The blacklist is back

More than a month ago Yen For Living reported on a plan by a group of rental guarantee companies to develop a blacklist of rental scofflaws. The plan was temporarily shelved after rental guarantee companies that didn’t belong to the association complained, saying that business was bad enough right now without alienating potential renters, and NPOs protested, saying that such a blacklist would only create more homeless.

Well, according to the Asahi Shimbun, the association has turned around again. They are now dead set on making sure the blacklist becomes a reality, though now they insist it should be called a database, since it will not only list people who have repeatedly been delinquent in rent payments, but will also list people who have been consistent in their payments.

At a press conference to announce the association’s new resolve, one of the officials said that they decided to go ahead with the database because of support from “tenants” who think it’s a good idea, including many “foreigners.” The database, he continued, is useful for helping the “socially vulnerable” who are not normally “welcomed” by many landlords due to potential tenants’ economic situation or “nationality.” Presumably, having a good record of rental payments in the past will make these landlords suddenly see the light.

Maybe. But about 20 percent of tenants who use these companies as guarantors end up being delinquent in their payments, which is a lot. These companies are their last resort, meaning they have no family or full-time employer who will act as guarantors and thus are probably poorer than the average tenant. Again, this database is a service for landlords, who are the real benficiaries of these businesses, not tenants. About 40 percent of all renters in Japan use these guarantee companies.

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