Accommodation in Thailand
Expats will find that their options for accommodation in Thailand are almost as diverse as the country itself. Boasting a robust rental market, with a little patience and a bit of work, new arrivals will be able to find a reasonably priced, comfortable place to live in Thailand.
Types of accommodation in Thailand
From high-rise apartment buildings, condominium complexes and seaside shacks, to stand-alone houses on large plots – all types of accommodation are available to rent in Thailand.
The price and quality of rental accommodation will vary enormously, although there are plenty of excellent deals to be found.
Expats should bear in mind that traffic in the country’s urban centres (especially in Bangkok) can be extremely congested. It is recommended that foreigners look for property in Thailand that is close to their workplace, their children's school or areas of interest such as public transport terminals.
Finding property in Thailand
Whether deciding to find a property themselves or work with a real estate agent in Thailand, expats should have few problems when it comes to finding a suitable home to rent.
Independent house hunters can use local newspapers, property pages and the Internet to look for Thai real estate; there are numerous resources available in English. Another approach would be to identify an area that seems appealing, explore the neighbourhood and look for properties that are up for rent.
Estate agents in Thailand will, however, have better knowledge of the market and will be able to assist in negotiations and the rental process. They are also usually free for tenants, since they receive commission from landlords.
Renting property in Thailand
It can be difficult for foreigners to own property in Thailand, so most expats rent rather than buy. Luckily, local landlords are usually sensitive to the rental needs of expats and do a good job of advertising available properties. Renting property in Thailand is generally an easy process: the rental market is varied, with plenty of housing available, and often at good prices.
Lease agreements in Thailand might not always be exactly 'formal' and there are a variety of approaches to processes such as deposit money and the length of rental contracts. It is important to keep a few fundamentals in mind, though.
Bargaining is not usually an option when it comes to rental prices in Thailand. Many landlords would rather not have tenants for long periods of time, than compromise on their advertised rental price.
Even if an expat does strike up an informal rental agreement with a prospective landlord, it is still a good idea to have a real estate agent draw up a basic rental agreement for both parties to sign. This ensures that both landlord and tenant are aware of their responsibilities regarding the property, and protects the tenant against unfair eviction.
If any deposit money needs to be paid, the tenant should be sure to take plenty of photos of the place, and inspect the property with the landlord, pointing out any problems with the place to them. Provided the property is kept in good condition, this should help to make sure that the tenant gets their deposit back at the end of their lease.
Expats usually have to pay for their own utilities in Thailand, including the electricity, water and telephone bills. Energy shortages in Thailand mean that electricity is surprisingly expensive, and new arrivals should be sure to save electricity whenever they can.