Airbnb Launches Thai Government Partnership, Legal Standing Improves

After recently announcing a partnership with the Thai government, the popular short-term rental platform Airbnb has begun coordinating with local Thai officials to legitimize the website and bring it above board. In turn, Airbnb’s hosts won’t face legal repercussions as long as they notify local authorities.

The issue is that prior to the partnership, hosts on Airbnb would rent out their homes without having to pay taxes or follow regulations that hotels face.

But the Department of Provincial Authority informed Airbnb representatives that existing Thai law already makes protections for homeowners who want to operate as small tourist accommodations. All hosts must do is register as a “homestay” with the Department of Local Administration (DLA) officials in their area.

Trained officials will then inspect the property and make sure it is clean and safe for tourists to stay in.

Airbnb and DLA officials will also work in tandem to boost tourism and local entrepreneurship by urging those with homes in beautiful rural areas to rent out rooms on the platform.

“We are like cupids,” Suttipong Juljarern, an interior affairs official said. “Our role is to make people meet and fall in love. In this case, it’s tourists meeting beautiful nature and friendly way of life.”

Thai officials made clear, however, that these legal protections are only afforded to homeowners as of now. Hosts who rent out their condo will have to remain on shaky legal ground for the time being.

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