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6 Thai Law Essentials for Thailand Property Rental
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6 Thai Law Essentials for Property Rental

If you don’t speak Thai, it’s very difficult to understand what Thai law says about renting your villa properly. Consequently, most people don’t really understand what they are allowed to do under Thai law. 

But it’s fundamental that you get it right, and to make a success of your rental property, you need to know some Thai legal essentials.  We’ve been working in this sector for ten years and our team includes native Thai legal experts, and foreigners fluent in Thai with long experience.


1. Short term rentals ARE allowed in Thailand

If you own a private house on private land (either freehold or leasehold) on Koh Lanta, then short term rentals are allowed.  

There’s some misleading information in the news about this: under Thai law, if you own a “Residential Condominium” then you’re only allowed to do monthly or longer rentals. “Residential condominium” means an apartment (generally in a huge block of 200 or more units) which you normally find in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai etc. That law does not apply to private houses, so as a villa owner, you can do short term rentals.

2. AirBnb is 100% legal in Thailand

There’s another common misconception: “Airbnb is illegal in Thailand”. Not true. There’s nothing illegal at all about using Airbnb or any other booking channels (like, Expedia, Tripadvisor) in Thailand. As long as you’re following the rules according to your property type, then you can use any of those booking channels to get rental guests. 

Residential condominium owners CAN use Airbnb – but you must do monthly or longer rentals. 
Private villa owners CAN use Airbnb for any kind of rentals. 

Why do so many people think Airbnb is illegal here? Its pure misinformation. You can use Airbnb, just make sure you’re using it correctly as per your property type

3. Your property does not need to be held in a Thai name to make money from rentals 

Whatever your ownership of the property is, if the property is in a foreign or Thai name, leasehold or freehold, you are allowed to make money from the rental of that property. Be aware, however, of the restrictions of working in Thailand and declaring accounts for your rental villa (points 4 and 5 below)

4. You don’t need a company or work permit to rent out your Koh Lanta villa

If you have a property management company to look after your property (bookings, guest arrivals + departures, management of house maintenance and services), then you don’t need to do any work, and therefore you don’t need any company or work documents yourself. 

However: if you decide to manage your own property rentals and you’re physically working at the house (bookings, arrivals + departures, management of house maintenance and services,) you will need a work permit to be legally working. In order to get a work permit you’ll need to set up a Thai Limited company 

5. You need to declare your accounts annually

If you’re renting out your villa in Thailand, you need to keep details of your property income and expenses over the year. At the end of the tax year, you’ll need to make a financial declaration to the Thai revenue department. Whether you’re making profit, breaking even or making a loss, by Thai law, this must be done. If you’re not keeping accounts for your house rentals, the revenue dept won’t allow you to rent any more. A property management company will do this for you, or you can use a local accountant

6. All guests need to be registered at immigration 

When you have people staying at your house, you must inform the local immigration office for each guest that’s staying. This rule actually applies to anyone staying at the house, whether paid or not. So if you’ve got friends or family staying (and even yourself) – you must register everyone with the immigration department. If you dont, there is a fine per day per unregistered guest. A property management company will do this for you, or you can apply for a login for your house and do it online