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This is Thailand

1. What is going to happen to housing prices over the next year?

Hugh:
If I knew the answer to this question I would become rich. But let’s break down the question a bit. Are you thinking about the cost of buying a new house or about the value of a house you currently own?
The builder of my Moo Baan is currently building a 150 house Moo Baan in Bangkok. After one year of trying, he has sold 22 units. That seems to be happening all over. You would think that slow sales like this would help lower the price of a new home but Thai real estate acts somewhat differently than western logic would predict. When a price is put on a house, piece of land, condo, etc., the owner often will not sell at a price lower than what they originally thought it was worth. This is why you will see houses on the market for years.
If you are thinking about prices of previously owned homes, there are different forces at work on real estate here in Thailand. The price of a house in the west is determined by the prevailing market. A house owned for that amount of time in Thailand will most likely go down in price, just as an old used car would. As stated above, there are enough new houses around if you were in the market to buy and if you can find a farang to buy your old house you might get a better price.

2. I know for a fact that a neighbour, whom I consider a friend, is being beat occasionally by her husband. I realise that most Thai families don’t encourage the law to get involved in these situations, but I feel she needs my help. Are there any organisations to protect women, who could I call besides the local police?

James:
Domestic violence is fairly common in Thailand, and not long ago, when women were seen as owned by their husbands, it was not viewed as a crime. Things have changed and it is definitely a crime now, though depending on where you are living, the ethos of the community, and the efficacy of the police, some women may still find it difficult to be heard or secure themselves protection. There are organisations to protect women; The Friends of Women Foundation is a non-governmental organisation that works to protect the rights of women. It is in Bangkok but serves the entire country. You can contact them via their website www.friendsofwomenfoundation.net or call 02 513 1001. You may also contact The Pavena Foundation for Children and Women www.pavena.com 02 552 6570. Foreigners can also contact their embassy.

3. I am thinking about marrying a Thai woman who already has two kids with another man, this man does not pay child support or help in any way. If we were to get married (the Buddhist way) _ I have a house _ and we were to break up, would she have the legal right to stay in my property, and would I have a legal obligation to provide for the children?

Hugh:
The woman doesn’t have any rights to live in that house if her name is not on the house registration. But, what if she refuses to leave the house? That could pose a huge problem.
There really isn’t anything like common law marriage here. So the man does not have any legal obligation to support anyone else’s kids. The biological father should still have that obligation, whether he is doing so now or not.