New Rental Laws Thailand

 

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New Rental Laws Thailand 1st May 2018 – New Rights for Tenants

 

On the 1st  May the 2018 a new set of rental laws came into force in Thailand. In this article we will take a look at the impact the new rental laws have had and also take a look to see if they are they being adhered to:

Summary of the new rental laws in Thailand

 

The main aim of the laws are to provide more protection to renters in Thailand. Essentially, they are in place to ensure lease contracts are fair and to tighten up on bad practices such as overcharging for utilities like water and electricity.

News of the regulations first came to light on 16th February in the Royal Gazette that announced that they would come into force on the 1st May – leaving landlords with very little time to prepare.

Many landlords are angry as they feel that the new laws are grossly unfair. We will take a look at landlords’ grievances later on in this article.

Who is implementing the new rental laws?

 

The Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB). They are a government agency attached to the Office of the Prime Minister. They are responsible for implementing the law. They can be contacted on +66 2 141 3437 or by email at consumer@ocpb.go.th or there is a complaints contact form in English

 

What are the fines?

 

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Under section 57 of the Consumer Protection Act it is stated that any business operators who fail to comply with the law may be subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year and/or a fine not exceeding 100,000 baht. Wirot Poonsuan (a practising attorney) wrote that the mentioned fines are PER LEASE VIOLATION. So in theory, 5 violations could result in 5 years jail time.

He also stated that owners could face class action lawsuits:

Tenants who want to bring legal action can now band together to do so jointly to sue the same landlord and share in the amount of damages granted.” This could ease the burden on the tenant and give the landlord pause for thought.

Who does it affect?

 

It is important to note that these laws only apply to landlords that own 5 or more properties. Apartments are owned by one entity so, as most of these apartments contain more than 5 units, they are effected the most. Likewise, landlords who own more than 5 condos are also affected. Hotels and dormitories are excluded. The new laws classify landlords having more than 5 units as having a “residential lease business”, thus controlled by the Consumer Protection Board.

What are the changes?

 

There are a quite a few changes but the most important ones for consideration are:

  1. If your landlord meets the criteria as stated above, they can now only ask for 1 months deposit and 1 months rent in advance. This had always been 2 months deposit and 1 months rent in advance previously.

  2. Long term leases can be terminated by providing the owner with 30 days notice. Previously, if a tenant had to move out, they would usually have had to forfeit their 2 months deposit. The landlord must return the security deposit within 7 days (unless there are damages).

    *Special Note*: It has been mentioned in a few places that the tenant has to give a reasonable excuse to terminate. What constitutes a reasonable excuse is anyone’s guess at this stage. Illness in the family? An enforced move because of work or simply don’t like the walk to the BTS? …

  3. No more mark-up on utility bills. This has been, for a long time, common practice in Thailand – particularly with apartments where utility bills are often inflated. It is not uncommon to receive an electricity bill or water bill x3 or x4 times over the standard government rate.

  4. the business operator is prevented/not allowed to obstruct the lessee’s access to the property or to seize/remove the lessee’s belongings if the lessee defaults on rental fees or other expenses related to the lease of the property.

These are the main changes – though there are a number of new laws aimed at protecting tenants. The law firm Tilleke & Gibbins have published full details of the law in English. (This is not an official translation). You can download the PDF here.

What has happened since 1st May 2018?

 

In truth, a fair bit of confusion! It was reported a few days prior to 1st May in numerous places that some apartments had actually lowered the utility bills – but only to replace the shortfall with a monthly maintenance fee. It was also mentioned that apartments could charge above government rates. OCPB deputy secretary-general Pikanes Tapuang said that, “…under the announcement, an apartment or a hostel owner cannot charge utility rates exceeding 20 percent”

At this point we are unsure why hostels are included under the act but dormitories are not…

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On 28th May 2018 it was reported that a 60 strong business group had filed a petition to the Premier at the Public Service Centre in Government House that urged him to cancel the new regulations.

Landlords grievances

 

In the same article, on the 28th May 2018, a few of the landlords’ grievances were highlighted. It was stated that: “It was impractical to follow the new requirement to charge no more than the electricity and tap-water fees charged by the authorities to the business…because an individual apartment’s monthly bill cycle date might not match the dates on the bill from power and water authorities.

