Our blog provides readers with useful and up-to-date information about the Thai legal system. Founded in 2019, the blog has quickly become one of the most popular sources of legal information and analysis in the country.
All our articles are written by experienced Thai lawyers and legal experts who provide readers with a helpful overview of the Thai legal system. Our blog covers a wide range of topics, including corporate law, tax law, civil law, international law, and more. It also provides readers with detailed information about the legal processes, regulations, and procedures in Thailand.
Overall, the FRANK Legal & Tax blog is one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date sources of legal information and analysis in Thailand. With its broad coverage and helpful advice, our blog is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in learning more about the Thai legal system.
Comments Off on Reduction of Land Office Registration Fees in 2023
Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday, 20th December 2022 approved tax measures to help boost public consumption to stimulate the economy moving into recovery. Land and property tax was reduced to 15% along with some registration fees being cut for the year 2023.
Measures to reduce the registration fee for rights and juristic acts for housing in 2023 include reducing the registration fee for transferring real estate from 2% to 1% and reducing the registration fee for real estate mortgages from 1% to 0.01% for housing purchases.
These measures will cover single houses, twin houses, row houses, commercial buildings, and condominiums (both new and pre-owned houses). This relates only to cases where the purchase price and the cost appraisal price do not exceed 3 million baht and the mortgage amount does not exceed 3 million baht per contract.
Comments Off on Short-term rental businesses via online platforms in Thailand
As the economy recovers from the COVID-19 crisis, Thailand is again attracting more and more tourists to the country. Visitor numbers are increasing, and short-term rental businesses through platforms such as Airbnb, including daily rentals via other online platforms, are gradually becoming more popular, encouraging villa and apartment owners to set up short-term rentals to allow tourists to stay in their properties.
Problematically, however, properties in Thailand are generally not allowed to be rented out for less than 30 days unless you have a hotel license, while condominium units are restricted to being used for short-term rentals under Thai Condominium laws.
Acting contrary to these requirements may constitute a criminal offense under Thai law.
Online rental platform – what is it?
An online rental platform is an online marketplace for travelers looking for accommodation, for example, Airbnb, Agoda, or Booking.com. The groundbreaking model allowing private landlords to host vacationers and business travelers has effectively transformed the digital platform into the “world’s largest hotel”.
Online rental platform’s legal status is still uncertain
Online rental platforms continue to face massive criticism for being major competitors to regular hotel and accommodation businesses. Hotel owners are not pleased about declining revenues while continuing to pay the overhead costs for their properties. As a result, they view online rental platforms such as the Airbnb model as an unacceptable hardship. As a result, like other countries, Thailand has imposed restrictions against Airbnb and its operations.
We have to be focused on two Acts, the Condominium Act B.E. 2522 (1979) (the “Condominium Act”) and the Hotel Act B.E. 2547 (2004) (the “Hotel Act”).
The Condominium Act, section 17/1 paragraph 2 states that no person shall be permitted to operate their business in the condominium except for the provided specific area of the condominium building. This regulation applies to short-term rentals via an online platform.
Another concern is the Hotel Act. Under the Hotel Act, the definition of “hotel” is a lodging premise established for commercial purposes to provide temporary accommodation to a traveler or any person for consideration. Therefore, a monthly rental or more is exempt from the definition of temporary accommodation of the Hotel Act.
Section 1336 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code (“CCC”) states that the unit owner can enjoy his rights over his property if it does not disturb others. However, the Condominium Act, which governs the usage of the condominium unit, prohibits the condominium owner from using his condominium unit for short-term rental.
Regarding landed property, the related piece of legislation is the Hotel Act which is, in principle, the same as for the condominium unit, which restricts the usage to short-term rental, except if such house owners have a hotel license. If the house owner has more than 4 rooms and is entitled to hold more than 20 occupants at a time, the property owner is entitled to apply for a hotel license to operate a short-term rental legally.
On the other hand, the house owner is entitled to apply for the non-hotel license if the property has fewer than 4 rooms and cannot hold more than 20 tourists at a time but still wants to operate a short-term rental. The owner has to apply for a non-hotel license. This will allow a short-term rental of a house to be valid and legal.
