How to Rent an Apartment, Condo or House in Bangkok?

The first step to making any city your home is finding the right place to live. In this article, we'll provide you with a comprehensive guide to the rental process in Thailand's capital.

Bangkok is undeniably one of the top destinations for both business and lifestyle in Southeast Asia. With its rich history, captivating culture, vibrant lifestyle, and thriving local economy, it’s no wonder that people from all over the world are drawn to this city!

However, for newcomers planning to relocate here, the bustling energy of Bangkok can often feel overwhelming and bewildering. But fear not, because this urban jungle can soon become your home sweet home with a little guidance!

The first step to making any city your home is finding the right place to live. In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to the rental process in Thailand’s capital.

Types of Rental Accommodation and Neighborhoods in Bangkok

Condos and Apartments

In some countries, the terms “apartments,” “flats,” and “condos” are often used interchangeably to refer to the same type of property. However, in Thailand, condos and apartments are distinct rental property types.

Condos

Condominiums, or condos for short, are residential buildings where each unit is owned by a different landlord. In a 100-unit condo, you could have 100 different property owners.

Bangkok is dotted with condos, offering a wide range of lifestyle choices for renters. Due to the large supply, they are typically competitively priced, providing excellent value for long-term renters.

Condos are usually fully furnished and equipped, although they may not include kitchenware, beddings, or bathroom essentials. The standard rental term for this property type is typically 12 months or more, although shorter periods may be negotiable with the landlord.

Apartments

Apartments, on the other hand, are residential rental buildings owned and managed by a single company. These professionally managed rental operations offer lease options ranging from mid to long-term, such as month-by-month or 12-month leases. Apartments provide greater flexibility for tenants and are more responsive to maintenance and property issues due to their professional management.

When renting an apartment, you can expect a ready-to-move-in experience. Some apartments even come with complete home essentials like beddings and cutlery, as well as pre-installed internet and cable TV. Luxury serviced apartments may even offer additional services like housekeeping and concierge.

Due to the added benefits and services, apartment rentals and utility bills generally come at a premium compared to condos.

Houses

For renters, especially families with pets, renting a house is also an option. However, be aware that houses in central Bangkok tend to command high rental rates due to the active housing market and limited availability.

Those seeking more affordable options can explore residential suburbs, where gated housing communities, known as “Moo-Banhs,” offer a great community environment with shared amenities like clubhouses and 24-hour security services.

Overview of Popular Neighborhoods for Expats

Bangkok is a sprawling city with hundreds of unique neighborhoods, but the most popular attractions and lifestyle areas are usually concentrated in the Central Business District.

Silom-Sathorn

(BTS/MRT Stations: BTS Saladaeng/ MRT Silom, BTS Chong Nonsi, BTS Surasak)

Silom-Sathorn is the oldest and most established part of Bangkok’s prime areas, often referred to as the city’s financial district due to the concentration of financial institutions. It offers a delightful lifestyle with some of the best dining spots and eateries in Bangkok. The area also boasts a vibrant nightlife scene with trendy bars and clubs.

Ploenchit-Lumpini

(BTS/MRT Stations: BTS Siam, BTS Chidlom, BTS Ploenchit)

Ploenchit-Lumpini district is comparable to London’s Mayfair or Tokyo’s Shibuya, making it one of Bangkok’s most expensive and desirable addresses. Wireless Road in Ploenchit is home to various embassies, including the US, Swiss, and Japanese embassies. This area is teeming with luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, and coffee shops. Chidlom, a prestigious residential area, offers numerous hangout spots like Central Chidlom Mall and Velaa Sindhorn Village. One of the highlights of this district is its proximity to BTS Siam, the heart of Bangkok’s shopping and retail scene, featuring luxury malls like Siam Paragon, Siam Centre, and Central World.

