Video #40 | June 14, 2018
In this video I’m going to discuss AirBnB Bangkok and AirBnB Thailand. Given a recent court ruling it appears that both daily and weekly rentals are now effectively illegal. Pretty big news for AirBnB users and hosts!
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Welcome to the fortieth video of Bangkok Unmasked! The YouTube channel that helps you get the most out of your visit to Bangkok city! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing! In this video I’m going to discuss AirBnB Bangkok and AirBnB Thailand. Given a recent court ruling it appears that both daily and weekly rentals are now effectively illegal. Pretty big news for AirBnB users and hosts!
Before I begin, a disclaimer. This VLOG post does not constitute legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Let’s get started!
First off, my thoughts on AirBnB.
I want to make it clear that I’m a big fan of AirBnB. I have used their service in France and Italy. Both experiences were memorable. While I like certain hotel chains, AirBnB Bangkok and AirBnB Thailand can often be a much better deal as you get more space, more amenities for your money, and you feel like you’re properly experiencing the local culture. Hotel chains like the Sheraton, Hilton, Marriot and Intercontinental are great, but somewhat sterile. They’re basically the same everywhere around the world. Which I guess is part of their charm; you know exactly what to expect!
AirBnB is huge in Thailand!
What follows are 5 interesting stats. They come from a recent Bangkok Post interview with Airbnb’s head of public policy for Southeast Asia.
- Thai Airbnb hosts have served more than 1.2 million guest arrivals over the past 12 months and earned 4 billion baht.
- The 1.2 million guests represent a 66% year-on-year growth in arrivals.
- The Thai host community earned a combined US$119 million (4 billion baht) in supplemental income from February 2017 to February 2018.
- There are over 61,400 listings in Thailand on Airbnb, and the median host income averages $2,100 or 67,000 baht annually.
- Bangkok and Phuket contributed more than half of host earnings and guest arrivals over the past 12 months.
So why is AirBnB unpopular in Thailand?
The reasons for AirBnB’s unpopularity in Thailand are pretty much the same as in most other countries!
- AirBnB hosts avoid taxes and regulations that hotels, serviced apartments and guest houses have to comply with.
- While rare, guests have been harassed or even attacked by their Airbnb hosts. Also, and this is a big one, guests have been harmed on properties that weren’t safe. On the other side of things, guests have damaged or destroyed host’s property.
- Homes bought for the sole purpose of generating income have restricted local inventory and inflated real estate markets in major cities such as Bangkok and Phuket. Locals claim they are being squeezed out of their own neighborhoods by commercial landlords.
- Owners and legitimate renters of condos especially resent short-term guests who have no commitment to the community breaking condo by-laws. Common complaints include; excessive drinking in public areas, swearing, arguing, slamming doors, littering, spitting in elevators and smoking/drinking by the swimming pool. I have heard that some AirBnB properties have been used by foreign commercial sex workers to do business. This obviously is not the sort of thing residents want in their building!
- Thai law states that all properties which have non-Thai nationals living on their premises must register them with the immigration department. This can be done either online or at a local immigration office through the submission of a TM30 form. Many AirBnB hosts do not comply with this regulation.
What you need to know!
As of last month, May 2018, a court in Hua Hin has effectively ruled that AirBnB is illegal. The court ruling basically stated that renting out property via Airbnb on a daily or weekly basis contravenes the 2004 Hotel Act. This is because a license is required to run a ‘hotel business’. It seems that only rentals of 30 days or more are legal.
The question is whether the ruling will be enforced nationwide.
There are other legal considerations regarding AirBnB according to a friend who is a lawyer. Land and House Tax and Personal Income Tax are rarely paid on rental income. Also, renting out on a daily basis might in some cases be regarded as conducting a commercial business and consequently violate the Condominium Act. This act forbids commercial activities. There’s also the issue of foreigners doing business on AirBnB; the Foreign Business Act prohibits such activities.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Thailand being Thailand it’ll likely be sporadic crackdowns, and some unlucky AirBnB hosts will get fined. Currently for operating a hotel without license, the Hotel Act imposes the following:
- Imprisonment of not more than one year and/or a fine of not more than 20,000 Baht.
- A fine of not more than 10,000 Baht for each day of violation.
Maybe AirBnB hosts who have condos will simply rent them out on a monthly basis. However there have been a good number of cases where a condo’s management have refused AirBnB guests access.
Note. It’s getting more common in Bangkok condos to see signs stating that daily/weekly rental is illegal, and such tenants will be thrown out for trespassing. What follows are 3 signs that have recently been posted in Thai condos.
AirBnB Bangkok and AirBnB Thailand. Final thoughts.
It’s up to you, but I’d be very wary about using AirBnB in Thailand right now. It would really suck to find out that for whatever you can’t stay in your chosen AirBnB home. Having to find a hotel or guest house at short notice is usually a pain, and an expensive one at that.
Anyway. that’s it for this video. Expect a new video next week.
For all you techies out there, this video was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and edited using HitFilm Express.
To check out details on arranging a bespoke Bangkok tour with experienced tour guides, and luxury private transport, please click on the link in this video’s description section.
Finally, please don’t forget to subscribe to this channel through the button below! Also, I’d like to hear from you if you have any comments on AirBnB Bangkok or AirBnB Thailand. Maybe you have an experience of AirBnB Bangkok or AirBnB Thailand that you’d like to share! Please do reach out to me through the comments section of this video!
Thank you very much for watching. I’ll see you next week. Goodbye.