Tips

Renting a House or Bungalow Longterm

Monthly and longterm bungalows for rent on Koh Chang

Properties for Monthly and Yearly Rent on Koh Chang

I have a couple of places listed for long-term rent on the island but there are many more houses, bungalows and apartments that can be rented monthly.  There are a couple of reasons why I don’t have more listed:

  1. It’s a pain in the ass trying to deal with owners and keep availability / rates up to date and accurate.  These can change on a whim.
  2. Unless you already know the island well, I wouldn’t advise anyone to enter into an agreement to rent a house longterm.

The second point is the one that requires more explanation.  If you just need  a place for a month then that isn’t really a problem – you’re on holiday rather than relocating.  And if it’s a month during peak season then it would be better to book in advance, ( check Airbnb listings too ) rather than just arrive and hope to find a place with availability for a sensible price.

But if you are planning to spend, say, 6 months or more on the island then you want to be sure, before you hand over any money, that your new home is the best suited for your requirements.

The further away from the main beaches you are, the cheaper you’ll find rental properties.  Sitting at home, looking at a Googlemap, a 20 minute scooter ride might not seem too much of a hassle.  But in reality, if you;re faced with doing that every day then you might begin to value the convenience of a better located property more highly.

Do you know who your neighbours will be?  You sign up for a year lease on a nice bungalow which looks great in the photos.  But what you only discover when you arrive is that your local neighbours raise fighting cocks in their back garden and also love impromptu karaoke sessions.  Let’s hope you enjoy late nights and getting up at 5am, as that’s what you’ll be doing for the next 12 months.

Are there any hidden extras?  Is everything as promised?  You arrive at your new rental bungalow and discover that your definition of fully furnished and the owner’s differ somewhat.  Did you realise that the mattress was filled with coconut husk?  Probably not, as you’ll only discover that when you lie down for the first time.  Or that although cable TV is connected, there are 89 Asian channels, 7 Russian, 2 German and Fox News.   But not to worry, as the property comes with free wi-fi internet.  And it does.  But this connection is shared with a dozen other tenants and so the speed is barely fast enough to check your email.

And having agreed to pay for electricity and water . . . it’s only when you are here, meet people staying in other properties, that you realise what seems like a fair price for utilities is in fact a rip off.

So, my recommendation is to use the map below and any online listings that you find, to get ideas of places to stay.  They’ll give you a good idea of what to expect.  But ideally visit in person before you pay any money upfront.

If you’re in contact with an agent, ask them to take you around different properties  when you are on the island.  It will be more of a hassle and an additional expense to stay in a hotel or bungalow for 2-3 nights when you first arrive.  But doing that will ensure that you don’t make any costly mistakes by entering into a long term rental contract too hastily.
Kerdmanee Resort, Chai Chet. Longstay bungalows and pool

Listings for Properties for Rent

Where is the best place to live on Koh Chang?  That’s a question that I get asked quite a lot and there isn’t one correct answer.  As with any ‘Best’ questions, the answer depends on who is asking and what their requirements and expectations are.

You’ll find lots of information about what the different areas of the island have to offer in the Island Guide section of this site.

If you want to have a local village close by then the most touristy area of the island, White Sand beach, might not be the best place to look for a bungalow to rent.  Whereas it would be ideal for anyone who likes a bit of nightlife and just wants to stroll to an expat pub or bar in the evening.

Or if you want to be within 10 minutes walk of a beach, then although properties are cheaper in Bailan, you’re going to have to hop on your scooter or be faced with a 2Km walk on a narrow hilly road to get to the nearest good stretch of sand.

The map below shows some ( not all ) of the locations for rental bungalows and houses on the island.  In some areas – eg Lonely Beach, you won’t find many places specifically for monthly rental.  But you will find resort owners willing to do a deal on longterm rent.

As I mentioned above, it’s better to visit properties in person before you sign on the dotted line.  Take a day or two to look around in the areas on the map and see for yourself what’s available, talk to the landlords and inspect the properties to see if they meet your requirements.

