Where is the best place to live? That’s a question that I get asked quite a lot and there isn’t one correct answer. As with any ‘Best’ questions, the answer depends on who is asking and what their requirements and expectations are.
You’ll find lots of information about what the different areas of the location.
If you want to have a local village close by then the most touristy area of the island, White Sand beach, might not be the best place to look for a bungalow to rent. Whereas it would be ideal for anyone who likes a bit of nightlife and just wants to stroll to an expat pub or bar in the evening.
Or if you want to be within 10 minutes walk of a beach, then although properties are cheaper in some places, you’re going to have to hop on your scooter or be faced with a 2Km walk on a narrow hilly road to get to the nearest good stretch of sand.
The map below shows some ( not all ) of the locations for rental bungalows and houses on the island. In some areas – eg Lonely Beach, you won’t find many places specifically for monthly rental. But you will find resort owners willing to do a deal on longterm rent.
As I mentioned above, it’s better to visit properties in person before you sign on the dotted line. Take a day or two to look around in the areas on the map and see for yourself what’s available, talk to the landlords and inspect the properties to see if they meet your requirements.
What to Expect in a Rental Agreement
Most landlords will ask you to sign a pro forma, one page rental agreement form ( in Thai ) which they have bought from a local stationery store. These are used across Thailand and biased in the landlord’s favour. It fails to cover even the basics of rental, such as who pays for electricity and water, what the security deposit covers, who owns tenant improvements, etc. The language used is old fashioned, legal-ese Thai which many Thais don’t really understand. So getting your head around what each clause actually means in reality can take a lot of effort on behalf of the landlord, yourself and whoever is attempting to translate for you.
The laws governing property rental tend to be very pro-landlord and little legal protection is afforded to tenants. Therefore, contracts have a tendency to be more biased towards the stronger party, and in most cases, the landlords as property owners are usually the ones who set the terms.
It’s best to view the main purpose of a property rental contract in Thailand as a written reminder of what is being agreed by both parties before the tenant hands over any cash and moves in. In your mind you might think you have a legal document that will help protect you in the future should you have any disagreement with the landlord. In reality, if there is any serious disagreement, you’ll lose.
Having said that, getting as much detail about the terms of the lease in writing as possible will ensure there is far less chance of problems if, say, you have to move out earlier than planned or the landlord decides that the improvements you made in fact damaged the property and so refuses to refund your deposit etc
What you need is a contract in English that offers more detail about who is responsible for what under the terms of the rental agreement.
Within the contact, the following should be included:
- The monthly rental fee
- How long the lease is valid
- What happens if either party terminates the lease agreement
- All other terms and conditions
- A signed an inventory listing all furnishing, fixtures, condition of rooms etc.
The landlord will also ask for a refundable damage deposit. They want as much as possible from you. You want to give as little as possible to them. Aim for one month rental as a damage deposit, but don’t be surprised if the landlord insists on two months for a larger or newer house or bungalow. This deposit can;t be used as payment for the last month or two’s rent. If you try to do that, the landlord will be upset. And you’ll probably return home one day to find your belongings on the street and the locks changed.
As a tenant you’re going to have some obvious obligations, for example:
- Paying the rent on the agreed date
- Paying utility bills in a timely manner
- Ensuring that the property is not damaged
- Only having the specified number of people living there
- Give agreed notice when terminating the rental agreement
These are all common sense and the main one that concerns most landlords is paying the rent on time. Ideally do it in person, and with a smile on your face. All most landlords want are tenants who are polite, pay their bills on time and don’t cause problems for their neighbours.