Accommodation in Thailand
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Updated 5 months ago

Thailand has developed rapidly over the past few decades, and as a result, it is not difficult to find comfortable accommodation. There are four main housing options in Thailand — serviced apartments, condominiums, townhouses and freestanding houses — and there is something that will suit most budgets and needs.

Serviced apartments offer a range of services, such as changing bed sheets and cleaning, which makes it popular among single expat professionals. Condominiums don't include additional services but do tend to come with amenities, such as a swimming pool or gym. Townhouses are more affordable than detached houses, but both these types of accommodation provide more space for a lower price than many luxury condominiums.

The cost of renting in Thailand

Compared with European, North American or Australian standards, rental prices are often very reasonable. However, there are still disparities depending on location. For example, housing in outer Bangkok is cheaper than in central areas like Sukhumvit, but still a lot more expensive than housing in Chiang Mai. Accommodation in popular tourist and https://www.expat.communities, such as Pattaya or Phuket, is also more expensive than on quieter islands such as Koh Lanta.

As accommodation does tend to be quite affordable for many expatriates living in Thailand, many also choose to spend money hiring a housekeeper or even other members of staff, such as a driver. The cost of a live-in maid (known as a mae baan) can be relatively affordable as it ranges from 15, 000 ' 20, 000 THB. The hired mae baan will take care of your children, cook, clean, wash and iron for you. However, be aware that it is considered inappropriate to let somebody wash your underwear and socks for you in Thailand, so you will need to do this yourself.

Choosing accommodation in Thailand

Most accommodation in Thailand will come with basic features, such as air-condition, bed, and closet. However, hot water isn't always standard in older dwellings. Accommodation without hot water is much cheaper, but if this is something you cannot cope with, then you should enquire about it before moving in.

You can also opt for furnished or unfurnished accommodation, although unfurnished accommodation will be considerably cheaper. As furniture isn't particularly expensive in Thailand, especially if you buy local products, then choosing unfurnished accommodation could be a better option if you're looking to live in Thailand on a long-term basis. When you move into your new home, you should be sure to prepare your two months advance and 1-month deposit amount and sign a contract with an inventory that lists all the furnishings provided and the general condition of the accommodation.

Good to know:

Unless specified in the lease agreement, water, gas and electricity are not included and will need to be paid in addition to your monthly rent.

Before renting your accommodation, it is advisable to check that any outstanding utility bills have been fully paid by the previous tenant.

The most common way to pay bills in Thailand is at your nearest 7-Eleven convenience store that has a water-tap or telephone sign on the door. If you live in a condominium, you can often pay at the front desk of the building for a charge. 7-Eleven stores are located everywhere and are open for 24 hours a day. Moreover, if you are staying in an apartment, you usually pay it to the landlord directly. Most apartments also add a feed on the electricity compared to condominiums.

For day-to-day living needs, you will most likely need to buy a gas bottle and a water cooler. Tap water isn't safe to drink, so the most efficient way to get around this issue is to hire the services of a company that will deliver bottles of drinking water to your home on a weekly basis and remove empty bottles. Also, some apartments and condominiums do have water dispensers wherein you can refill your water jugs and bottles.

Procedures for renting accommodation in Thailand

To rent accommodation in Thailand, you will usually need to provide a copy of your passport, a copy of your work permit and a proof of income. If you are renting a property through a real estate agency, you may be subject to a credit check and be required to provide a character reference from your employer.

Generally, rental agreements last for six months to one year. However, the duration of the lease and the rental price is negotiable with the owner and can start from three months. Generally, a lease and security deposit are all that is needed to secure property in Thailand. In most cases, you can expect to pay a two-month deposit along with the first month's rent. However, some Thai landlords request a three-month deposit. At the end of the lease, the deposit should be returned, as long as the property and furnishings are in good condition. If you leave before the end date of your lease agreement, you will forfeit your deposit unless specified in the contract.

Take note that foreigners are not allowed to use their rented accommodation for commercial purposes and are not allowed to sublease either as it is a violation of Thai law (Condo Act Sec 17.1 as follows):

"In the case where a space in the condominium is set aside as a place to carry out the business, the system on entering and exiting such area shall be specifically set up in order to prevent the disturbance on the peaceful enjoyment of the joint owners.

No person shall be permitted to engage in any trade transactions in the condominium except it is a trade transaction in the area of the condominium designated in accordance with paragraph one) that disallows condominiums and apartments for short term renting."

Finding accommodation in Thailand

Unfortunately, not all properties are listed online in Thailand, so while the internet is a good place to start, it isn't always the most reliable way to find accommodation. The properties that are listed do tend to be the more expensive ones and aren't always listed very clearly. However, certain websites are worth browsing as they do have rentals listed in English.

If you are already in Thailand and looking for accommodation, then it is a good idea to ask around amongst locals and other expatriates. Once you have decided on the area that you want to live in, explore it yourself before making any decisions. Once you have found accommodation that interests you, it is worth trying to visit it at different times of day and at the weekend, as many people turn their house into a business during the day, and you need to make sure you are happy with the neighbours.

English language newspapers, such as The Bangkok Post or the Chiang Mai Mail, also have property classified sections that are useful to browse to get an idea for prices and availability.

The most convenient way to secure accommodation in Thailand is probably by contacting a real estate agent, but most agents tend to dedicate their time to rentals of over THB30,000.

Buying property in Thailand

If you are looking to buy a house in Thailand, be aware that certain restrictions apply to expats. Check with your real estate agent or a local attorney before making any decisions.

Foreigners are not allowed to own land outright in Thailand. However, Thai law allows foreigners to buy a condominium, so long as they pay for it with foreign currency. Alternatively, foreigners will need to invest at least THB40 million in the Thai economy to legally be able to purchase a private residence of up to 1,600m² in the country. Those wishing to buy or build their own house usually do so through their Thai spouse or business partner.

As a result of these restrictions, many foreigners prefer to secure a long-term lease agreement. The law allows leases of up to 30 years but, if you sign a 30-year lease, make sure it is registered so that you will have recourse if your landlord tries to evict you prior to that time.

Good to know:

Leases are only valid for three years if they are not registered at the Land Department.

Many leases contain renewal clauses that provide for a renewed 30-year lease once the initial 30-year period comes to an end. A renewal clause is a promise to renew a lease, but it is important to understand that it does not always mean an automatic renewal, as your landlord's cooperation is tantamount.

Useful links:

Renthub
Hipflat
Thailand Property
DD Property
Rent Bangkok Apartments
Thai Apartment
BKK Homeseeker
Thailand Department of Lands ' Property laws in Thailand

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