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Shaky law on Airbnb rentals

Shaky law on Airbnb rentals

A court ruling on Airbnb in Hua Hin was meant to weaken sentiment among condo buyers who buy units to rent out on a daily basis. Yet the data shows the number of daily-leasing units continues to rise.

Apichart Chutrakul, chief executive of SET-listed Sansiri Plc which has developed a large number of condo projects in Bangkok and the provinces said developers cannot stop condo buyers who want to rent out their unit on a daily basis.

“We cannot control it and it’s not our duty to do,” he said. “After we develop a condo project and transfer units to buyers, it is the juristic person’s duty to manage the property.”

Sansiri has a subsidiary, Plus Property Co, which is a property consultant and property management firm. It manages Sansiri’s projects once completed and delivers units to buyers.

“If the majority of co-owners at a condo project agree to allow daily leasing, we as a property management firm need to follow their resolution,” he said.

He said the daily leasing of residential units is a world trend of the sharing economy. Like Uber, those who benefit are consumers, while the taxi drivers lose out.

However, government agencies cannot prove whether a car with passengers is an Uber or not.

Many cities in the world have tried to ban Airbnb but the number of units available on the platform has not declined.

“If non-Airbnb unit owners say that Airbnb infringes upon their ownership rights, they must realise that they [non-Airbnb unit owners] cannot infringe upon other owners’ right [to rent out on a daily basis],” he argued.

Mr Apichart does not believe that laws can enforce a ban on the daily renting of condo units, just like laws can’t guarantee people don’t cross the street in non-designated areas.

“In Thailand, daily and weekly rentals are already difficult to do as hotel rates are cheap,” he added.

Tritecha Tangmatitham, managing director of SET-listed developer Supalai Plc, said the company has a policy to prevent buyers who purchase condo units for daily renting by limiting customers to one unit per project.

“Investors who aim to buy for daily renting usually buy many units at a project as the management cost will be lower than having only one unit at a site,” he said.

Chanin Vanijwongse, chief executive of developer Habitat Group, which offers a rental yield guarantee at its projects in Pattaya, all of which have a hotel licence, said a court ruling on Airbnb in Hua Hin will have an impact on developers and buyers renting out on a daily basis, particularly in resort destinations.

“This ruling will not affect a condo if it has a hotel licence,” he said. “Any condo which is under construction and wants to offer daily rent can adjust the specifications to bring them in line with hotel regulations and apply for a hotel licence.”

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Sivana Dee

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