guide to Home Insurance in Japan

    Living in Japan and want to protect your property? From basic coverage, costs and English-speaking agencies, here is a guide to home insurance in Japan.
  • Lease Guarantor Companies in Japan

    In many lease agreements in Japan, it is necessary to come up with a joint guarantor or a guarantor company at the time of conclusion of these agreements. In this article, we will explain the role of a guarantor company, documents required for examination, average guarantor fee, etc. We will also provide you with a list of guarantor companies that offer customer support in English and other foreign languages.
  • Renovation of Pre-owned Apartment

    More and more people are buying pre-owned apartments and remodeling or renovating them to their own taste. Here, we will explain what you can do and what you need to be aware of when remodeling or renovating your apartment.
  • Rent Arrears and Eviction Process in Japan

    In this article we explain what a lessor must do to evict a delinquent renter when rent is in arrears and how long it takes.
  • About the Handling of Keys for a Rental Housing Japan

    What should you do if you lose the key to your rental home/apartment? Here, we will explain the procedures in case you've lost your key and cannot find it, including the steps to take and the associated costs (such as cylinder replacement) in the event of key loss."
Exterior of Famille Grand Yotsuya
Sale Property tag

The property is conveniently located an 8-minute walk from Yotsuya Station, which is accessible by 4 train lines, JR Chuo Line, JR Sobu Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, and Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line. On the way there, there is a large commercial facility, CO MO RE, surrounded by a variety of restaurants and “My basket” supermarket, where you can lead a comfortable life.

JPY 81,800,000

Exterior of Catherina Mita Tower Suite
Sale Property tag

Luxurious twin tower condominium of 36 story and 28 story buildings which are landmarks near JR Tamachi Station. In the good location with 4 min walk to JR Tamachi Station and 2 min walk to Metro Mita Station, the large space of land was secured and beautiful townscape was created by arranging interlocking block pavements and plantings. In the 2-story lobby hall on the 1st floor, hotel-like space is created by interior design and equipment such as escalators and chandeliers. The common use facilities are refined and well equipped including Luxurious lounge, Library lounge, Owners studio with line-ups of audio system, and View lounge where you can enjoy night views.

JPY 141,000,000

Exterior of Prostyle Gakugeidaigaku
Sale Property tag

JPY 99,800,000

Exterior of City Tower Azabu-juban
Sale Property tag

City Tower Azabu Juban, a high-rise tower residence. Symbolic tower condominium in Azabu Juban, 4-minute walk to Azabu Juban Station, in the highly promising Minato Mita district, which is undergoing redevelopment. Formerly sold by Sumitomo Fudosan, constructed by a joint venture between Shimizu and Okumura Construction. Within a 15-minute drive to Shinjuku, Otemachi, and Shinagawa. The building has a seismic damping structure that reduces shaking during earthquakes. A guest room, a top lounge with an atrium, a car porch entrance, a concierge service, 24-hour manned management, and other common facilities as well as the latest security are attractive.

JPY 190,000,000 - 548,000,000