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How do i ensure Landlord will return deposit ?


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Quick question for you guys - so we are renting a considerable condo in Bangkok. We will have it for 2 years, rent approx 80,000 Baht a month. 

 

Landlord wants 2 months deposit, and 1 month rent upfront. I am curious as to how i know the Landlord will return my deposit. He is from China (not that it matters, just stating he is not Thai). 

 

Anything i can do to protect myself or any general advice on the matter ? I have not signed any contract yet. 

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13 minutes ago, LaosLover said:

I never got my deposit back. My realty agent made a couple of calls, but that was that. Since the condo owner pays her fee, she didn't push back too hard.

 

Most people I have talked to have not gotten their deposits back. Everyone advises me to stiff them on the last month's rent and depart a day or two early to avoid a confrontation.

 

 

Thanks for the feedback guys. 

 

We are going through a major agent in Bangkok, probably the biggest. How would that afford me some protection ?

 

Obviously this is a considerable amount, hence i am not going to just 'walk away' with it approach many suggest historically. 

 

Intrigued by the 'jointly signed condition report' - i will look into this. It's a brand new condo and has never been lived in before, despite being 3 years old. 

 

 

Edited by DonniePeverley
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5 minutes ago, Dan O said:

Didnt they change the rental laws to say they can only require 1 months deposit and 1 months rent a while back?

 

If you have to put that amount down for a deposit ask the rental company to put the deposit in an escrow account dated and identified for the conditions of withdrawl

 

Is this accurate? I find it hard to fathom a major agent in Bangkok would then move forward with this knowing it was not rite. Most condos i saw in this bracket were all asking the same. 

 

I will def research and ask the agent about putting the deposit in a 'escrow account' dated with conditions of withdrawel. 

Edited by DonniePeverley
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4 minutes ago, DonniePeverley said:

Most of the top spec condos have this sort of agreement with them unfortunately. 

Pretty much any place you rent will want this
first thing i would always do is knock them down to a single months deposit
The agents will not care really, although they may appear helpful
they get paid the first months rent usually as their fee, so they will not really care after that
with it being such an amount or 160k
you could demand that the 160k is held with a lawyer, at your expense obviously.

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25 minutes ago, Dan O said:

Didnt they change the rental laws to say they can only require 1 months deposit and 1 months rent a while back?

 

If you have to put that amount down for a deposit ask the rental company to put the deposit in an escrow account dated and identified for the conditions of withdrawl

Who are you going to call if they demand 2 months deposit? Ghostbusters?

 

How are you going to get over that awkward moment when you demand an escrow account from someone who:

 

1) never heard of it? 

 

2) can't do that without an OK from the boss -who will yell at them for asking?

 

3) doesn't want to trouble the owner -who can get another agent in 2 minutes?

Edited by LaosLover
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5 minutes ago, LaosLover said:

Who are you going to call if they demand 2 months deposit? Ghostbusters?

 

 

Is there where we are at with laws in Thailand covering the real estate market - that the Ghostbusters would be the only real people who could come help you? Hmmm ...

 

Talk of going to court and getting your deposit back. How does that all work then ? I am of course thinking of the worst outcome. 

Edited by DonniePeverley
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I believe the 1 month deposit only applies to people who have 5 or more properties to rent out, 2 months is the norm & if that’s what your landlord wants, that’s what you pay or look elsewhere. 
 

The way I look at it is if I pay 160K security deposit & don’t get it back then the rent was 86,666 pm (less when you take into consideration they’ll pay your final electric bill, clean the place, repair/replace things as needed etc…) instead of 80,000.

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2 minutes ago, Dan O said:

Didnt they change the rental laws to say they can only require 1 months deposit and 1 months rent a while back?

 

If you have to put that amount down for a deposit ask the rental company to put the deposit in an escrow account dated and identified for the conditions of withdrawl

I think those regulations only apply to landlords that own five or more properties. I think it is also probably difficult and expensive to enforce as a tenant.

 

There is also the issue of the fee for the agent, which is usually the equivalent of one month's rent. If a landlord only receives one month's deposit and then has to pay one month's equivalent to the agent, the landlord then effectively has no security deposit. Yes, that's the cost of doing business as a landlord, but it means that the landlord only receives eleven months' rent for a 12 month term. That's a significant hit to the return on the investment.

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Here's how my agent helped me in real life:

 

1) I lost my key card. The condo owner unreasonably demanded a police report before she'd allow a new one to be issued. My agent took me to the police station and helped me do that.

 

2) My current owner wouldn't give me a TM30. I know, I know, many a dreary pedant here will point out that they have to by law. She went to immigration and got me one.

 

3) she showed me an apartment first before it was listed. 

 

That's the kind of customer service you can reasonably expect. It's not rational to think of them as fearless consumer advocates on your behalf.

 

-We have a bit of a relationship. I took her out for a lobster roll after the first lease. I gave her a little cash for the apartment viewing preference.

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5 minutes ago, DonniePeverley said:

Talk of going to court and getting your deposit back. How does that all work then ? I am of course thinking of the worst outcome.

There is a small claims court & the threat of taking your landlord there might be enough to get something back, especially if he’s not being filing tax returns (960K pa is a lot of income to not file a return).

