How to rent an apartment in Bangkok?
Two weeks ago I signed up a contract and I received keys to my first apartment in Bangkok. Searching and all paperwork took me around 2 weeks. I think I learn a lot about how to look for an apartment and I think the whole process can be quite interesting.
Long-term or short-term lease?
In this article I will focus on a long-term lease, in Bangkok, you can find apartment with really good standard in a condo building. The only con of it is that standard rental time is 1 year (sometimes it is possible to find 6 months). So this is the option for a longer time. For a short-term lease, you can find not only hotels, but also "service apartments", they look the same as condos, they also offer the same services (like pool, gym etc.), but you can rent them for a shorter time. Also, electricity, water and cleaning are included in the rent price. You can find those apartments on Agoda (the most popular site for holiday booking in Asia, not Booking like in Europe) and Airbnb.
How much does rental cost in Bangkok?
The main factors that decide about price are localisation (how close is to BTS / MRT train), room standard and size. Apartments in size around 30 - 35 sqm, in a few minutes walking from a train in the good standard should cost around 15 000 - 20 000 baht. If price is the main factor for someone, it is possible to get a smaller, worse etc. apartment and to rent even for 5 000 baht. If someone wants something bigger / more luxurious, the sky is the limit, it is possible to find luxurious apartments in Bangkok.
How much other fees costs?
Rent is not the only thing that needs to be paid by a tenant, other fees that need to be paid are electricity (it is not possible to not use AC in Bangkok), the standard price is around 1 500 baht per month. Water is quite cheap - around 150 baht per month. Wire Internet connection costs around 600 baht per month (but if someone doesn't need fast internet, mobile internet can be a cheap alternative). Small apartment fixes are also on tenant cost, the most popular small thing is AC cleaning (should be done 2 times a year) ~ around 1000 baht.
How to start looking for an apartment?
That was the biggest problem for me, how to start? I think it is worth coming to Bangkok and spending here at least one week in a hotel or Airbnb, to see how the city is organised and choose an interesting neighbourhood.
A few neighbourhoods popular among ex-pats:
Sukhumvit (the most central place in the city, crossing of BTS and MRT, a lot of tourists)
Ari (close to BTS, calmer neighbourhood, partially for local people partially for ex-pats, a lot of good cafes and restaurants around)
Ekkamai (close to BTS, similar to Ari, but a different part of the city)
After choosing of neighbourhood it is good to look for condo building names there. Can be done by walking around or checking the internet. At this moment is good to check offers, to see what size of the rooms are available at what price. But don't stick to the offers you see too much, probably half of them will be expired already. To check buildings and offers in specific areas I like to use propertyhub.
Checking online offers
After creating a list of buildings that is interesting, time to join the chaos. As I wrote before, most of the offers that you have seen before are not available anymore. The solution for that is to check all fresh offers (a week maximum) on Google / Facebook (Just paste the building name in search and look for fresh offers). Most of the offers will be offered from Agents. It is worth contacting them then because they will reply with information if offers are still available and they can also show other apartments in the neighbourhood of a similar standard. This stage is chaotic, and nothing can be done about that, everyone needs to accept the chaos and crazy amount of messages. Bangkok has so many apartments that in a few days you should be able to find something nice.
Choosing the apartment, deposit, contract etc.
If you will be interested in the apartment you will be of course able to see it. After seeing a few rooms, you will probably choose one. Everything goes later really fast. Normally you would need to pay for 3 months upfront (1 month + 2-month deposit), you need to sign up a contract, send a transfer, and you can move in a few days.
How to pay for rent, fees etc.
It is not that easy to open a Thai bank account, I am still working on it. But at the same time, I needed to pay for the first rental, deposit and electricity, etc. About paying for the rent, you going to pay by normal bank transfer, after some research I've found that I can use Wise for that and I can get really good exchange rates and the transfer will be sent immediately. So I am using it for paying for the apartment. For electricity, internet, water etc, it is mostly possible to register on the authority website (mostly websites are in Thai, so use google translate) and pay by credit card. It is also often possible to get the bill to 7-11 or a local bank branch and pay there.