The confusion of whether Airbnb is legal in Thailand has taken another twist. Whilst it was considered to be a grey area as to whether short term lettings under a period of 30 days are permitted in the country, a recent ruling in Hua Hin has made the case rather more complex.
In this case, the court interpreted the laws that any short term letting is, in fact, a violation of the Hotel Act which states that residential units cannot be let out for any tenancy length less than 30 days.
Previously property owners referred to either the Hotel Act or the Condo Act to decipher whether they are allowed to let their property on a short term basis.
The Hotel Act, although not believed to overly transparent, was thought to only apply to anyone with over three units in one building, meaning that short term lettings are legal if you have less than three units – a contradiction to the outcome of the Hua Hin case. Owners would still, however, need to refer to the Condo Act to check whether short lettings are permitted in their building as set out by the juristic office.
Consequently, the ruling in Hua Hin has led to even more ambiguous interpretation, and there is a sentiment that more clarity if required. A view by the results of the DDproperty Consumer Sentiment Survey that looks at attitudes towards the property market, which concluded that nearly 50 percent of all Thai respondents feel that the government should set out some clear regulations as to what is permitted for the Airbnb sector.
Thailand continues to be the most visited country in the world, with a continual influx of guests needing somewhere to stay. Many property owners have be keen to capitalise on this tourism, and it is estimated that in 2016 some 774,000 guests used Airbnb for their accommodation choice. Therefore the need to iron this confusion is needed now more than ever.