Perfect Homes

Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a House in Chiang Mai

How much time does it take to track down a house to rent in Chiang Mai?

Going it alone in the quest to lease whichever of a detached house, a terraced townhouse/shophouse or a house within a moo baan [gated housing community] in Chiang Mai and you could spend an eternity searching fruitlessly! Despite vastly outnumbering condos, houses for rent here aren’t always obvious as such looking from the street, often have a Thai owner who’s unable to speak English and, far more widely dispersed, occur mostly in the surrounding suburbs and neighbouring districts of Mae Rim, San Sai, Doi Saket, San Kamphaeng, Saraphi, Hang Dong and San Pa Tong. Really, the only hassle-free and speedy approach to finding a suitable rental house is to avail of a real estate agent. And after pinpointing a suitable dwelling, don’t forget to reserve the property by handing over a holding deposit!

What’s the minimum rental term for houses in Chiang Mai?

Precious few house owners will accept a stay of anything less than 6 months whereas roughly 80% impose a minimum lease period of six months and the rest rquire nothing short of a one year commitment.

Will I need to bring or buy my own home wares?

For an entirely bare bones or partly furnished house, you most certainly will need to contribute various of your own fittings (though seldom fixtures)! And although straightforward and affordable to obtain in the city, the cost of which may not offset the naturally cheaper rental price, the effort involved and the time required. Yet, at any moment, between a half and two thirds of houses for lease in Chiang Mai exist, more conveniently, as fully furnished units; many of which, in fact, are kitted out with everything a tenant could comfortably need or, at the most, missing only household linens (bedding and towels, for example) or everyday kitchen wares.

Is it all right to keep a pet in a rental house?

With only a very limited choice of pet-friendly apartments and condos to rent in Chiang Mai, animal lovers stand an infinitely better chance of being okayed to accommodate a scaly, feathered or furry companion by leasing a house. Not only are owners normally more amenable to tenants sharing the place with a pet but, as a bonus, houses offer a much greater degree of liveable space (for less!) and, as a rule, outside grounds in the form of an enclosed yard or garden. Though, please understand that the stand house rental excludes pets so if you have a pet or are planning on getting one, then let us know!

What’s the fee to rent a house in Chiang Mai through Perfect Homes?

There isn’t one! Because all costs are met by the house owner before we advertise their property, our service is always free for prospective tenants!

What documents will I need to rent a house in Chiang Mai?

Apart from your current passport as proof of identity and a current visa, nothing at all!

Am I required to have a particular type of visa to rent a house in Chiang Mai?

Provided you hold a valid visa, visa exemption or visa extension, it makes no difference which to rent a house here! Still, it’s important to be aware that lease agreements are expressed in whole months but Thai entry permits and any extensions thereof are granted in days so you’ll need to carefully coordinate the length of time you plan to spend in Thailand with the duration of the rental contract in Chiang Mai in order to maximise the number of days you have on the tenancy.

Are tenants screened before being allowed to rent a house in Chiang Mai?

Unlike in the west, it’s not common practice in Thailand for potential tenants to have to produce character/employment references or a lease guarantor, or be subject to a credit check.

Will I be given a lease agreement, what does it state & will it be written in English?

Worry not, Thai law demands that an official rental contract is drawn up and endorsed by both the tenant and the landlord (either of the property owner or their chosen representative). As a legally binding arrangement, lease agreements in Thailand set out the obligations of the landlord (lessor) and the “duties and liabilities” of the tenant (lessee) alongside a series of terms and conditions. And for the added protection of the two parties, typically backed by an itemised list and schedule of condition for the house, its contents and any associated land. At Perfect Homes, our tenancy agreements and inventories are issued in English as the norm but can instead be presented in Thai script if you prefer!

Is it completely above-board for a foreigner to rent a house under their own name?


How come I have to pay a security deposit & how much will it be?

Whether renting real estate in Thailand or anywhere else in the world, the bulk of landlords expect the tenant to stump up a security deposit in advance as collateral against any damage, breakages, outstanding bills, or unsanctioned additions or modifications to their property during the tenancy; it is, though, refundable in full once the tenant takes their leave of the premises…as long as, of course, they’ve observed the letter of the lease agreement throughout! In Chiang Mai, before receiving the green light to rent a house, it’s customary for the tenant to have to part with a security deposit equal to two month’s rent.

