The Thai rental market


The Thai rental market is large and property prices in Thailand are low compared to other countries. In general, it is easy to find a rental that meets your needs.

Most rentals in Thailand can be found in Pattaya, the biggest expatriate community in Thailand. Besides a significant number of affordable luxury rentals, Pattaya also has a good infrastructure and many international schools. Although rental costs in Pattaya are lower than in Bangkok, food and transportation costs are higher.

The second most popular destination for expatriates is Phuket (both for vacations and as a desirable retirement destination). Expatriate life is easier in Phuket thanks to the luxury housing estates, golf courses and shopping malls like Carrefour and Foodland.

Approximately half of all expatriates living in the Bangkok region prefer to live in the central business district of Sukhumvit (although housing prices in other districts of the city are less expensive). The remaining expatriates are spread out around Bangkok's suburbs as it is easier to find a house in these areas.

When looking for rented accommodation in Bangkok, consider your transportation options. If you do not want to be queuing every day in Bangkok's maze of one way streets and dead ends, look for a property which is near public transportation (e.g. the sky-train or the subway).

What type of properties can you rent in Thailand?

You can usually choose between 4 rental options:

  • Serviced apartment – Condominiums with a hotel-like atmosphere. You can enjoy a range of services such as having your bed sheets changed and your room cleaned. Serviced apartments are popular amongst expatriates in Bangkok´s business district.
  • Rented condominiums – Condominiums without additional services. (Note that not every apartment is a condominium and a building usually has to be registered as one. Condominiums usually have one or two rooms and a separate bathroom).
  • Houses – Houses are mostly found in the suburbs, where you can get the greatest amount of space for the best price.
  • Town houses – Town houses are smaller houses in the suburbs and cost a lot less.

Rental prices in Thailand

Thai rental prices vary from 4,000 Baht per month for simple student accommodation to 30,000 Baht for a luxury condominium in Phataya, Phuket or Sukhumvit (Bangkok). If you're looking for a house that meets western standards, you may find it difficult if you have a budget of 20,000 Baht or less (Prices are from 2009).

Student accommodation in Thailand

To find appropriate student accommodation in Thailand, you are advised to visit potential apartments directly. Student accommodation tends to be small, furnished apartments with the option of renting your appliances (e.g. televisions and refrigerators – this is common in Thailand.) The mattresses in student accommodation are usually very hard, and most foreigners choose to buy a new one. A one room apartment with basic amenities usually costs between 4,000 – 8,000 Baht per month (outside of Bangkok´s business area). Water bills will be approximately 16 Baht per unit; electricity will be 6 Baht and telephone about 5 Baht (depending on your telephone usage).

Documentation required for renting in Thailand:

For renting accommodation in Thailand you will usually need to provide the following documentation:

  • Passport
  • Copy of your work permit
  • Proof of income

Furnishings and fittings in Thai accommodation

Thai accommodation usually comes furnished (i.e. with a bed, television, wardrobe, refrigerator and maybe even a rice cooker). This type of accommodation is ultimately more expensive. If you are looking for something cheaper, look for an unfurnished apartment, which you can then furnish yourself.

When you first move into your new home, an inventory should be signed, which lists all furnishings and the condition of the rooms. This will avoid any inconveniences at a later date.

Housekeeping in Thailand

It is normal to have a maid and a driver in Thailand. The cost of a live-in maid (Mae Baan) is about 100$ per month. A Mae Baan takes care of your children, keeps your house clean, cooks, washes and irons for you. Bear in mind that it is considered very inappropriate to let somebody wash your underwear and socks in Thailand, so expatriates usually just wash their underwear and socks separately.

Further reading

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