Starting on 1 May, new tenant protection regulations will take effect as part of changes to the Consumer Protection Act passed earlier this year. The new Thailand rental laws are designed to help residents avoid potential conflicts with landlords and will provide clearer guidelines on security deposits, leases and more.
“These new laws were done to protect tenants,” Wirot Poonsuwan, a local land rights lawyer, told Khaosad. “On the other hand, landlords will now have their work cut out for them.”
1) Leases can be broken if you have a “reasonable reason”
Perhaps the most important change to the rental laws is the ability for a tenant to break their lease should they provide 30-days notice and have a reason for needing to move. This means they are no longer obligated to find someone to take over their lease. Job transfer and moving home are a couple of the reasons that landlords must accept to break a lease.
However, just what exactly won’t be accepted as a “reasonable reason” to break the lease remains to be seen.
2) Move in fees now set
A landlord may only ask for one month’s rent in advance and a security deposit of no larger than one month’s rent at the start of the lease. This will eliminate the haggling many people would have to deal with during the move-in period. Unscrupulous landlords have been known to ask for multiple months rent as a security deposit in the past.
3) Security deposit changes
The new Thailand rental laws also address two major concerns many tenants have regarding security deposits. Firstly, the security deposit must be returned within seven days, a significant reduction from the current 30-day period. Secondly, landlords may not withhold a security deposit for general wear and tear. It is their responsibility to perform routine maintenance, but the tenant is advised to notify them if/when an issue arises.
4) Not all landlords impacted by new Thailand rental laws
The new regulations will only be enforced for landlords who oversee five or more properties. Those who manage less than this are not obligated to this new policy, but will likely be encouraged to follow it.
Adapted from Thailand Property, Apr 24, 2018.