2013-08-02

Find Your Ideal Expat Home in Bangkok

You’ve landed your dream job, now all you need to is track down the perfect home. But don’t worry, finding the right condo, apartment or house in the capital is a fairly simple process...


Moving to Bangkok to take up a new job is a challenging experience and one of the most important tasks is to find somewhere to live. This is a reasonably straightforward process with a wide range of choices that match a range of budgets, but it is important to understand the range of options.

The first decision is going to be where to live. This will be determined by where you are going to work, if you have children and where they go to school, and your need for access to public transport, especially the BTS skytrain.

The most popular expatriate residential area is Sukhumvit Road between sois 1 and 63 (odd-numbered sois on the north side and sois 2 to 42 on the south side). This is followed by the Lumpini area between Ratchadamri and Soi Ruam Rudi, and the streets off Sathon Road north of the Narathiwat Ratchanakarin intersection.

There are a few suburban locations favoured by some expatriate families because of proximity to schools. These include Nitchada Thani next to the International school of Bangkok (ISB), and some developments near Bangkok Patana school on Soi La Salle in the eastern part of Bangkok.

Most expatriates coming to Bangkok will choose to rent rather than purchase. There is a wide choice of accommodation types for rent including serviced and unserviced apartments, condominiums, single detached houses and townhouses.

Serviced Apartments are single-ownership buildings that provide units for rent that are fully furnished and equipped with all the appliances, cutlery, crockery, linen and amenities one would need. Effectively you can move in with just your toothbrush. Most serviced apartments provide a regular cleaning service, so it feels like living in a hotel except you have more space and a kitchen. The most common unit types are studios and one-bedroom apartments with a range of sizes.

Tenants can rent serviced apartments on a monthly basis or for longer periods. These are ideal for expatriates on short-term assignments or for singles or couples who want the convenience of everything being provided and the service. The rents per square metre are higher than for other types of rental accommodation with a range of between 700 and 1,200 baht per square metre per month.


Apartments are single-ownership multi-unit buildings and condominiums are multi-ownership multi-unit buildings where units have been bought by individual owners. Physically there is little difference between apartments and condominiums. Generally, both are offered on a furnished basis with major appliances but without linen, cutlery, crockery and so on. Most condominiums and apartments have facilities such as swimming pools.

The main difference is in the way these buildings are managed. In an apartment building, one company owns all of the units and is responsible for maintenance and repairs inside the unit and the common areas. In a condominium, the property managers of the building are only responsible for the management of the common areas and the individual owner is responsible for maintenance and repairs inside the unit.

The length of a residential lease is generally one year with the tenant paying a deposit the equivalent to three months’ rent and paying rent monthly in advance. Tenants are responsible for paying utilities such as electricity, water, telephone, internet and cable TV, except for serviced apartments where generally they are included in the cost.

Contracts are generally short and straightforward. However, it is important that anything agreed orally between the landlord and the tenant should be included in writing in the agreement to avoid any future misunderstandings.

It is also important to have a proper handover where any existing defects are listed and agreed upon in writing by the landlord and tenant. This way, when it comes to handing the unit back at the end of the lease, there is no confusion about who was responsible for any damage, which could result in deductions from the deposit.

CR: Bangkok Post, 28 July 2013 by James Pitchon

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