1D Property owner Wandee (Lekky) Iamyoung reviews the Thailand diplomatic clause for expat renters.
A Thailand diplomatic clause is often included in multi-year expat lease agreements. Without one, tenants could lose their entire deposit if they terminate their lease early. Landlords rarely make exceptions just because you found a better home elsewhere, although sometimes I can negotiate a better outcome for you.
Under the Thailand diplomatic clause, the landlord agrees to refund your deposit if you have to terminate your lease early. This is usually due to unexpected circumstances such as an overseas transfer. Expats who move around a lot commonly use the clause; hence the name.
The tenant must usually provide evidence, such as a letter from their employer or a work permit cancellation. A multi-year lease commonly has a diplomatic clause, which typically kicks in after the first 12 months. Some diplomatic clauses progressively decrease the amount of deposit that is withheld over time. For example, 100% is withheld in the first year, 50% in the second year, 0% in the third year. I’ve helped negotiate both types.
Some landlords are understandably reluctant to include a Thailand diplomatic clause unless they are confident they can easily replace the tenant. Many apartment blocks have steady relationships with multinational companies as a quid pro quo for including a diplomatic clause. Owners of a single property are also less enthusiastic because they’re worried about the sudden loss of income. That’s where 1D Property can help. We can sometimes persuade the landlord based on our steady stream of quality clients looking for a home in Bangkok.
How we can help
Without a Thailand diplomatic clause, its common for renters to lose all or part of their deposit if they break their lease early. I can often negotiate a better outcome with the landlord if I’m confident I can quickly find a new tenant to takeover the lease. If you have a multi-year lease and have stayed for at least 12 months, I might be able to negotiate a partial loss of deposit. It’s quite easy to negotiate on compassionate grounds, such as urgent medical attention. Yes, landlords are humans too!
At 1D Property we always check your rental agreement to ensure the appropriate terms are in place before you sign.
Wandee (Lekky) Iamyoung is the owner of 1D Property. She is both a Thai and an Australian. She moved back to Bangkok with her expat husband and their daughter after many years in Australia.