Does Chiang Mai Immigration need to be informed if a foreigner occupies a rental house?

Yes they do! In legal effect for nearly three decades but only strictly enforced since September last year, the onus of notifying the stay of a non-Thai citizen rests firmly with the landlord (whichever of the house owner or, as delegated by them, their property manager, visa agent or, at certain moo baan, the juristic person). So to avoid running afoul of the law and suffering a financial penalty, the landlord must report each and every foreign tenant living in the rental house no later than 24 hours of their moving in.

Who do I pay the rent to & by what method?

Upon signing the lease agreement, the holding deposit you handed over earlier becomes your first month’s rent with subsequent rental payments in the sum and on or before the due date spelled out in the contract going to the landlord. Each house owner has their own favoured way of fetching monthly rental payments but the majority in Chiang Mai opt for the funds to be sent to their bank account directly.

Other than rent, what else will I be billed for monthly if renting a house in Chiang Mai?

As decreed in the fine print of the lease, tenants are accountable for the separate payment of utility bills but which, in contrast to the rent, are charged in arrears. Happily, those residing in a house qualify for the most economical tariffs for mains electricity and water. All the same, depending on when precisely you moved into the house, you probably won’t have to wait a full month before the next utility invoices arrive. And while it’s not necessarily a monthly expense, houses here are habitually outfitted with a built-in gas burner so tenants can purchase bottled LPG to cook in the privacy of their own home!

How do I get online in a rental house?

Unless living in a moo baan with on-site facilities featuring complimentary WiFi in communal areas, individual houses in Chiang Mai aren’t ordinarily equipped with ready internet access. But with the owner’s consent, tenants can organise their own installation of home broadband or otherwise use a 3G/4G mobile data network. If having a fast, reliable online connection is mission critical (and especially if considering a house at a distance from the city), though, it’s wise to confirm availability of the internet before putting your pen to the lease paper!

Does a cleaner or gardener come as standard when renting a house in Chiang Mai?

Not likely! Aside from the occasional live-in helper or external contractor supplied by the owner, tenants would need to source their own mae baan [the local term for a housekeeper or maid] or gardener with the going rate for domestic workers in Chiang Mai about 300 to 500 baht per day.

Who’s responsible for upkeep of the interior & outdoors of the rental house?

Beyond keeping the property –indoors and out- in shipshape order, it’s for the tenant to tend to general maintenance tasks such as changing a blown electrical fuse and keeping drains clear of debris; small repairs like unblocking a clogged toilet or retouching the sealant in the bathroom; as well as mending or replacing any articles belonging to the owner which they’ve damaged or broken during the tenancy. On the other hand, if the shower has gone kaput, the garage door has jammed, the roof is gushing water or you’ve unearthed a serious termite infestation then you’ll be handing those off to the landlord!

What will happen if I end my lease sooner than previously agreed?

No matter what your justification (or amount of pleading on your part!) to exit the rental contract prior to its original expiry date, tenancy agreements in Thailand make it abundantly clear that doing so will result in the tenant having to sacrifice all of their security deposit. Even with a break or takeover clause specified in the lease, tenant’s are at the mercy of the landlord’s discretion.

How can I extend my rental contract?

Once they’ve gone their full term, tenancy agreements in Thailand don’t simply continue on a month-by-month basis as they usually do in the west. So if you’re eager to stay put in the house, just give your landlord at least a month’s heads-up whereupon a brand new lease for another fixed term will be prepared!

When exactly will my security deposit be returned?

After purging all of your worldly possessions, restoring the property to the same clean, liveable condition and layout, squaring any remaining utility bills and turning in the keys, landlords are routinely permitted up to one month to refund the security deposit (minus any rightful deductions) though, in reality, the money’s often repaid before the tenant actually vacates the house.

Care to pose any other questions about leasing a house in Chiang Mai? Feel free to hit us with your enquiries below!

