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Is Airbnb really illegal in Thailand, or it's just a rumor?

August 31, 2019

Is Airbnb really illegal in Thailand, or it's just a rumor? 

For those who read this article, we will look into the details of the “Airbnb Issue” in Thailand.
Airbnb in Thailand,  is operational, and visitors from all around the world are able to look for and find holiday homes, or short term stays on the onlineit's platform, however the a quick browse on Airbnb in popular holiday destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket & Pattaya, will show that many hosts remain undeterred and are still advertising condos on the short-let platform.

A BiG Market opportunity.

Airbnb is a world-wide company, with it's presence in over 100,000 cities and 191 countries.
The company's model of empowering private landlords to host holidaymakers and business travellers, has effectively transformed a way how we travel today, esentially giving us 100+ of other options to stay at our given destination. 

The Airbnb model offers a short let solution, allowing pprivate property owners to simply advertise on their website and manage bookings. With Thailand’s booming tourism market (38.27 million tourists visited Thailand in 2018) and the Airbnb proposition straigh away makes sense.

Hosts are reportedly generating above average rental yields (Compared to traditional long-term rentals) from their properties; also, since these short term rentals are “under the radar”, in most cases hosts pay no income tax on their Airbnb income.

However, this model creates direct competition with licensed hotels, and other official places for foreingers. Effectively putting private landlords in straight opposition with the Thai Government and the Thai Hotel Association (THA). 

The Realities of Enforcement.

Despite the risk of imprisonment, fines of up to 20.000THB & potential criminal records, there are still hosts willing to defy the law, as it is simply hard to enforce.
Most of these "offenders", take comfort in the anonymous nature of hosting guests and the fact that thousands of hosts only within Bangkok are still live and well on AirBnB, as it is not practical for Thai Police or local authorities to investigate and prosecute each and every offender.

In a marketplace like Bangkok, with hundreds of thousands of daily travellers and literally thousands of condos, hosts are essentially “needles in a haystack” for the Thai authorities. 

The responsibilities of self-policing and action will most likely come down to the juristic person within the building, committee and condo management teams.
Some condominiums taking a hardline ban against Airbnb hosts, with Big banners and posters in the common areas and lifts, while others passively ignore the commercial practice.



Disclaimer: This article is just an observer’s overview of Airbnb’s legal status in Thailand, it does not represent the opinion of Asia Central Property's views on the issue. This information should not be used as legal advice and individuals affected by these laws should consult with a qualified law firm.