Rights and responsibilities of condo owners
23 December 2016
If you are considering purchasing a condo in Thailand, usually you will
think about the location, the view, the size of the unit and whether
you like the way it looks. But you also need to be aware of the rights
and responsibilities of condo owners. This was the topic of Shayachon
(Rose) Yangpreeda, who spoke to the Pattaya City Expats Club at their
meeting on December 11.
As a facilitator in real estate matters, Shayachon (Rose) Yangpreeda
provides assistance to condominium owners, Juristic Persons, and
condominium committees. She is very familiar with Thailand’s
Condominium Act and the respective responsibilities of the parties
She started her presentation by stating clearly that she was not a
lawyer; that her advice and comments will be based on her experience as
an interpreter and problem-solver in matters involving real estate. She
has found that it is all-too-easy for there to be misunderstandings
between a farang client and a Thai lawyer whose English may be less
than perfect. She has helped many foreigners sort out misunderstandings
with their own lawyers and Thai courts.
She warned that the real estate industry in Thailand is comparatively
unregulated and so buyers need to be careful, especially if they are
buying off the plan (development not yet completed). Further, that if
you are buying a condo in a development that is “off the plan”, you
should make sure that you are dealing with a reputable developer before
you put down a deposit. The most common problem people encounter with
developers is that they do not deliver on what they promise.
She cautioned against accepting the developer’s advice or offer of
legal services; but suggested that any contract should be reviewed by a
lawyer of your choosing. She suggested that a purchaser may like to use
some of the money they are saving by buying a condominium that is “off
the plan”, you should consult with a Thai lawyer of your choosing to
vet the contract to ensure that the contract will require the developer
to deliver on their promises. She said that you may wish to consult
with someone like herself, who can offer advice about the developer’s
reputation and can suggest an experienced lawyer in real estate matters
that you may wish to consult.
Rose suggested that prospective buyers also should consider the
advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a condo in your name, in
company name, or in the name of your Thai partner. She explained that
there are four types of property deeds. The two most common are the
Chanote and the Nor Sor Kor. The other two types are best avoided. She
also pointed out that the Government of Thailand is becoming stricter
about allowing foreigners to set up Thai companies for the sole purpose
of owning property.
MC Roy Albiston
presents the PCEC’s Certificate of Appreciation to Rose Yangpreeda for
her informative talk about some of the pitfalls of purchasing and
owning a condominium in Thailand.
She also pointed out the many laws and regulations affecting condo
ownership. At the top of the list comes the Constitution of Thailand.
The list also includes the Condominium Act B.E. 2551; various codes
that govern building construction and related matters; Royal
ordinances; Royal emergency decrees; Supreme Court decisions
(Administrative Court and Constitutional Court); ministerial
regulations; and provincial regulations, orders and announcements.
Rose gave several examples of when things can go painfully wrong: like
when the person selling you the condo turns out not to be the
legitimate owner! And how the developer and even individual owners and
real estate agents can do things to intimidate you. For example, she
said, if someone makes a complaint against you with the police as a
form of intimidation, and even if the police consider it frivolous,
that person can hire their own lawyer and press charges, both civil and
criminal, with the Thai courts. In addition, once you land in court,
the onus will be on you to prove your innocence. She mentioned one case
where the original charges were dismissed but then a second charge of
defamation of character was laid.
She advised that if you get involved in court proceedings, you may need
a translator to understand what is going on and to assist you in
dealing with your lawyer. She pointed out that not all lawyers have a
good command of English, but will smile and say yes when you consult
with them about your legal case. She cited one example where it was the
lawyer that called her in to translate his court filings with his
English-speaking client. In this case the client asked “What is this?
This is not my case.” She said it was obvious that the lawyer had
misunderstood the client when he brought him his case. However, at this
point it was too late to change the assertions made to the Court by the
lawyer on behalf of his client. She suggested that having a good
translator that is also familiar with legal proceedings to assist you
up front when retaining a Thai lawyer to pursue your case.
Upon conclusion of her presentation, she answered many questions from
the audience. This was followed by MC Roy Albiston bringing everyone up
to date on upcoming events and was followed by the Open Forum portion
of the meeting where questions are asked and answered about Expat
living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.
For more information on the PCEC’s many activities, visit their website at www.pcecclub.org.
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