Leave a Replay


    • Robert Borreson

      on said  

      I would only add that I’ve heard some sad stories about the landlord not returning the deposit.
      I don’t know if these cases ended up in court, and don’t know if the tenet was stuck with the cost of his own defense.
      Whatever the case, it left me with much apprehension in renting houses.

  1. Robert Andrade’

    on said  

    I have read that landlords expect the tenant to pay for repairs like air conditioners, washers, water heaters, etc. I would not want to enter into a leasing arrangement under those conditions. In America we are not responsible for anything that is attached to the property upon entering a lease agreement. At most, maybe a deductible of an agreed upon amount of say $50.00.

    We are moving to Chiang Mai in November and this is a major concern.

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on said  

      Hi Robert,
      generally speaking are not responsible here either, though the same as anywhere in the world you are responsible to maintain these items in good working order. For example air conditioners are expected to be cleaned every six months and this is the renters expense.
      I would not over think this and we will be more than happy to explain our standard contracts in more detail though please understand every property is owned by an individual owner and their requirements will vary slightly.
      We look forward to helping you find the right property here in Chiang Mai.
      Perfect Homes

  2. Alan Pybus

    on said  

    We have returned from Chiang Mai to the UK after a three month stay at D’Vieng, Santitham. We are returning in November on a retiree visa.
    We did not receive our two month deposit back from the manager of our apartment as he stated we have to wait 30 days.
    He has now also accused us of switching the washing machine from a Beko to an Hitachi??
    And said he will be contacting the landlord to find out what make of washing machine was in place when we took on the lease. This is a ludicrous accusation to make.
    We were considering buying a condo at D’Vieng but this experience has left us with many concerns regarding trust.
    We do not know who the landlord is as the Manager will not give us his details.
    Really do not know if you can advise us in this matter but feel rather desperate as we feel he is going to keep our deposit of 26,000 baht.
    Kindest Reagrds
    Alan & Wendy Pybus

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on said  

      Dear Alan & Wendy,
      We are currently aware of one agent operating mainly in D’vieng. People are having great difficulties in getting their deposits back. Though there is not much we can do to help as we are not linked to this agent in any way. Please do email us directly and we will offer some advice and confirm we are referring to the same agent.
      Please note that the agent in question is mainly targeting short term holiday rentals – and is not one of the main agencies in Chiang Mai. Please do be careful and check for company reference and reviews before putting any deposit down here or anywhere.

  3. David Holum

    on said  

    Thanks for this helpful article. I will be returning to C.M. in May. My partner has a small dog and we would like to rent a house or condo that allows for pets. We would prefer to be in an area close to her business which is not far from the YMCA. We would appreciate any help you can provide.

  4. Glenn Roe

    on said  

    I will be looking for a rental condo in the beginning of March 2019. In the US, agencies have MLS (multiple listing service) meaning that an agent can sell or rent properties listed by a different agency. Does that exist in Chiang Mai or are you limited to just the properties that you list?

    • Perfect Homes (Chiang Mai Properties)

      on said  

      Dear Glenn, the MLS system as such does not really work here as owners already give there property to multiple agents so every one lists independently. We have by far the most unto date and active listings, so we are hoping there is only one website that you need!

  5. Clayton E Sawin Jr.

    on said  

    the new law as I understand it …Only have to give 2 months rent in advance..You can leave the property if you give a 1 month notice and receive your deposit back…. Clay

  6. macauly

    on said  

    left after the 6 month lease was up, got my security deposit back the next day, 3rd i was there longer and the year lease was extended for another year but i had to move early, gave him 21 days notice (not 30), deposit returned after an inspection. In all cases, they wanted a 500baht cleaning fee which to me was fine (and i think in the lease somewhere).
    I always pay my rent on time, which always helps ;). In all cases, anything that broke due to age or no-ones fault, I’ve informed them, they have always fixed, from cheap things to a brand new aircon unit once (I’ve owned rental properties in my home country and as a property owner, i want to know when things break so I can maintain my investment…). i have broken things twice over the 4 I’ve rented, my fault entirely, (a night lamp and a dining chair), I replaced the items and told them about what happened, all was good.
    Maybe I’m just lucky but I’ve had nothing but good experiences in the last nearly 3 years in CM. Communication, honesty and pay your rent on time have seemed to me see me right.


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