Return of lease deposits

Under Thai law, how many months’ deposit does a lessee have to pay a lessor before moving in? When can the lessee get the deposit back? Is it after the contract has finished? My landlord is talking about holding onto the deposit until my last phone bill comes. Does he have the right to do this?

  • Asked on Saturday, October 13, 2001 | 12:57 PM
    Confused Farang, Kata Beach.

There are no provisions in Thai law stipulating that a deposit is a necessary part of a rental agreement. However, deposits of one to three months’ rent are commonly used as a guarantee that the lessee will pay the bills he or she has agreed to pay as part of the rental agreement. The timing of the return of the deposit depends on the conditions set out in the rental agreement. Most deposits are paid back after the lease has expired, or after the final electricity, water and telephone bills have been paid. Whether your landlord has the right to withhold your deposit until these bills arrive or not, depends on whether it is specified in your rental agreement. If the rental agreement does not mention a deposit at all and the landlord holds back the deposit, the only way for the lessee to get his money back is to file a complaint with the courts. Waiting for the courts to order the landlord to hand the deposit back will normally take longer than waiting for the final bills to arrive.

  • Answered on Saturday, October 13, 2001 | 12:57 PM
    Sam Fauma, International Law Office.
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