Since formal legislation for rental agreements is not clear-cut in Thailand, existing statutes tend to favor landlords more than tenants.
While the contract serves as the binding documents, only the landlord has the privilege to define the terms of rental deposits or call the police to evict tenants.
Terms & Conditions of Rental Agreements
Prior to occupancy, tenants usually pay landlords one-month advance rental plus a security deposit. Deposits will be returned sans interest as soon as the contract expires (others a month later). Repairs will be charged to your security deposit. Some tenants charge your last month’s rental to the one month advance you paid before occupying the unit. You cannot use your deposit to cover your last month of stay.
Avoid ending your lease before your contract has elapsed. Otherwise, your deposit could be forfeited.
There are landlords who require their tenants to pay for the entire duration of the lease contract in advance.
Tenants and landlords can freely negotiate the terms and conditions of rent before sealing the deal. During the fixed contract period, you can expect little to zero adjustments. Under the law, landlords need to inform their tenants in advance should there be adjustments related to the rent. They can only do so if the tenant expresses their desire to renew the lease agreement.
Respective Rights of Landlords & Tenants
Contracts for long-term rentals can be from 6 months to a year. You will be given the option to renew, but must provide your landlord with prior notice at least 30 days the lease contract expires.
Should you wish to terminate the contract contrary to the duration agreed upon, your landlord may forfeit your deposit. This is not always the case, however. That is why before signing a lease agreement, find out if the provisions include a diplomatic clause. Deposit may be recovered in full only if you inform the landlord 60 days in advance.
You are still required to pay rent even if your landlord is unable to make the necessary repairs. In the event the unit is no longer inhabitable due to the landlord’s negligence, as a tenant, you have the right to terminate your tenancy.
Rental agreements are legally enforceable and admissible in court. The landlord’s failure to maintain the property and the tenant’s refusal to pay rent will constitute a breach of contract. Both are grounds for termination of the lease. Your rental contract may also prohibit subleasing so avoid such activity where possible.
If the tenant refuses to leave after the contract and/or the notice to vacate expires, the police can be called upon to forcibly remove the tenant. Landlords are not allowed to take abandoned appliances and furniture as compensation for unpaid rent and damages.
Protection Under the Thai Legal System
Disputes are commonplace. Both tenants and landlords would rather negotiate than wait for the courts to mediate the conflict, however. Court decisions take time and the processes involved are tedious.
Is there legislation that seeks to protect the rights of tenants? At the moment, Thailand has yet to generate clear-cut tenant protection laws. Lease agreements only define the scope and limitations of a tenant-landlord relationship to which both parties agree upon.