Another advantage in renting a house is, apartments tend to put a high surcharge on your electricity and water bills. Many apartments have a minimum charge of 1000 bht for water alone. That is a significant amount considering my water bill never cost me over 500 bht living in a house with a family of 5, and we do A LOT of washing! Electricity can be anything between 5 – 7 baht per unit compared to the actual 3.75 baht charged by the MEA. Living in a house can save you up to half your utility bills compared to living in an apartment, and believe me it is A LOT of difference!
Thailand is cheap!
As you may already know, Thailand (more accurately, “Bangkok”) is not the cheap haven many foreigners once thought it to be, especially when it comes to housing. Property prices and rental have gone up considerably and that’s the way it goes everywhere around the world. The very same 2 bedroom unit I rented 5 years ago (in Silom) has gone up by 30% in rental and hardly any refurbishment has been done to it since! “That’s ridiculous” you say and believe it or not, I agree! But hey, I don’t make the prices and if you think agents benefit from that higher commission, that’s only true when clients actually think these houses are worth the price and that isn’t always the case.
Renting a house in Sukhumvit, Silom or Sathorn.
If you are looking to rent a house in the the Sukhumvit, Silom or Sathorn area, then the very minimum rental you are looking at is 30,000 bht for a BASIC 3 bedroom house. Even then, they are few and far between in that range, and more often than not are above 15 years old, with dark parquet flooring and lots of wooden built-ins which many people find dark and depressing.
Most people prefer something a little brighter and contemporary. That would mean newer houses between 1 – 5 years old and these start around 45,000 bht. Depending on the location, size, décor, facilities etc. these can go up to anything from 150,000 – 250,000 baht per month. For that price, please do not accept anything less than a spectacular, resort-like villa with a private pool!
No, but seriously, you do get what you pay for so be realistic when it comes to expectations and budget. If you want something new and modern but lack the budget, then move further away from the city centre. Which also means further away from the BTS line. Unfortunately, we cannot have it all and something’s gotta give.
Generally, if you go further towards the end of the BTS line and beyond i.e. Mo Chit, Phayathai, Phrakanong, On Nut, Bangna, Srinakarin, Rangsit etc. prices drop significantly and you get much better deals which are sometimes worth the extra time commuting.
Is it possible to find a house for 15,000 bht?
Not many agencies deal with houses below 25,000 bht. Just search the various property website in Thailand and you will see that the minimum range for houses are 25,000 - 30,000 bht, where the search usually returns 0 - 5 results. Several reasons for that:
1) There are a lot less decent and rentable houses at < 25,000 bht than there are at say, 50,000 bht.
2) If there is, it is usually way out of town, far from any BTS/MRT station.
3) Most people want to live in town, close to the city centre, CBD or near a BTS/MRT station.
4) Apart from location, houses below 25,000 bht are usually older (thus old fashioned) and not very well-maintained, which makes it very hard to rent.
5) If a house is nice and decent with an asking rent of 25,000 bht or less, some agents mark it up!
Thus, it’s hard to find nice, decent houses at 25,000 bht or less…
Regardless, there are plenty of cheap houses as low as 12,000 bht for rent, but remember, and I stress again - you get what you pay for! And most 12,000 bht houses I’ve seen are usually in serious need of repair and maintenance, and the really nice ones are located way out in whoop whoop district.
I don’t care as long as rent is cheap. Where do I look?
Again, you won’t find any agents to help you there and finding that perfect yet cheap and nice house is undoubtedly the hardest step. It usually takes months of driving around moo baan after moo baan, which would mean having your own transport and knowing your way around.
The word “Moo Baan” translates to “village” in Thai, but the term “housing estate” would be far more accurate. These usually have a guard posted at the entrance and are situated all over Bangkok. These houses usually offer much better value than stand alone houses, and are a good place for the house hunter to start his/her search. Try areas like On Nut between Sukhumvit 77 – 103, Bangna, Rangsit, Ramintra, Phayathai, Mo chit etc.
Concerns and other issues
Honestly, I know of many farangs, including myself who have lived in single houses and existed peacefully without any disturbances or trouble for years. I also do not know anyone who has been burgled personally because they were living in a house. Do you?
If you are considering renting a house and security is a main concern, rent a house in popular areas like Sukhumvit, Silom and Sathorn where there are many nearby apartments and condos with security. That way, you can benefit from the dense security in the neighbourhood.
Another option would be to opt for houses or townhouse within a “moo baan.” There are plenty around and majority of them have tight 24 hour security. Common sense would also tell me to explore the neighbourhood a little and have a chat with shopkeepers and a neighbour who might be willing to share some information with you. I’m sure you’ll have no problems getting a friendly neighbour to spill the beans on the house, its previous tenants and probably things you don’t need to know about your landlord. Welcome to Thailand!
2) Air conditioners
Check to see how many rooms have air-conditioning; and how old the air-conditioners are. If you are looking at an older house, chances are it will have those big, old blocks that rumble every time you turn them on. These old air-conditioners consume a lot more energy than a new one, and would greatly increase your electricity bills. It is also unlikely that the landlord will install new air-conditioners for you unless they are completely dead (even then they will always try to revive the monster before even considering replacing it), so make sure that they are serviced and cleaned before you move in or if you got a good deal on the rent, invest in some new airconditioners!
3) Water Pressure
Now this is important. Always check that there is a water pump. Then check the water pressure on the upper floors to make sure the pump has enough power to deliver a decent jet of shower. I’ve learnt from experience that size does not necessarily mean power when it comes to a water pump, and sometimes a 2nd pump needs to be installed to ensure constant deliverance of water into the house.
4) Telephone lines
Again, from experience it is in your best interest to check the phone lines to make sure that 1) you have one and 2) it is working, because some areas (and this includes many areas in the Sukhumvit, Silom and Sathorn) do not have anymore available numbers and you will have to join a looong waiting list to apply for a new one. Also, older houses above 10 years old tend to be on the old, analog system which when faulty, cannot be replaced unless the whole area is re-cabled. No telephone lines = no internet. You don’t ever want to be caught in that situation!
Houses within a secured compound will have what they call “moo baan fee” or “community fee” which goes into the maintenance of the estate i.e. security, pool and garden maintenance etc. This is usually included in the asking rent. However, if you try negotiating on the rent, then more often than not, the landlord will exclude this from the rent and make you pay for it, so check to see what your rent includes when you are signing the contract. This ranges between 20 - 45 bht per square metre. Thus, the larger your house the more you pay! I currently pay 3,500 baht per month for my “moo baan fee” (I got a 5000 bht reduction in rent, so it works out) and we have 24 hour security, a well-maintained common garden and a superb pool that is regularly cleaned, so I am happy.
At Bangkok Finder, we specialize in properties for rent. Home rental is our only business and that gives us all the time in the world to help find you that perfect house within your budget when you move to Bangkok. Our website http://www.bangkokfinder.com features hundreds of houses and apartments for rent, and is updated daily with quality rental homes. Our negotiators have long established relationships with landlords, which means you will always pay the best rate when we negotiate for you.
Author: Maddy Barber
About the Author:
Maddy Barber is founder of a professional property rental agency specializing in houses for rent in Bangkok. She has helped hundreds of expats and locals alike find their dream homes and her website http://www.bangkokfinder.com is updated daily with hundreds of properties, including apartments and condos for rent. It also features a popular blog packed full of useful information for those new to Thailand. Her staff speaks English, Thai and Chinese.