With just eight days until Thailand’s new rental law takes effect, the government is coming under fire for failing to provide adequate notice to those who will be impacted.
An article in today’s Bangkok Post claims authorities did not properly inform landlords about the new law, despite it appearing in the Royal Gazette on February 16, and covered on ThailandProperty.News since the start of the year.
The new law with supersede existing, applicable rental agreements, making them null and void where the landlord has five or more rental properties.
Industry watchers earlier claimed discussions have taken place for “several years” regarding the law.
According to the news report, the changes have created widespread panic among property owners, who say the regulations will make it harder for them to handle unscrupulous tenants.
The new rental law prohibits owners from asking for more than one month’s rent as a deposit and one month deposit to cover damages.
Profiteering on utility changes, or other fees which are deemed to be unfair, are prohibited under the new rental law, which most agree is pro-tenant.
Tenants can also quit their rental at any time, regardless of the length of any contract, by giving 30-days’ notice and no specific reason.
ThailandProperty.News has previously reported some ways that landlords are seeking to recoup some of the money they will ‘lose’ in terms of deposits.
According to an unnamed source quoted by the newspaper: “The regulation is lopsided in favour of tenants.
“Property owners were not given a chance to raise their concerns. Now building owners wonder how they can deal with tenants who hop around and break the contract and leave without paying outstanding utility fees.”
ThailandPropertyNews would suggest that similar questions should also be asked of landlords who create spurious reasons to withhold or delay the return of deposits.
The unnamed owner also questioned the way the regulation was drafted.
“Owners learned from information posted in social media in February. Why didn’t the authority run a better PR campaign to let us know about public hearings?”
“We learned later that the authority provided details of the new law at the consumers’ protection board’s website. In reality, who checks this website regularly?” said the owner.
“Residential leasing is becoming a big business in the country. Every law and regulation will affect people one way or another, and a law which is lopsided will lead to more severe impacts.”
Pikanet Tapuang, Deputy Secretary-General of the Board of Consumer Protection, said that the office received 520 complaints from tenants, 213 of which were about getting deposits returned, 26 about the owner over-charging for damage, with the rest concerning contract violations.
Five separate questions to the Board regarding enforcement, the complaints procedure, etc., from ThailandProperty.News have remained unanswered for more than six weeks.
The Thai version of the new law along with an English legal interpretation of the law is available to download on the top right of this page.