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Buyer, and leaseholder, beware

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Why study Chiang Mai nightclubs?

Buyer, and leaseholder, beware

To whom it may concern:

This is an incredible story, containing a warning to all unwary foreigners.

With a Thai citizen as a business partner, I undertook to purchase a house in Chiang Mai, which was to be my residence here. The partner would be the owner of the house, and I the tenant. I was to put up all the funds for purchase, which would serve as the rent for so long as I occupied the place.

I hired a lawyer to look after my interests. She agreed to make a title search, write the contracts for purchase of the property and for the rental, and to counsel me on all legal matters surrounding the transaction. I followed her advice to the letter on every respect.

Upon signing the purchase contract, I paid the owners (a mother and her children), in cash, 100,000 baht as the down payment. The contract provided that I would have early occupancy, one month before closing, for repairs and upgrading the 40-year-old teak house, at a cost to me of several hundred thousand baht. On the first day of occupancy, I and two workers took out several non-functional windows, removing old wiring, repairing an internal wall containing a huge plywood-covered hole, etc.

At the end of this day, in marched a gentleman, bursting with anger, who declared himself to be the owner of the property, and charging us with criminal trespass. He called the police, imprisoning us on the property until they arrived, and had us taken to the Chang Phuek police station where he attempted to have me charged as a criminal.

I called my lawyer, who uncharacteristically had not turned off her mobile phone promptly at 5 p.m. She convinced the police that I should not be imprisoned, and I was released only after signing a police report chronicling the event.

It now appears that the gentleman is, in fact, an owner of the property; he is the youngest son of the mother, whose identity was not revealed before the day of the my arrest, and who apparently was not included by the mother and her eldest son in the sharing of the 100,000 baht I paid as down payment.

I lay most of the blame for this unfortunate turn of events at the foot of the lawyer, who failed to do a proper title search, who assured me all along that the down payment was recoverable in event of default of the owners, and who advised me to make the payment in cash. When I asked her to proceed with recovery of my down payment, she stated that she could (or would) not do so, said that she resigned as of that moment, and told me that I should seek other counsel, which I promptly did.

Not only did she resign, but she has refused to refund any of her fee, which I paid in advance, but also has refused to turn over my file (or even a copy) to the new lawyer unless I first sign a document relieving her of any obligation to me. Inasmuch as she had not completed the work for which I paid her in advance (such as doing a proper title search, preparing the rental agreement, and attempting to enforce the purchase agreement which calls for a refund of down payment in the event of default), I refused to sign the document.

At this point, recovery of my down payment and of my fee to this lawyer is doubtful.

I am writing this to serve as a warning to any foreigner who might think of leasing property in Thailand, and particularly of hiring this particular lawyer for counsel. Her conduct would be certain cause for disbarment in almost any Western country, but is apparently within the laws and customs of Thailand.

So, beware!

If any reader wishes to see a copy of the purchase agreement or the police report, or to have the name of this lawyer revealed, I will furnish privately upon request to me at my email address: [email protected]

Frank T. Wheby

Chiang Mai

Chiangmai Mail spans the globe

Dear Chiangmai Mail,

Thank you for the quick reply about subscribing to Chiangmai Mail. As you can see, the first issue arrived safe and sound here in Switzerland and we took it with us on our last mountain hike. It is our great pleasure to be informed about the many activities going on in Chiang Mai and we are looking forward to coming back in autumn.


Best regards,

H. Treubig


Why study Chiang Mai nightclubs?

Dear Editor,

Regarding your news article CMM No. 18; page 2 - Entertainment industry wants venues to stay open late...

Does the government have nothing better to do, than a study on nightclubs in Chiang Mai? If this study would be undertaken in Koh Samui or in Pattaya, this would be understandable, but here in Chiang Mai?

Chiang Mai is very well known for tourists who come here because of nature, the beautiful surroundings, to relax, for wellness, or, in case of backpackers, for a last stop before moving on to the more rural areas in Laos and China. I know from reading the different tourist papers that e.g. Pattaya is fighting for years now to have its entertainment spots open until 4.00 a.m., which would make sense, since the tourists visiting the ‘Fun Resort on the Eastern Seaboard’ are quite different from the couples and backpackers who are coming up north.

So, my thoughts are: if the government has nothing better to do than a ‘nightclub study’ on the almost non existing nightspots in Chiang Mai, they seem to be quite happy.

Best regards,

Lorne Meyer