There are some specific requirements for each type of license. For example, for a non-hotel license, the owner must be a Thai national. Foreigners or juristic persons may not apply for this type of license. The reasoning behind this rule is to increase local people’s income, who could use their houses as accommodation for tourists as their additional main income source. The hotel license has stricter requirements than non-hotel licenses, such as hotels may not be located near historical sites, and entrance to the hotel must not cause traffic problems. Moreover, before applying for a hotel license, the building must also comply with the Building Control Act B.E. 2522. The regulation stipulates many more obligations for the applicant to comply with.
The legality of online short-term rental platforms in Thailand is still up in the air. The condominium is not allowed to rent on a daily or weekly basis. However, this is not a general rule, and it depends on whether each condominium regulation allows it.
In order to legally operate a short-term rental business, the house owner requires a hotel or a non-hotel license, as the case may be, subject to the Hotel Act. A house with fewer than 4 rooms and 20 occupants maximum shall obtain a non-hotel license; however, a house with more than 4 rooms and more than 20 occupants in the building must obtain a hotel license.
Thus, the legal status of online short-term rental platforms is still unknown as there is no clear answer by government authorities whether it is possible to do or not.
If you have any questions related to property in Thailand, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]
Comments Off on Buying a House in Thailand – Handover Checklist
When the owner of residential property changes, the last step after the visit to the land office and the receipt of the money is crucial: the handover of the keys; after this, the previous owner moves out, and the buyer moves in. At this point, all documents are handed over, a joint tour of the house is made, and meter readings and defects are noted. It makes sense to draw up a protocol for the handover of possession so that the sale of the house does not have any repercussions. We have summarized what you should pay attention to in the house handover protocol.
Summary of the most important things to remember in a handover:
As with a condominium, a house is handed over at an agreed time after the purchase contract has been signed, usually only after the money has been received.
The handover occurs under the agreed conditions, typically in a “bought as seen” condition.
Before the keys are handed over, the buyer and seller tour the property together.
Defects are noted in the handover protocol, including the “to do” list, who will take care of these, and by what date.
It also lists all the previous owner’s documents to be handed over to the new owner.
The handover protocol may also be referred to as the takeover protocol, as meter readings are recorded, and it is noted which inventory/furniture is being taken over.
The buyer and seller sign the handover protocol, and witnesses present also sign if necessary.
The goal of a handover protocol for a house or condominium is a smooth transition without legal disputes. It protects both sides: for example, the buyer can claim unlisted, missing, or required documents from the seller. If defects occur after the handover, which the seller neither concealed nor is responsible for, he does not have to pay for these to be resolved.
What should be included in a house handover protocol?
A good handover protocol checklist includes:
Names and contact details of the parties
Time of the inspection
Property data (address, last renovation, service charges paid until)
Meter readings (heating, electricity, water meters)
Furniture/inventory per room
Defects – including the basement, attic, garage, outdoor areas such as the garden, etc. Examples include a crack on a wall, a leaking roof, and faucets not working. A record is taken of who will remove the defects, by when, and at whose expense.
Repairs that have already been ordered or are still being paid for by the previous owner.
The number of keys from the mailbox to the tool shed.
A list of the documents handed over. Of particular importance are:
Building plans, floor plans, sketches, and static calculations
Comments Off on Applying for Thailand’s Long-Term Resident Visa (LTR): Requirements and Qualifications
The Thai government recently announced that they are making some changes to the Long-Term Resident Visa (“LTR”) requirements intending to attract more foreign residents to come to Thailand.
Kindly note that although the Thai cabinet and the Board of Investment (BOI) approve of this new LTR visa, there still has not been any official announcement from the Immigration Department as yet. Therefore we are still awaiting final confirmation for the time being.
This article will detail some of the currently discussed criteria and requirements for different application categories to live, work, and do business in the country. There are four categories of eligible persons:
1. Wealthy global citizen
The following is required to be eligible as a “Wealthy global citizen”:
a. Personal Income of no less than $80,000 USD per year in the two years before applying for the visa.
b. Directly invest in Thailand as an individual investor no less than $500,000 in at least one of the below items before applying for the visa:
Thai government bond issued by the Ministry of Finance with over five years of remaining maturity at the time of application.
Investment in a limited company or public company registered under Thai law, and investment in a venture capital company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Thailand, excluding investment in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).
c. The net asset value should be no less than $1,000,000 at the time of application (excluding assets without proof of applicant’s ownership and assets without reliable market appraisal evidence such as artworks, amulets, cryptocurrencies, or memberships).
d. Health insurance with coverage not less than $50,000 with a remaining maturity of no less than ten months at the time of application or valid social security benefits which insures for hospitalization and treatment in Thailand or a deposit not less than $100,000 in a bank account at least 12 months before completing the application.
