Tenants in Thailand are often quick to complain when their tenancy runs into trouble, but in almost all cases there are simple solutions to resolve any problems.
Just as landlords have obligations, tenants do too. Tenants also have rights under consumer protection law in Thailand, and the governing body is the Office of the Board of Consumer Protection.
In Bangkok the office is at the Government Complex at Chaengwattana. Should you need to revert to this office as a last resort, be aware they provide a free arbitration service, although it is somewhat slow and almost exclusively Thai – hence if you do not speak or read Thai you will do better if you take a Thai colleague or partner along with you.
You will also need evidence of any claims you are making, and this is where your duties and responsibilities as a tenant start – right at the moment you decide to rent.
Your landlord is lawfully obliged to report your stay to the authorities, just as would happen if you check in to a hotel.
Expect to be asked for a copy of the photo page of your passport, but never hand it over.
For some Thailand rental properties, you might also be asked for additional information such as a copy of your work contract or references from any previous landlords. It’s rare for this to happen but not unheard of.
With appropriate notice your landlord also has the right to inspect the property.
Never delay the payment of your rent. That will likely be a breach of your rental agreement and, in a worst-case scenario, your landlord could take steps to stop you from entering your property until you have paid.
As part of your agreement your landlord should be noted as being responsible for repairs and maintenance of the property, including things like plumbing, wiring and central heating.
As a tenant you must report any repairs needed to your landlord as soon as you notice them, and not at the end of the rental.
Things like proper disposal of rubbish should be common sense, but also note you should not make alterations to internal decorations, furniture or equipment. You will have to pay for anything that has been broken or damaged during your rental.
Your landlord must make sure that gas and electrical installations meet safety standards. You must not use unsafe appliances.
You will also need to ask your landlord if you want to have guests and/or sub-let a room. This may already be part of your agreement but always check in advance.
Working in Thailand without the appropriate Work Permit is prohibited for non-Thais, and it’s also very likely your rental agreement will not permit you running a business from your Thailand rental property.
For any requests, make them in writing, keep them polite and keep a copy.
Above all, just as you would do in your own home, you should take responsibility for behaviour. Do not behave in an antisocial or aggressive way towards anyone, whether neighbours, your landlord or anyone working on behalf of your landlord.
As a tenant, when you follow your tenancy agreement you will enjoy a pleasurable rental experience in Thailand.
You might want to refer to our tips for renting in Thailand article for additional information.