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Putting a roof over your head

Have you just arrived in Phuket on a holiday and decided to hang around for a little longer? Here are a few tips to get out and find a place to call your own.

By Alasdair Forbes

Monday 5 November 2012, 04:22PM

Can anyone rent a house?

Yes, all you need is a valid passport and money and you’re set.


Do I have to sign a contract?

Yes. You should always ask for a copy in English (if not already provided), as English language contracts are still legally binding under Thai law. There should be no real surprises in there – just a fairly typical rental agreement – but it’s still important to read through it to avoid any conflict later down the track.


How much is the bond?

Usually you will need to pay one or two month’s rent as a deposit, as well as one month rent in advance. The deposit will be refunded when you leave, although expenses may be deducted for damages and/or cleaning fees.


What happens if I break the contract early?

In a place like Phuket, this happens fairly often. Some landlords are more tolerant than others, but the worst case scenario is that you will simply lose your deposit. Usually though if you can find someone to take your place, you’ll get the full deposit back (and maybe even a commission if you’re lucky).


What is the cheapest/most expensive area?

If you’re on a budget, avoid places like Patong and Surin. Obviously places right on the beach will attract higher rates. For the best value, look at places like Phuket Town, Ko Kaeo, Thalang, Chalong and Rawai.


What should I expect to pay?

This will really depend on both where you are, and what standards/ammenities you expect. You can find very comfortable apartments/houses around Phuket Town, Chalong and Rawai for less than B10,000, but as you get closer to the west coast, the price rises. Things like a western kitchen, pool and other luxuries will obviously attract a higher fee. Ultimately, rental properties range in price from around B5,000 per month all the way through to B250,000 plus.

Again, its important to put yourself in a position to negotiate. If it’s low season, or if the house evidently hasn’t been rented for a while (large piles of gecko poo are usually a giveaway), then your bargaining power is a little higher. Likewise if you’re going to sign a contract of a year or more.


Can I ask for furniture?

A lot of houses around Phuket are set up to be rented, so many come fully or partially furnished already. However if there is no furniture in the house, you may be able to negotiate with the landlord to buy it for you if you commit to a long term lease (i.e. more than one year).


Where’s the best place to look?

The Phuket News classifieds is always a good place to start, but in reality, many rental houses (particularly the bargain ones) are not advertised. It’s generally best to familiarise yourself with the island, decide which area you want to live in, and then spend a couple of days driving around looking for “for rent” signs. It’s best to take a Thai friend with you for this one, as many landlords will speak only limited English.


How much are utilities each month?

This will obviously depend on your usage. Expect to pay around B5 per unit for electricity, though rates for apartments/condos are a little higher. If you run air-con all day every day, you will be paying in excess of several thousand baht for electricity per month. If you have no air-con, no TV and no fridge, you won’t be parting with more than a couple of hundred.


What about connecting internet and TV?

Many rental houses/apartments will include cable TV and Wi-Fi. Some places do not. Again, this can be a useful tool in your ability to negotiate the price down. A decent internet package can cost you around B1000 per month on a one year contract (but includes a free wireless router). A basic cable TV package will come for around B600 (plus around B100 per month for the set top box rental), or up to B2000 per month for the premium service.


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