The following is required to be eligible as a “Wealthy pensioner”:
a. 50 Years of age or older and receives a regular pension income of no less than $80,000 per year.
b. In case personal income is less than $80,000 but no less than $40,000 per year, applicants must have an investment not less than $250,000 in any of the following categories:
Thai government bond issued by the Ministry of Finance with over five years of remaining maturity at the time of application
Investment in a limited company or public company registered under Thai law, and investment in a venture capital company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Thailand, excluding investment in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)
Investment in real estate (condominiums)
c. Health insurance with no less than $50,000 coverage through the entire period of stay in Thailand or social security healthcare, which insurers hospitalization treatment in Thailand.
3. Work-from-Thailand Professional
The following is required to be eligible as “work from Thailand professional”:
a. Before applying for the visa, personal income should be no less than $80,000 per year in the past two years leading up to the application. In case annual personal income is less than $80,000 but not less than $40,000 in the past two years, applicants must have a master’s degree (or above) and own intellectual property.
b. Health insurance policy with no less than $50,000 coverage through the entire period of stay in Thailand or social security healthcare, which insures for hospitalization treatment in Thailand
c. At least five years of working experience in the relevant field to the current employment
d. The current employer must have one of the following types:
a public company listed on the stock exchange in any country, or
a private company that has been in operation for at least three years and has a total combined revenue of more than $150 million in the last three years.
4. Highly-Skilled professional
The following is required to be eligible as a “highly skilled professional”:
a. Highly skilled professionals working in business in targeted industries in Thailand.
b. Experts in targeted industries, working for a Thai government agency or a higher education institution, or a specialized training institution in Thailand
c. Personal income of no less than $80,000 per year in the past two years
d. In case annual personal income is below $80,000 but no less than $40,000 in the past two years, applicants must have a science and technology master’s degree or above or have particular highly-skilled expertise relevant to the job assignment in Thailand
e. No minimum personal income for experts working for a Thai government agency or a state-owned higher education institution, or a state-owned specialized training institution in Thailand
f. Heath insurance policy of no less than $50,000 coverage through the entire period of stay in Thailand or social security healthcare, which insures for hospitalization treatment in Thailand
g. At least five years of working experience in the targeted industries except for applicants working for a Thai government agency or a state-owned higher education institution or a state-owned specialized training institution in Thailand or applicants with a doctorate
Comments Off on Thailand Launches New Flexible Plus Programme to Attract Wealthy Foreigners
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently released the new “Flexible Plus Programme” under the Thailand Privilege Card scheme. This programme is designed to attract high-income foreigners to stay and invest in Thailand by giving them a work permit and other privileges.
The initiative offers valid cardmember privileges for at least ten years, and the minimum fee is one million baht. Under the programme, they offer three types of cards which are:
Elite Ultimate Privilege (EUP)
Elite Superiority Extension (ESE)
Elite Privilege Access (EPA)
Members of this program must invest at least USD one million within a year of the approval of their membership. It should be noted that the investment options must be from one of the following categories:
Stock in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)
A Public Limited Company or Limited Company
Moreover, this program also gives privileges to the cardholder by changing the type of visa from Privilege Entry (PE) to a Non-Immigrant (B). Including their spouse and children, the member can change their visa type to Non-Immigrant (B). The benefit of this is that a Non-Immigrant (B) visa allows cardholders to apply for a work permit lawfully.
It should be noted that the program does not provide any benefits related to property ownership by foreigners.
Any member who wishes to extend their “Flexible Plus Programme” must show evidence of investments made every year to the TAT. Otherwise, the status will only be valid for five years.
Comments Off on Government Regulations for Rental Business
Due to the increasing popularity of condominiums and apartments in the city, which comes with several issues related to rental and utility bills; as a result, the Contract Committee of the Consumer Protection Board has issued a new notification, the Stipulation of Residential Property Leasing as a Contract-Controlled Business B.E. 2562 (2019) (the “Notification”), published on 31 October, 2019, this new Notification has canceled the earlier Notification the Stipulation of Residential Property Leasing as a Contract-Controlled Business Contract-Controlled Business B.E. 2561 (2018).
