Given the absence of formal legislation, Thailand is pro-landlord.
The contract prevails. Protections, such as rental deposits, and the ability to call upon the police to evict tenants, add to the advantages held by the landlord.
Rents: Can landlord and tenant freely agree rents in Thailand?
Rents are freely negotiated. Rents are not usually adjusted for the duration of the fixed contract period. Landlords are required to notify their tenants in advance of pending rent adjustments, usually coinciding with the renewal of the lease agreement.
Landlords usually receive rent one month in advance, and a security deposit equal to two to three months’ rent prior to occupancy. Deposits are refunded without interest a month after the expiration of the contract. Repairs and unpaid bills can be deducted from the security deposit. The deposit can not be used to pay for the last month’s rental. The deposit is forfeited if the tenant terminates the lease before the first year has elapsed.
In some cases, rent for the entire duration of the contract is paid in advance. (click here for a sample LEASE AGREEMENT)
What rights do landlords and tenants have in Thailand, especially as to duration of contract, and eviction?
Long-term rentals are usually for one year. Some contracts provide an option for renewal, provided a notice is given 30 days before the expiration of contract.
If the tenant wishes to prematurely end the contract, the deposit will be forfeited. In some cases, if a diplomatic clause is included in the contract and notice is given 60 days in advance, the tenant might be able to get back the deposit.
The tenant has no right to stop paying rent if the landlord fails to do repairs. If the unit is uninhabitable, the tenant can end the tenancy.
Rental agreements are legally enforceable and admissible in court. In most cases, refusal of the landlord to maintain the property and the tenant’s inability to pay rent constitute breach of contract and are considered as grounds for termination of the lease. Subleasing can be expressly prohibited in the contract.
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.
How effective is the Thai legal system?
Many landlord and tenant disputes are resolved through negotiation before a court hearing takes place. The courts are slow and the process is cumbersome.