Thailand landlords and tenants: the law

Thailand landlords
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Thailand landlords must register with Immigration within 24-hours when they have a foreign tenant starying at their property.

We originally published this article in July 2018 but, given this week’s incident at the Star View condo on Rama 3, we felt it was apt to republish this content as a reminder to all Thailand landlords.

The Immigration law applies to Thailand landlords who rent their condos for one-day or one-year, in the same way that it applies to owners of hotels who much also register every foreign guest.

But, this is not a new requirement. The Royal Thai Government occasionally issues reminders of the duties of Thailand landlords under the 1979 Immigration Act. It has also been known to engage in occasional crackdowns.

It previously stated: “Homeowners and owners of hotels, apartments, and accommodation buildings where there are foreigners staying in the accommodation to inform officials at nearest immigration bureau or the local police station within 24-hours of the foreigner arriving at the premises.”

For a previous story some years ago, the head of one leading Bangkok-based real estate firm, and also a Thailand landlord, told us that he would “… be in trouble” for failing to report his own tenants.

At that time he said: “This regulation has always been on the books but not enforced.”

Media reports this weekend have indicated immigration officers have conducted investigations at the Star View condo, and found “most” Thai landlords had failed to report their foreign tenants and would now be “summoned” to face possible fines.

The requirement from a Thailand landlord to report foreign guests has been law for close to 40 years, but our enquiries earlier this year found very few homeowners bother to register their foreign tenants with the authorities.

The wording of the 1979 Immigration Act says: “House owners, heads of household, landlords or managers of hotels who accommodate foreign nationals on a temporary basis who stay in the kingdom legally, must notify the local immigration authorities within 24-hours from the time of arrival of the foreign national.”

One issue is that by not registering foreign tenants, a Thailand landlord will not be alerting authorities to the fact they own a rental property and may attempt to avoid paying tax on the income from it.

Andrew Batt
The author of this article is Andrew Batt, the founder and editor of Andrew has been writing about property and real estate issues in Thailand and Southeast Asia for more than 10 years. He has worked for PropertyGuru Group, DDproperty, Dot Property Group, Hipflat and AsiaRents. He has also produced content for leading Thailand property developers and real estate agencies.

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