Some of the key requirements under the new Notification are detailed as follows:
Residential property leasing business means a business that leases (or subleases) five units of property or more to individual lessees, for residential purposes, for a fee charged by the business operator, regardless of whether the units are in the same building or not. This includes all types of residential property that are leased for residential purposes, except for dormitories and hotels, which are regulated with different regulations.
Residential lease agreements must include a Thai version and certain information mandated by the Notification.
The business operator’s right to terminate the agreement must be written in red or black letters, or in bold or italics, and underlined, or emphasized in other ways that make such terms more pronounced than the other content of the agreement.
Invoices for the rental fee, public utility fee rates and service fee rates must be sent to the lessee at least three days prior to their due dates, and the lessee will have the opportunity to inspect the information on the invoices relating to the payments.
Details of the physical condition of the property and its contents, inspected and acknowledged by the lessee, must be attached to the lease agreement.
Show a calculation method of utility rates such as electricity bills, water bills, telephone bills.
The security deposit must be immediately returned to the lessee at the end of the agreement unless the business operator must investigate any damage to ascertain whether or not it is the responsibility of the lessee. If the lessee is found not to have caused such damage, the security deposit must be returned within seven days from the end of the agreement and the business operator retaking possession of the property. The business operator is also responsible for any expenses incurred in returning the security deposit to the lessee.
In case the agreement has a fixed duration, the lessee has the right to terminate the agreement before expiration, provided the lessee has leased the property for no less than half of the period specified in the agreement by providing at least 30 days advance written notice to the business operator, and must not be in default in respect to paying the rental fee or other expenses.
The business operator can only terminate the agreement if the written notice has been given to the lessee to rectify the breach within 30 days of receipt and the lessee fails to do so. However, only 7 days advance notice is required if the cause of termination results from actions of the lessee that affect the livelihood of other lessees. No advance notice is required if the lessee does not comply with the law and the regulations relating to public order and good morals.
Under the new Notification, clauses that have the following effects shall be invalid.
Waiving or restricting the liability of a business operator for breach of contract or wrongful acts.
Requiring advance rental fees equivalent to more than 3 months of the monthly rent and security deposit combined.
Entitling the business operator to change the rental fees, public utility fees, service fees, or any other expenses before the end of the agreement.
Any provision that allows the business operator to seize the security deposit or advance rental payment without any fault on the part of the lessee
Any term that allows the business operator, or its representative, to inspect the building or property without prior notice, unless an emergency situation exists that could cause damage or have an impact on the business operator or other lessees if the business operator does not conduct such an emergency inspection
Any provision for electricity and water supply fees is higher than the rates set by the appropriate authorities.
Any term allowing the business operator to prohibit or obstruct the lessee’s access to the property in order to take or remove the lessee’s possessions without exercising the right to legally terminate the agreement.
Any term that allows the business operator to request any charge or expense in exchange for renewing the lease.
Any term permitting the business operator to terminate the lease agreement without the lessee causing a material breach of the lease agreement;
Any provision that holds the lessee accountable for losses resulting from normal wear and tear of the property’s contents and equipment.
Any term that holds the lessee liable for damage to the property, contents, and equipment that occurred due to circumstances beyond the lessee’s control, such as force majeure.
Any term that holds the lessee responsible for problems in the property, contents, and equipment that occurred as a result of normal wear and tear.
The rental company has grown exponentially in recent years, and the consumer protection council has noticed a growing problem. As a result, a new notification has been issued to bring the legislation up to date. The major difference between this new notification and the previous version is the right of the lessee to terminate the contract and specifics related to the advance rental payment.
Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions about the above information.
Comments Off on FRANK Legal & Tax listed on Lexology
We are pleased to share that we are now listed on Lexology, one of the leading sites for international legal updates, analysis, and insights. At FRANK Legal & Tax, we strive to ensure that you can connect with us through various quality legal channels. Explore our hub here: https://www.lexology.com/contributors/frank-legal-and-tax
If you have any questions about partnerships, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or call us at +66 (0)2 117 9131 or 2.
Comments Off on Changing a Last Will with a Codicil
A codicil, or addendum, is a legal document that changes certain provisions of a will but leaves all other provisions unchanged. You can change, update or even revoke your will completely at any time as long as you are mentally competent. This article will look at some scenarios of when you could make a codicil or consider a completely new will.