If they abide by the new rule, landlords would carry this burden and so they could not adhere to the new regulation and would risk punishment”

Another major issue that has been passed to Rent Bangkok Apartments is that, as previously mentioned, tenants can now cancel long term agreements. Owners believe this can have an adverse effect on business and marketing planning and create additional costs such as room repairs whenever a tenant leaves early.

They also believe that the new laws overly protect tenants. The new rules that prohibit landlords from canceling a rental contract is unfair if they have problematic tenants causing distress to others being as they now need to give 30 days notice.

Are the laws being followed?

 

Over the past month we have contacted a number of apartments to see what changes they have made following the introduction of the new rules. It has become pretty clear to us that at this point in time not everyone is following the rules. Some are fully cooperating while many others have not made any changes at all. Some apartments have made some kind of adjustments that include increasing the rent, increasing or adding a management/maintenance fee or a new common area fee.

It’s still early days yet and we are yet to see if enforcement will be ‘strict’ or ‘lax’. For now however, it seems that many business owners are willing to carry on as usual. Time will tell and we will update this post when new information becomes available in the future.

Legal Disclaimer: Please don’t use the above information as legal advice. If you are affected by the changes in law/are unsure of your rights please consult with a qualified Legal Firm with experience in residential leasing.

Relocation Services – Bangkok

Moving company Bangkok – Thailand
It is often said that moving is one of life’s most stressful events. Obviously, there will be varying degrees of stress depending on the number of possessions you have acquired and also whether you’re moving on your own or with a family or flat mates.

Whether or not you are a bachelor living in a studio in Phrakanong or a family of 5 living in a large apartment in Phrom Phong however, it’s still an event that you need to plan for.
So, if it’s coming to that time when your lease is coming to an end, you will need to start preparing for the big day…

Most of our tenants come to Bangkok single and looking for a fully furnished condominium or apartment. Most owners are fully aware of this and most of the condos on the market are fully furnished and fully equipped; with electric appliances, TVs, fridge freezers, microwaves, sofa’s, mattresses, cabinets – even down to the bed linen and cutlery in many condos. For many, their situation will not have changed. They will be able to pack their bags and fit all of their possessions into a taxi in order to move into their new home.

For others the situation may be a little different. Maybe they had one too many shopping trips to Chatuchak or are just shopaholics in general. Maybe they are part of a large family who needed to buy extra beds for their children. Others may have children/partner who have received Christmas and birthday presents during their time in Thailand. Everyone’s situation is different.

If you simply can’t fit everything into a taxi then hiring a pickup truck for the day is an option for you. Most condos and apartments (and even the local motorcycle gangs) will be aware of a local Thai who, in many cases, seemingly just appears from nowhere with a van after a brief phone call. He will often also be able to arrange for a few helpers to shift all your possessions. This is an extremely cost effective way of moving in Bangkok and results in very little hassle.

The last time I moved in Bangkok I went down this route. The cost in 2012 for 1 van with driver and 2 helpers was 1,500 baht but an extra tip on top was very much appreciated. This was the price for moving within the City but expect costs to be higher/lower depending on circumstances. If you have own valuable possessions this kind of arrangement will probably not be suitable. You will probably then need to hire a professional moving company. They will supply boxes and pack everything up for you and unpack again at your new home. Hassle free – although ultimately pretty expensive. If you require peace of mind however it will be worth it. Please see below a list of domestic and international movers for your consideration.

pick up truck Bangkok      pick up truck bangkok 2

Pick Up Trucks Bangkok
Where to find Boxes

Approaching my first move in Bangkok I couldn’t find any boxes. I foolishly just assumed I could go to my local supermarket and pick some up. Maybe I just got unlucky but nobody seemed to have any. However, they can be purchased. There is a carton factory a simple five minute walk from the Phra Khanong BTS station that manufactures very sturdy cartons and sells them for a reasonable price. They also may help in hiring a pick up van to assist you in your move.

Directions: At Phra Khanong BTS use exit number 3. At the base of stairs Turn onto Sukhumvit Soi 69 – there is a family Mart on the corner. Walk roughly 100 meters and take the first right and the shop is about 70 meters on the right hand side. You should be able to see stacks of cartons. At the time of writing the shop is closed on Sundays.
International and Domestic Movers – Thailand

Here are a few moving companies in Bangkok

JVK International Movers

Nim Transport
Santa Fe
Crown Relocations
Blue Fox Relocations

White Swan Relocations

If you’re looking for assistance in finding a condo, apartment or a house in Bangkok please don’t hesitate to call us at Rent Bangkok Apartments.

