Hua Hin was a well kept secret from foreign tourists and residents until a few years ago. This has changed after tsunami when vitors to Thailand have switched their attention to other tourist destination like Hua Hin. As a result, property boom has followed and new development project have started appear everywhere.
Owing much to the presence of the Thai Royal Family, Hua Hin is a safe, peaceful destination, with beautiful beaches, and national parks close by. It is proving a popular retirement resort and the number of real estate developments has increased ten fold in the last couple of years.
Property sale went through the roof. Seeing chance to make a fortune some of the foreign developers have decided to make even more money by using not perfect Thai property law against their customers. Those foreign developers with their Thai advisers intentionally mislead their customers by making dishonest or unlawful contracts. This has created a lot of problems to innocent buyers. By publicizing these property scams some of the plaintiffs have started make complaints about the property developers. Without buyers making complaints and our support, the dirty tricks of some developers would continue. At the moment, some of the dishonest foreign property developers are changing their tactics with the support of their own Thai legal advisors. As we have seen now, the land and house development business is fast growing and the land price is so expensive that the Thais cannot afford. A pieces of land located in a forest surprisingly cost from Bt. 2 to 3 million per 1 rai!
Buying a piece of land is “a piece of cake”. According to the Thai law, foreigners are not able to own/buy a piece of land. Even if they set up foreign company they can buy 1 rai only. Many of the foreign property developers have started recently lease pieces of land. If they lease a land, they must register it at the Land Office, leasing directly with local landlords or companies providing land for leasing in Bangkok. Those dishonest property developers will try fool their customers saying that registering a piece of land to lease is quite difficult and requires a lot of money but making a contract with them is much easier. They prepare a contract between two parties for 30 years but write 3 years in the parentheses on the contract. When the buyer has a question on number 3 in the parentheses, they will not explain to them what this is for due to the fact that leasing a land without Land Office allowance can last 3 years only.
Today, many of those customers are reaching 3 years according to these dishonest contracts. They face the problem that now they are forced to lease the land by paying very expensive annual fee (hundred thousands baht) or the developers force them to buy the land on which they have their house. When they decided to buy the land, those landlords (often companies in Bangkok) will write an unreasonable contract to their customers again. According to the contract first the landlords (via their lawyer) will ask for Bt. 100,000 fee from the customers even knowing that the customer has already decided to buy a land. The law firm of the landlord will inform that the land transfer can be only performed in 2009, not 2008 and the customer must pay Bt. 100,000 while waiting for 2009. Secondly, buying a land must be made in a form of “juristic person” that means a customer must set up a company which requires a name of the landlord. As soon as we have read these contracts we have decided to alert other foreign customers.
Some of the foreign developers use Thai nationals which pretend to be lawyers. They are used by the foreign developers to pretend that the developer is making ensure that the contract is in order. But unfortunately for the buyers this is part of the plan to fool the buyers.
Another project owner has left the stopped construction of the project for 3 years even though the customer has paid 90 – 100 %. A lot of fooled ladies burst into tear in front of us when they were asked about the stories. Some of the buyers don't dare to make complaints because they are afraid of the developers.
Number of foreigners have met Governor and Hua Hin District Chief Officer and have made them aware of the scale of the problem.
Few days ago I met the Provincial Chief State Attorney and I have shown him examples of unfair contracts. He said that he is willing to help those customers in trouble, but he has never thought that hundreds of consumers would have this kind of problem.
Reported by Khun Tuck Dechapanya
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