Building Management Associations in Japan

After You Buy a Condo in Japan, Here’s What You’ll Need to Consider

By David ImmeTokyu Housing Lease

If you’ve bought a condominium in Japan, you are also something more than just the owner of a new apartment: you automatically become part of the building management association (hereafter, BMA), as it consists of all unit owners in the building.

What is the Building Management Association?

The BMA makes decisions regarding the everyday operations of the building, the common areas as well as the management fees and usage of repair reserve funds (and the amount required to be paid by all owners).

Unit owners in a building elect a board of members to lead the association and a chairman, who also plays the important role of representing absentee and overseas owners for voting on issues regarding the property.

Some associations decide to include professional management as permanent members of the board; this does result in higher management fees but can help with efficiently operating the property.

General Meetings of the Building Management Association

All owners of a building unit are contacted regularly to vote on certain issues, and the board holds regular meetings on various topics related to building management. These general meetings usually take place every few months or so and are announced in advance with date and agenda of the meeting.

For overseas owners, it is almost impossible to attend and actively take part in these meetings; even if you were at the property at the time, attendance requires a high level of Japanese. But even if you cannot attend, it’s possible to ask the chairman to vote on your behalf or to vote on certain topics in advance.

In case not enough owners attend the meeting or give their vote, important decisions cannot be made, which would definitely have a negative influence on the building management and eventually the owners, so you will want to make sure to take care of this issue, e.g. by giving a power of attorney (POA) to the property manager of your choice.

Below is an example of a typical meeting agenda from a large-scale condo in central Tokyo managed by Tokyu Housing Lease Corporation. Agenda A was the first meeting after the handover of the building, and Agenda B is a recent one in the fourth year after building construction.

Meeting Agenda A

  1. Activities report and earnings call
  2. Management commission contract revision
  3. Regulations regarding bicycle rental
  4. Management by-law revision (regarding the number of regular board members)
  5. Business plan and budget for next agenda
  6. Election of board members for next agenda

Meeting agenda B

  1. Activities report and earnings call
  2. Change of security system
  3. Changes regarding the detailed usage of the security camera system
  4. Exchange of the electric water boiler valve
  5. Change of the electric company for the common area
  6. Management commission contract revision
  7. Contract conditions of special service for family unit owners
  8. Business plan and budget for next agenda
  9. Election of board members for next agenda and introduction of rotation system

As you can see, things don’t necessarily get easier over time, but even more complicated. 😊

Luckily there are companies such as Tokyu Housing Lease Corporation who offer property management, including efficient communication in Japanese with the BMA and all other parties concerning your property. With a POA your property manager is able to act on your behalf not only regarding general meeting notifications from the BMA, but also other important topics that need your attention as an owner of Japanese real estate.

If you need any advice on property management in Japan, please do not hesitate to contact us via the form below.

Tokyu Housing Lease Corporation

Tokyu Housing Lease Corporation is one of Japan’s leading property management companies.

If you are interested in learning more about Tokyu Housing Lease’s PM services, please fill out the form below, and a representative will contact you shortly.

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    Lead photo: Tokyo Skytree

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