Sukhumvit

(BTS/MRT Stations: BTS Nana, BTS Asoke/ MRT Sukhumvit, BTS Phrom Phong, BTS Thonglor, BTS Ekkamai)

Sukhumvit is an immensely popular residential area, encompassing a large district. However, the main attractions and lifestyle spots are typically concentrated between BTS Nana and BTS Ekkamai. Sukhumvit’s popularity stems from its diverse lifestyle offerings and a wide range of rental options catering to different budgets, from affordable to high-end.

This bustling district offers something for everyone, from Nana’s renowned nightlife and Asoke’s office towers to BTS Phrom Phong’s luxury shopping malls and independent eateries. Thonglor and Ekkamai, known for their hip residential scene, complete the Sukhumvit experience.

The Rental Journey: Navigating the Process Like a Pro

Effective Initial Research and the Role of Real Estate Agents

When it comes to searching for rental properties, most people turn to online platforms. In Bangkok, there are several popular property portals like Dotproperty.co.th, Hipflat.co.th, and DDproperty.com. You can also explore Facebook Groups and Facebook Marketplace for more options.

As a potential renter browsing these platforms, you will likely connect with a property agency. Consulting with a property agency is the easiest way to navigate the urban jungle of Bangkok and find suitable properties.

When speaking to a real estate agent or realtor, keep in mind that no real estate licenses are required in Thailand. It’s essential to conduct a quick background check on the property agency. Review their website, social media pages, and online reviews, such as Google Business Reviews, to ensure their credibility.

Property Viewing Tips and the Decision-Making Process

Ideally, start your property search approximately 1.5 months before your planned move-in date. Beginning your search too early, around 2 months or more in advance, may make landlords and property agents reluctant to accept an early rental reservation.

To optimize your search and save time, clarify the following details:

Budget range

Preferred location

Required property type

Preferred length of lease

Move-in date

You’re not obligated to work exclusively with a single property agent. It’s possible to view properties with several agencies. However, it’s important not to go overboard. It’s advised to work with 1 or 2 agents; as rental properties in Bangkok are usually advertised by multiple agencies and this may result in duplicated property offerings.

Viewing properties with real estate agencies is free of charge, and it’s common to visit multiple properties before making a decision. Negotiation is a standard practice in Bangkok, so don’t hesitate to negotiate rental rates. Additionally, making additional requests such as changing the TV or requesting beddings is not uncommon.

Negotiation: Securing the Best Price!

As a renter, you naturally want to get the best value for your money. Landlords in Bangkok often leave room for negotiation in their rental prices. Here are some tips to help you secure the best prices:

Make a Firm Offer and Demonstrate Strong Commitment

When negotiating a new lease, it’s important to agree on the following details:

Agreed-upon monthly rental rate

Length of the lease

Move-in date and start of the lease

Additional conditions (If any)

Once these details are confirmed, communicate your commitment to the property agent. Let them know that you’re willing to commit to a rental agreement if these conditions are agreed upon.

A firm offer and strong commitment allow property agents to negotiate more confidently with the landlord.

Fast Move-in and/or Long Lease

Landlords appreciate tenants who can move in quickly, as it reduces the vacancy period for their rental investment. If you’re able to move in promptly, it can work in your favor. Additionally, longer lease lengths, such as 18 months, 24 months, or more, can help negotiate lower rental rates.

Upfront Payment

If you can pay rent upfront, it can be used as a negotiation tactic to potentially reduce the monthly rental rate.

Personal Profile

Landlords are concerned about potential damage to their property’s interiors. Provide the property agent and landlord with a sense of security by sharing information about your background, professional profile, or track record of peaceful renting.

By employing these tactics, you can often negotiate a lower rental rate and save more money each month!

Standards in Bangkok’s Rental Market: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

Common Expectations for Deposits and First Month’s Rent

Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect rental home, completed the negotiations, and are ready to reserve the property. But what’s next?

To initiate a new lease, potential tenants are typically required to make the following payments:

  • 1-Month Advance Rent
  • 2-Months Rent as a Security Deposit

In Bangkok, it’s standard to pay a booking deposit equivalent to 1-month’s rent to secure the property. This booking deposit is either transferred to the Property Agency or directly into the landlord’s account and serves as the first month’s rent.