 

No idea how the process goes but have seen reports on here of people going through is so a quick search of the site might help…


Google: Thailand small claim court how to site:aseannow.com

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18 minutes ago, LaosLover said:

Who are you going to call if they demand 2 months deposit? Ghostbusters?

 

How are you going to get over that awkward moment when you demand an escrow account from someone who:

 

1) never heard of it 2) can't do that with an OK from the boss? 3) doesn't want to trouble the owner -who can get another agent in 2 minutes?

So of i understand your logic, they have rental regulations but you think there noone to contact if the regulations are violated?

 

You're also saying that the agent who's job it is to market and manager a rental after finding a client can not discuss the contract with the owner that he has to talk to and notify he has a rental for the condo. An escrow account isn't something that was just invented yesterday. The banks will know how to set it up or at worse a lawyer.

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9 minutes ago, Dan O said:

they have rental regulations but you think there noone to contact if the regulations are violated?

 

 

This is the understatement of the year.

 

Why do they call this place Thailand?

 

Because it is the Thai Land;  the land that favors Thai's, the land of Thai logic, Thai slip shod business practices, Thai cheerful lying, Thai kissing up to your betters, and Thai's scratching out a living from the money that can be pried out of westerner's pockets.

 

We like it here because things are a little loose, but not when that looseness doesn't go our way.

 

Scuba Steve above makes an important point: for a better (but not perfect) chance at a happy outcome, rent directly from a westerner, if you can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by LaosLover
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1 hour ago, Peterw42 said:

Firstly, read whatever is your responsibility in any lease contract you sign. If it says you have to steam clean the carpets and service the airconn when you leave, the the landlord will probably keep your deposit to cover these thing. Document everything going in, take photos, a jointly signed condition report etc, so no surprises about damage you are accused of doing.

Presuming no money owing when you leave, you are at the whim of the landlord unless you have the time and money to pursue a court case. You could always withhold the last couple of months rent when moving out if you suspect the landlord will hold on to your deposit.

A lease via an agent would probably afford more protection.

At the end of the day, most landlords probably aren't in the business of keeping deposits.

Sound advice.

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1 hour ago, DonniePeverley said:

 

 

Thanks for the feedback guys. 

 

We are going through a major agent in Bangkok, probably the biggest. How would that afford me some protection ?

 

Obviously this is a considerable amount, hence i am not going to just 'walk away' with it approach many suggest historically. 

 

Intrigued by the 'jointly signed condition report' - i will look into this. It's a brand new condo and has never been lived in before, despite being 3 years old. 

 

 

Unfortunately there is not much you can do if a landlord refuses to pay you. Keeping a foreigner's rental deposit is like taking candy from a baby. Even if you tried to sue them for the money, you'd have to wait many months for a hearing. That will cost you a lot of money with lawyers and in court the landlord can make up any number of excuses not to pay.

 

I had an informal discussion with a senior judge about this very topic. He said if a landlord refuses to refund your deposit, just consider it as the cost of living there. There is no legal recourse that makes any sense.

 

The important thing is to be careful who you rent from. I won't rent from a Thai landlord as the chances of getting a refund are lower. They know the game and how easy it is to play.

Edited by JensenZ
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1 hour ago, DonniePeverley said:

He is from China

No chance???? Not that he is Chinese just that he doesn't reside here and as such is beyond the reach of the local system

 

In effect it is going to cost you 90,000 a month. If that is OK go ahead.

Edited by VocalNeal
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1 hour ago, DonniePeverley said:

 

 

Thanks for the feedback guys. 

 

We are going through a major agent in Bangkok, probably the biggest. How would that afford me some protection ?

 

Obviously this is a considerable amount, hence i am not going to just 'walk away' with it approach many suggest historically. 

 

Intrigued by the 'jointly signed condition report' - i will look into this. It's a brand new condo and has never been lived in before, despite being 3 years old. 

 

 

I doubt it does afford you more protection. No agency in Bangkok has stepped up to the challenge of doing deposit escrow for duration of tenancy and mediation at settlement, they don't want the responsibility aside from some that help you with getting setup with initial bills.  The first agency that starts doing deposit escrow before it becomes a government mandated scheme (UK etc) is onto a winner.

 

Think about what happens Zhang Zhang has to pay 80k commission to the agency that found you, most commonly this is deducted from the deposit, he now only holds 80k, you clobber him for a return of 160k, would I say more likely or less likely? The latter...

 

Maybe try subletting it from the agency, say you don't feel comfortable renting from someone outside of legal system, you want an established legal entity here to peruse with rental contract, deposit destination bank account and deposit receipt to reflect exactly that. 

Edited by circa02
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The bottom line is that if it's a desirable place, they can set the terms. And some realty markets are hot now and soon to get hotter.

 

I'm in a good building on the right side of Nimman Avenue (the Nimman1 Mall side). Apartments get rented in an hour.

 

The new deal is 2 months deposit and 3 months in advance. Someone just pre-paid for 2 years in advance. If I were renting a non-beach condo in Chumpeon, I'd have more leverage.

 

But I still wouldn't get my deposit back.

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