In this article we outline the requirements, application procedure, timeline, and official fees concerning the homestay license based on our experience.
The house owners’ purpose for operating a homestay should be to gain additional income and not be their primary income source. There must also be at least three houses willing to join the project to qualify for the homestay license. With that being said, the house must be registered as a member of the homestay project organized by the Homestay Director Board.
With regards to room requirements, there must be a maximum of four bedrooms in each house, or no more than 20 tourists can stay in each house with the house owners.
It is a requirement that the house owners stay in the house with the tourists during their stay. The house owners can be away occasionally but not all the time. If the house owner cannot stay, someone else must stay with the tourists, such as a maid. The person staying with the tourists should be capable of taking care of the house and the tourists. Also, the house that is registered as a homestay should be the owners’ residence, the house that the house owners stay in every day. The objective of the homestay project is to show tourists the local culture. A homestay license for the rental of luxury villas may be possible, but only if the owners stay there every day and their names are registered as house owners in the house registration book.
It is important to note that the homestay business should have been operating under the basic requirements for at least six months before the application for the license can be submitted.
One further requirement is that a company cannot be part of the homestay because, legally, a company cannot own a house and cannot have its name listed in the house registration book. Therefore, the license can only be granted to Thai nationals with their names registered in the house registration book or foreigners with their names registered in the yellow house registration book.
Application Procedure and Timeline
Prior to the homestay application filling, a Homestay Director Board (“the Board”) should be formed first. There are important positions in the Board that are required, such as the president, vice president, marketing director, administrative director, house director, etc. The application form for the Board should also contain the list of the homestay members, which includes the house number and the name of the house owner. The homestay must operate for at least six months because there is required information that should be included in the application related to this, such as photos of the homestay and photos of the tourist attractions that the house owners will take tourists to, as well as the tourist statistics.
After the application is filed, it will take around eight to nine months for the Department of Tourism officers to visit the homestay sites and evaluate the quality of the homestay houses and the tourist attractions. Once the site visit is complete, it will take around two to three months for the homestay license to be granted because the Department of Tourism has to convene a meeting to decide the outcome based on the site visit evaluation and information submitted in the application.
Therefore, including the initial six months operation, it would take around 16-18 months before the homestay license can be granted.
As this is a program initiated by the government, Department of Tourism, the entire process to obtain the homestay license, including the application submission, is free of charge.
Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions at [email protected]
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Fabian, a founding partner of FRANK Legal & Tax, is a German-trained lawyer with expertise in corporate/commercial, real estate law, and litigation, and has been practicing law in Thailand since 2005.