The Hua Hin Provincial Court has ordered owners of two luxury condominiums in Hua Hin resort district to pay fines worth nearly 30,000 THB for leasing their residential units on an illegal short-term basis to Thai and foreign tourists.
The case has effectively decided that people who rent out their rooms on a daily and weekly basis, including via AirBnB are acting illegally.
Under the 2004 Hotel Act, violators can be jailed for one year and/or subject to a fine of up to 20,000 THB and a daily fine with a maximum value of 10,000 THB. However, because the plaintiffs, whose names were withheld, pleaded guilty, the court agreed to reduce their penalties, RutprathipThamraphiphat, chief of Hua Hin district told the media. AirBnB actively promote their business in Thailand and the consequences from the ruling could be immense for the company, renters and consumers alike.
The court ruled that people renting out their rooms on a daily and weekly basis contravened regulations surrounding hotels. Rentals of 30 days and more would be legal. The ruling followed an inspection of three units in a Wan Vayla Hua Hin Khao Tao condominium in Hua Hin last December that found their owners illegally leasing them out on a temporary basis.
In the first case, the defendant was fined 5,000 THB and has to pay another 500 THB daily fine for 20 days, which is equal to 10,000 THB in total. The 5,000 THB fine was also imposed in the other case, together with a 100 THB daily fine for 81 days, which amounted to 8,100 THB.
It is understood a third case is pending. “The wrongdoers leased the units to Thai and foreign tourists, charging them at both daily and weekly rates, without licenses,” Rutprathip said.He led the search of the three rooms amid reports some owners were advertising their units on social network sites. The condominium is located on a 20 rai of land in Soi Hua Hin 101 in an area of tambon NongKae.
Citing an initial investigation, Rutprathip said he believed “up to 90%” of owners had bought their units in order to offer lucrative short-term rentals to tourists.The issue came to light following a dispute between the condominium operator and unit owners, in which the operator insisted that all rentals must be for a period greater than 30 days.