Bangkok Apartments: All you need to know before signing on the dotted line
So you’ve found your dream Bangkok apartment and you can’t wait to sign the contract and get your hands on those keys.. Before you scribble down your name there are a few things you definitely need to consider and be aware of to make sure your dream doesn’t become a nightmare.
Here are a few things to bear in mind when signing that Bangkok apartment contract:
Read through the contract 3 or 4 times and make sure you understood every word of it!
It may look like a long winded, uninteresting script worth little more than a skim read, but this is a legal binding document with a lot of your money tied to it. Make sure you understand every detail, rule, and clause, as well as understanding what your landlord expects of you. Don’t be afraid to questions anything you don’t understand (if in doubt always ask!), and don’t sign until you are 100% happy. If there is anything you are not happy with it’s not too late to correct it and work something out, however, once you have signed it’s too late to negotiate!
Make sure it makes sense!
If there were parts of the contract you didn’t understand due to poor English, don’t sign the contract. A lot of landlords and real estate companies will use professional translators to get their documents translated from Thai to English, but sometimes you may come across a document which was not translated professional and is riddled with poor English, leaving some parts lost in translation. Even if you have had parts of the contract explained to you if it’s not written and explained clearly on the paper then demand that it be corrected before you sign away.
What the contract must include
There are certain things that must be included within the contract for the protection of the tenant. If any of the following are missing, insist they be included before you sign.
- Length of contract and renewal procedure: this should include the exact date which you move in and how long the contract last. It should also state what happens once the contract reaches the last month. Some contracts require the tenant to give at least one month’s notice even after the contract length has been reached.
- Rent amount. Not only should the contract include the exact monthly rental amount (written in both numbers and words) but it should also include any common area fees you are expected to pay, such as building maintenance (if applicable).
- Rent payment date. It should also clearly state when and how the rent needs to be paid every month, including any fines or what will happen in the case of late payment.
- Security deposit. Again, exact amount of security deposit you are paying should be clearly written, as well as what it can be used for and what can be considered as damages or repairs which the tenant is liable to pay.
Other things which should be covered include utility bills, rules regarding pets, parking and guests. The contract should also cover termination conditions, in most cases if the tenant breaks the contract before its end they will lose their security deposit, but rules regarding the landlord’s right to break the contract early needs to be there, ie under what circumstances can they evict the tenant and how much notice must they give.