Thailand is a favorite destination of farangs (foreigners) in Southeast Asia. The blend of picturesque scenery, exquisite beaches, beautiful people, and delectable food comprise the irresistible pull that gravitate many farangs to the Kingdom.
An intended short visit almost always turns into months and months become years. Since farangs are not allowed to own immovable property (e.g. land) in Thailand, the most likely scenario is a long term lease of a house, condominium unit, or apartment.
Many farangs have had a few crash and burn experience when it comes to leasing immovable properties in the Kingdom. Who would not want to be spared of these undesirable experiences? Thus, it behooves you to acquaint yourself with a few leasing essentials to avoid unwanted brushes with your lessor and the law.
First, like any other transactions, before you turnover that deposit and advance rental payment, make it sure that you have a secured lease contract. There is no way for you to protect and enforce your rights and interest over the leased property if no written contract proves it. If the period of lease exceeds three years, it is imperative that such written contract be registered in the proper Land Office where the property is located; otherwise, you cannot prevent your lessor from evicting you out of the property after the lapse of just three years.
Second, be aware that the duration of the lease of immovable property cannot exceed thirty years. If you want a longer period, make sure that your contract has a renewal clause. The law only allows renewal for a maximum of thirty years.
Third, you do not have the right to sublet the leased property unless otherwise granted in the contract. The right to sublease should be expressly granted and not just presumed on the basis that no such prohibition is stated in the contract. You definitely do not want to forget this fact because sublease of the leased property without the express consent of the lessor is a ground for termination of the lease.
Fourth, if you are a sub-lessee (meaning you are leasing from the original lessee and not directly from the lessor), you have to be aware that you are directly liable to the lessor. This means that payment to the sub-lessor (the original lessee) cannot be used as a defense against the lessor. Thus, if the sub-lessor fails to pay the lessor, you can be evicted from the leased premises regardless of your prompt payment.
Fifth, the Lessor cannot terminate the contract without prior notice to the Lessee. If the rent is payable at monthly or longer intervals, a minimum of 15 days notice is required by the law.
Lastly, if your lessor transferred or sold his rights over the property in Thailand, there is no reason to panic. The contract of lease is not extinguished by the transfer of ownership of the leased property. Since this is expressly provided by the law, this provision need not be expressed in the written lease contract to be effective. For the best choice of Thailand properties go to http://www.propertiesinthailand.net/. If it makes you sleep better at night, you definitely can have a provision to this effect be incorporated in the lease contract.
Since you are in Thailand, expect that the lease contract will be written in the Thai language. Thus, it is important that you hire the services of registered and reputable Thailand Lawyers to ensure that the contract is protective of your rights and interests as a lessee.