Before the agreed-upon signing and move-in date, the lease agreement and inventory are usually drafted for review. If everything checks out, the standard security deposit, equivalent to 2-months rent, is collected by the landlord. This deposit acts as a form of security in case the lease is terminated early or if any damages occur to the property.

In the unfortunate event that a tenant cannot fulfill the agreed lease term, they would have to terminate the lease and forfeit their security deposit unless a special lease condition, such as a Diplomatic Clause, was agreed upon between the renter and the landlord.

New Thai Rental Law Applied to Specific Landlords

In 2018, a new law called “The Regulation of Residential Property Leasing as a Contract-Controlled Business B.E. 2561” was enforced. This law introduced certain regulations for landlords operating large residential rental operations (such as apartments and landlords with multiple properties).

The law stipulates the following conditions:

  • Only a 1-month security deposit can be requested.
  • Tenants can terminate the lease with a 30-day notice without forfeiting their deposit.
  • The security deposit must be repaid within 7 days.

However, it’s important to note that this rental law applies only to “Contract-Controlled Businesses,” which includes landlords with more than 5 rental properties. Small landlords with fewer than 5 residential properties are not subject to these regulations. 

Additionally, it can be challenging to determine the number of properties a landlord owns, making enforcement of this law difficult. Nonetheless, larger multi-property landlords are actively following this regulation.

Lease Agreements and Inventory Checklist

Lease Agreements

Most lease agreements in Bangkok follow a standard format, providing equal and fair protection to both tenants and landlords.

A lease agreement typically includes details of the landlord (full name, ID card number/passport number, and bank details) and key lease information, such as:

  • Rental term with exact start and end dates
  • Monthly rental price
  • Security deposit amount
  • Prohibited activities and associated penalties

The lease agreement outlines the responsibilities of the landlord, which include:

  • Ensuring the property is ready for move-in and that furniture and appliances are in good working order.
  • Providing support for maintenance issues beyond the tenant’s control.
  • Refunding the security deposit, minus deductions for damage and maintenance caused by the tenant, within a specific timeframe (normal wear and tear excluded).

The lease agreement also outlines the responsibilities of the tenant, which include:

  • Ensuring peaceful enjoyment of the property and not disturbing neighbors.
  • Paying rent and utilities on time, with penalties for late payment and possible lease termination for non-payment.
  • Agreeing not to engage in prohibited or illegal activities (e.g., subletting, conducting illegal business, smoking in the property, etc.).
  • Generally, if a tenant terminates the lease before the agreed rental period, they would forfeit the security deposit.

By understanding these standards, you can navigate the rental market in Bangkok with confidence, knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

Inventory Checklist

The Inventory Checklist is an essential document that supports the lease agreement. As a renter, it’s crucial to ensure you receive a checklist of the furniture and appliances in the property. Additionally, this checklist should be accompanied by clear color photos of the property, furniture, and appliances.

Inventory checklists play a vital role in assessing the property upon checkout and ensuring that the necessary deductions are accurately determined.

Managing Your Tenancy

Understanding Repair and Maintenance Responsibilities

Before moving into the property, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property is in good condition and that everything, especially electrical appliances, is in proper working order. Generally, landlords clean the property and air conditioning units once before the move-in.

During the tenancy, it becomes the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the property in good condition. This includes routine cleaning and air conditioning maintenance throughout the rental agreement.

But what about minor repairs?

Depending on the terms of the lease agreement, minor expenses amounting to approximately 1,000-1,500 THB are typically the responsibility of the tenant, such as changing light bulbs.

It’s worth noting that most condominiums have a Juristic Management Office with dedicated handymen and technicians who can assist with maintenance issues, either free of charge or for a minor repair fee.

And what if there are major maintenance issues?

In general, if the issue arises due to wrongful action or negligence by the tenant, it is usually their responsibility to cover the maintenance expenses. For example, if a tenant loses their condo access key card and needs a replacement, they would be responsible for the cost.