What to Expect in a Rental Agreement

Most landlords will ask you to sign a pro forma, one page rental agreement form ( in Thai ) which they have bought from a local stationery store.  These are used across Thailand and biased in the landlord’s favour.  It fails to cover even the basics of rental, such as who pays for electricity and water, what the security deposit covers, who owns tenant improvements, etc. The language used is old fashioned, legal-ese Thai which many Thais don’t really understand.  So getting your head around what each clause actually means in reality can take a lot of effort on behalf of the landlord, yourself and whoever is attempting to translate for you.

The laws governing property rental tend to be very pro-landlord and little legal protection is afforded to tenants. Therefore, contracts have a tendency to be more biased towards the stronger party, and in most cases, the landlords as property owners are usually the ones who set the terms.

It’s best to view the main purpose of a property rental contract in Thailand as a written reminder of what is being agreed by both parties before the tenant hands over any cash and moves in.  In your mind you might think you have a legal document that will help protect you in the future should you have any disagreement with the landlord.  In reality, if there is any serious disagreement, you’ll lose.

Having said that, getting as much detail about the terms of the lease in writing as possible will ensure there is far less chance of problems if, say, you have to move out earlier than planned or the landlord decides that the improvements you made in fact damaged the property and so refuses to refund your deposit etc

Longstay Resort, Klong Prao. Spacious bungalows by the beach from 35 - 40,000 Baht/month

What you need is a contract in Thai and English that offers more detail about who is responsible for what under the terms of the rental agreement.

Within the contact, the following should be included:

  • The monthly rental fee
  • How long the lease is valid
  • What happens if either party terminates the lease agreement
  • All other terms and conditions
  • A signed an inventory listing all furnishing, fixtures, condition of rooms etc.

The landlord will also ask for a refundable damage deposit.  They want as much as possible from you.  You want to give as little as possible to them.  Aim for one month rental as a damage deposit, but don’t be surprised if the landlord insists on two months for a larger or newer house or bungalow.  This deposit can;t be used as payment for the last month or two’s rent.  If you try to do that, the landlord will be upset.  And you’ll probably return home one day to find your belongings on the street and the locks changed.

As a tenant you’re going to have some obvious obligations, for example:

  • Paying the rent on the agreed date
  • Paying utility bills in a timely manner
  • Ensuring that the property is not damaged
  • Only having the specified number of people living there
  • Give agreed notice when terminating the rental agreement

These are all common sense and the main one that concerns most landlords is paying the rent on time.  Ideally do it in person, and with a smile on your face.  All most landlords want are tenants who are polite, pay their bills on time and don’t cause problems for their neighbours.

Sub-letting.  Is it OK?

Note that, unless specified in the rental agreement, by law, you aren’t permitted to sub-let the property if the contact doesn’t specifically state that you can.  This is worth bearing in mind if you have an idea to rent a larger house and then put the extra bedrooms on Airbnb or if you plan on using your bungalow for 4-5 months a year and then getting someone else in it for the low season to help cover the rent.

You’ll find a few sample contracts online, use them to give you a good idea of what should be included in your own lease contract.  The one below is in English and Thai and covers all the bases – although it does state that the tenant can’t sublease the property.  Depending on your circumstances, you might want to change that.

A good landlord will want both parties to be in agreement and not have any misunderstandings due to language or culture.  So being able to offer them a contact to use that is clearly written in both English and Thai will ensure that their concerns, as well as yours, are covered.

Download Sample Thai & English Rental Agreement

If you have  a potential landlord who just answers any query or issue you bring up with “No problem” or “Don’t worry about it. ” and then assures you that he’s a nice guy and there won’t be any problems then that may well be the case.  But there again, if there are any disagreements in the future, you will lose as you didn’t get clarification initially.

Enjoy your house hunting!

2 Comments

  • I really like your site. Yu have put a lot of effort into the content which I hope provides you a decent roi.
    I have only two comments to make re your Baan Rim Nam.
    1. The land beyond the wall heading toward the river used to get rather boggy when it rained. I assume this is where I would have to park as I would be driving my pickup on arrival.
    2. Do you provide mosquito nets for the beds?

    Also sorry to read about Santa. I became one of his many admirers back in 2006.

  • Hi Rick

    There’s a parking area in the coconut field at the back of the house. Never gets boggy, no problem to park a car at any time of year. But the track gets big puddles after heavy rain.

    We don’t have mozzie nets in the rooms as it’s rare they a problem. The water round house is mostly sea water, so there are far more in the coconut field itself.

Leave a Comment