Looking For An Affordable Early Years School In Bangkok?

Take a look at BERNIE British International Prep Kindergarten and Early Years

I hear some people say, “…another international Early Years and Kindergarten…there are so many!”  But isn’t it great that parents have a choice of top quality education for their children!

BERNIE British International Prep Kindergarten & Early Years is a new school for children aged between 2-6 years old. Located in Huamak, between Ramkamhaeng 24 and The Nine Center, Rama IX. BERNIE has so much to offer! It has experienced and outstanding teachers and Teaching Assistants who have worked in International Schools in Thailand and abroad. The Head Teacher and co-owner of BERNIE has been teaching for the past 26 years, and has been a Head Teacher in Thailand and in 4 other countries for the past 17 years.

Many international schools offer brilliant facilities, such as Olympic-sized swimming pools, auditoriums, recording studios, athletics fields. BERNIE does not offer any of these but what it does offer will make for happy, caring children who will excel in all areas f development: a child-centered playground for outdoor learning and play, class sizes of upto 6 children in Pre-Nursery and a maximum of 12 children in Reception and Year One, an indoor area specifically designed for young children, teachers who are experienced and fully committed Early Years practitioners.

Bernie school bangkok     Playground at Bernie early years school Bangkok

BERNIE is a school for children. You may say that every school is for children but unfortunately private international schools can sometimes get so caught up in developing their facilities, being drawn into the business side of schools that the children can become second. There are some fantastic schools in Bangkok with dedicated Head Teachers, owners, teachers and staff and when you go inside you can “feel the learning and the happiness”. BERNIE is one of these schools!

Pay BERNIE a visit at http://www.bernie-bipc.co.th/ for more information, or better still call or visit them at

BERNIE British International Prep

5 Mooban Seri 1

Soi 5 (Seri 2 Road)

Huamak,

Bangkapi Bangkok 10240

Tel: +66-(0)2-719-2997

If your looking for Bangkok apartments close to an international school please contact us at Rent Bangkok Apartments.

Strong demand in Bangkok’s real estate investment market

There is a surfeit of equity in the Bangkok real estate investment market with expectations high that it will achieve the highest transaction volumes in seven years, according to JLL’s adjusted forecasts for 2014. There are acute shortages of high-end living space in the capital, which has helped to enhance the confidence of developers and generated a wave in new construction projects.

This in turn has affected Bangkok office rents, having reached a new high in the second quarter of 2014 in the face of sluggish demand. Political tensions in the first half of the year dampened business sentiment but the fundamentals in the real estate sector remain robust. Coming into the third quarter, the market has maintained strong momentum.

At the end of June, average office rentals touched 475 baht per square metre and nearly 750 baht per square metre in prime grade buildings in the CBD. A number of these buildings are now asking much higher rents, extending to between 900 baht and 1,300 baht per square metre.

In the first half of the year investment volumes were 28 per cent higher than in the previous year, but there was an unexpected reduction in prime yields. American, European, Middle Eastern and African regions demonstrated the sturdiest growth volumes but the Asia Pacific region has strained to keep pace with the volumes recorded in 2013. However, investor interest still remains strong. Global investment volumes are expected to be 20 per cent higher than in 2013 at US$700 billion.

In the rentals market, median gross rents were recorded to have achieved a 2.8 per cent increase in the first half of the year and just over 17 per cent increase from 2007. Bangkok’s office stock is currently over 8 million square metres but vacancy rates have dropped to nearly 10 per cent year-on-year at the end of June.

Retail markets in America and Europe have consistently climbed this year due to the recovery of overall economic conditions and 2014 should see M&A activity expand in the commercial retail market as it responds to increased consumer demand. This condition is also true of Asian markets as international retailers search for growth opportunities in the region.

London and Dubai are ahead in the world’s high-end residential sector, although there are certain signs of cooling in both of these markets. Strong demand in Bangkok’s real estate market is perhaps the product of these global uplifts in overall property value.