However, if there is a maintenance issue not directly caused by the tenant, it becomes the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the tenant can peacefully enjoy the property. For instance, if there is a water leak in the condo above the rental property, it is the landlord’s duty to rectify the situation.

Ending Your Tenancy

Preparation for Check-Out and Security Deposit Refund

Typically, 30 days before the lease ends, tenants should inform the landlord of their intention to move out. It’s important to note that checking out of a rental condo is different from checking out of a hotel room.

A formal check-out inspection is conducted when moving out of the property. During this inspection, the landlord and/or the property agency will be present to conduct a final assessment.

If the property is in good condition, damage deductions or maintenance expenses are agreed upon on the same day. However, if there are significant damages that require the involvement of building contractors or specialist technicians, deduction estimates may take longer.

The landlord must transparently communicate an itemized list of maintenance deductions, if any. Generally, standard leases guarantee that the security deposit will be refunded within 15-30 days of move-out.

To ensure a smooth move-out and security deposit refund, it’s important to:

  • Remove all personal belongings and trash from the property upon check-out.
  • Ensure all electricity and water bills are paid, keeping the latest receipt or transfer slip as proof of payment.
  • Clean the property and arrange for the air conditioning units to be cleaned.

By following these steps, a smooth check-out experience and security deposit refund can be ensured.

Conclusion: Renting Made Easy in Bangkok

We hope that this article has made the process of renting in Bangkok much simpler for you!

Let’s recap the key points:

  • In Bangkok, you have various rental accommodation options including condos, apartments, and houses. Condos offer competitive rates and diverse choices, while apartments provide flexibility and premium services at a higher price. Houses are available, but they tend to be more expensive. For more affordable housing options, consider suburban gated communities in Outer Bangkok. 
  • The popular neighborhoods for expats in Bangkok are primarily located in the Central Business District, such as Silom-Sathorn, Ploenchit-Lumpini, and Sukhumvit.
  • When searching for a rental property, it’s advisable to start your search approximately 1.5 months before your planned move-in date. Clearly define your budget, preferred location, property type, lease length, and move-in date. Work with 1 or 2 agents to avoid duplication of property offerings. Take advantage of the opportunity to view multiple properties for free, negotiate rental rates, and make additional requests if necessary.
  • To secure the best rental price in Bangkok, make a firm offer with specific details, demonstrate a strong commitment to the lease terms, consider a fast move-in or longer lease to appeal to landlords, offer upfront payment if feasible, and provide a reliable personal profile to inspire confidence in the landlord. These tactics can help lower the advertised rental rate and save you money.
  • In Bangkok’s rental market, it’s common for tenants to pay 1 month’s advance rent and provide a 2-month security deposit. The advance rent is typically paid as a booking deposit to reserve the property, while the security deposit acts as a form of security in case of early lease termination or property damage.
  • A new rental law in Bangkok applies to landlords with more than 5 rental properties. This law regulates certain conditions, including a maximum 1-month security deposit, allowing tenants to end the lease with a 30-day notice without forfeiting the deposit, and requiring the security deposit to be repaid within 7 days.
  • Lease agreements in Bangkok generally include details of the landlord and tenant, rental term, rental price, security deposit, prohibited activities, and the responsibilities of both parties. Landlords are responsible for ensuring the property is ready and maintained, while tenants must ensure a peaceful residency, make timely payments, and adhere to the rules. An inventory checklist supported by photos is crucial for assessing the property’s condition and determining deductions during the checkout process.
  • In Bangkok, landlords are responsible for the property’s initial condition before the tenant moves in, while tenants are responsible for routine cleaning and maintenance during the tenancy. Minor repairs are typically the tenant’s responsibility, while major maintenance issues caused by the tenant may require their financial contribution. When ending the tenancy, inform the landlord at least 30 days in advance, conduct a formal check-out inspection, ensure the property is clean, settle utility bills, and remove personal belongings to facilitate a smooth move-out process and receive a security deposit refund.

By following these guidelines, you can navigate the rental process in Bangkok confidently and enjoy a smooth and successful tenancy experience.

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