Tenants will have more protection and rights in Thailand as new rules take effect that will limit what landlords can charge and also provide a way to break long-term leases. The new regulations begin on May 1st as part of the Consumer Protection Act to increase the rights of renters in the country.
Other changes will see landlords being unable to ask for multiple months of rent in advance as well as being banned from locking tenants out of their unit. The changes only affect property owners that lease more than 5 residential units in Thailand.
“These new laws are done to protect tenants. On the other hand, landlords will now have their work cut out for them,” says land rights lawyer Wirot Poonsuwan to Khaosod English.
As part of the new regulations, tenants will be able to cut long-term leases as long as they provide 30-days notice and are current on their rent. They will also be required to provide the landlord with reasonable cause for needing to break the lease.
“Of course, a reasonable reason needs to be given. For foreigners, that might be the need to move back to their country, and for Thais it might be the need to move due to a government position transfer. You can’t just up and leave whenever you want,” says Real Estate Consultant Sopon Pornchokchai.
Other things covered by the Consumer Protection Act include preventing landlords from adding extra charges for services like water, electricity, and WiFi, a limit on how much can be charged for a security deposit, and restricting rental increases during a contract. This will likely see big rental companies change the way they currently do business.
“The higher-ups all know about this. Apartment owners are having a huge headache right now. Before, it was sabai sabai. Now it will be strict,” says Sopon.
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