When does a codicil make sense?
There are no written rules for when a codicil is required instead of a completely new will. Common sense dictates that it is best only for small changes, which are unlikely to be contested.
The consensus is that a codicil is sufficient if you want to make minor changes, such as adding or deleting certain bequests, changing who should serve as your personal representative, or updating the name of a beneficiary or your representative due to their marriage or divorce.
When does a new will make sense?
Consider making a new will if the changes you want to make are substantial, such as adding your new spouse as a beneficiary after a marriage. It is also a good idea in the case of other significant changes, such as:
Excluding a beneficiary;
Adding a newborn baby;
Changing distributions from family members to charity, or vice versa.
It is also important to clarify that your original will is revoked. Either destroy it, along with any copies that may exist or write “REVOKED” on each page with your initials or signature.
How to consolidate multiple codicils
What if you have made a series of three or four simple codicils over the years and now want to make another small change? Consider consolidating all your changes into a new will. It will prove helpful to the administrator of your estate, who will then have a single document to hand, rather than having to piece together the provisions of four or five separate documents.
It may also help the court recognize your will as valid because a new will spell out your final wishes instead of a conglomeration of provisions that may make your intentions seem unclear.
Note that a probate judge could declare your entire will invalid if the intentions appear uncertain, or they could decide to disregard some or all of your numerous codicils because the overall picture of your last wishes is confusing.
If a judge decides that your will is invalid, the result would be the same as if you died without leaving a will at all. Your estate would go to your next of kin under statutory provisions based on how closely related you are, even if this is not what you would have wanted. Your estate could go to the son or daughter from whom you have been estranged for years. In the absence of heirs, your assets could go to the state, even though you had intended them to go to charity.
Another concern is that the codicil could be separated from the will.
How to be sure that your codicil is legally valid
The codicil must be prepared under the relevant legal requirements, and the same formalities as for your original will must be followed. In Thailand, this means that two witnesses must be present and sign.
If you have any questions related to this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]
Comments Off on DBD Certification: Verification System and Trustmarks
This article discusses the different types of verification marks of the Department of Business Development (“DBD”). It will look at the requirements for each verification mark and the purpose of the verification system.
In line with current economic trends, e-commerce has become an important part of our lives, yet most e-commerce websites lack credibility in customers’ eyes. To address this problem, DBD established a verification system named “Trustmark Thai”. Trustmark Thai is a system for issuing a certification mark that helps e-commerce businesses gain credibility and customer trust.
It is noteworthy that the Trustmark Thai verification system is unrelated to the trademark registration system; furthermore, the verification system under the scheme should be distinguished from marketing and sales licenses.
Verification System Overview
“DBD Registered” Trustmark
The DBD registered certification mark is a certification that an e-commerce business can gain by registering with the DBD
“DBD Verified” Trustmark
In e-commerce, the “DBD Verified” trustmark should inspire confidence. It is issued to e-commerce operators to boost their credibility, by showing that the website has passed the DBD’s e-commerce business quality standards assessment.
DBD Verification System
“Silver Verified” Trustmark
The “Silver Verified” trustmark is issued to juristic persons who pass DBD qualifications as below:
Registered the business with DBD
Consecutively submitted financial statements.
“Gold Verified” Mark
Representing an excellent level, the DBD Verified Gold mark is available to juristic persons who meet the below DBD qualifications:
Registered the business with DBD for at least one year
Consecutively submitted financial statements for at least one year
Pass the following e-commerce quality standards
“Platinum Verified” Mark
Representing outstanding level, DBD Verified Platinum Trustmark is available to juristic persons that pass DBD qualifications as below:
Registered the business with DBD for at least two years
Consecutively submitting financial statements for at least two years
Pass the following e-commerce quality standards
The website has been awarded the gold level mark for two consecutive years.
After registration with the DBD, it will issue a letter of authorization to use the verification mark and verification code on the website, which will be valid for one year and must be renewed every year.
The DBD created five different trustmarks, each with its own set of requirements. The trustmarks serve the purpose of establishing credibility for the e-commerce industry. The DBD created three tiers of verified
Trustmarks to help customers decide which business is trustworthy. Furthermore, it should be noted that in order to operate an e-commerce business in Thailand, a sales and marketing license is still mandatory, such as a direct sales license.
Feel free to contact us at[email protected] if you have any questions about the above information.