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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Condos in Thailand - Your Rights

Many expats live in condominium buildings, lured there by the fact of owning their concrete box in their own name. However, according to Tony Crossley, there are traps for the unwary. According to the back cover, “Changes to the condominium act in 2008 have improved some things for condo owners, but they also benefit unscrupulous management. Certainly it is more crucial for condo owners to be aware of their rights.”
Condos in Thailand - Your Rights (ISBN 978-974-319-902-8, 2008, Tighe Books) is divided into eight short chapters dealing with such important items as Registration, Ownership, Certificate, Registration of Rights, Condominium Juristic Person, Dissolution, Competent Officer, Fees and Expenses and Penalties. Many people would be at sea just reading the titles of the chapters, as most would never have come across the title “Juristic person” in overseas living.
However, it is the first 45 pages that have to be digested first, with author Crossley covering voting rights, AGMs and how to run them, and even the experience of a farang in the Thai courts system (which incidentally seemed very fair and logical, the way it was presented).
It also becomes obvious in the first sections of the book that owner author Crossley has been having a longstanding contretemps with a chairman of the management group. Personally I found this somewhat unnecessary in the detail in which it is given. This leaves the reader with the feeling that the ‘raison d’etre’ for writing the book might be revenge, rather than public education.
This first section also shows the most common abuse and scam which an owner must watch for in the condominium management group, and that is that “management of a condominium should be to the benefit of all co-owners, but passing self interest resolutions is where much abuse originates. The 2008 amendment to the Condominium Act has made this possibility much easier.” Author Crossley then shows what should be done by the co-owners to circumvent this possible problem.
What is of much value to the condo owner is that this book takes the Condominium Act and prints each section in its original (in the legally required Thai language) and has the English translation with each one. However, one should always remember that it is the Thai language version which is the legally accepted one! It might be of interest to read that the manager of a condominium has many items which can render him ineligible, including previous bankruptcy, dismissals from any public or private corporation for incompetence or dishonesty, imprisonment and defaming behavior. How many co-owners would have the fortitude to question their manager over these things?
The chapter on penalties is interesting in its scope and the disparity in the actual penalties themselves, which seem to range from B. 6,000 to B. 100,000 for violations of the new Condominium Act.
At B. 395 it is an inexpensive little book, which does have much information inside. Many items come under the heading of plain common sense, in itself an oxymoron, which does mean that information booklets such as this do have a place in the average condo owner’s library.