Hua Hin beach. Photo by Peerawat Jariyasombat
HUA HIN, Prachuap Khiri Khan: The Hua Hin Provincial Court has ordered owners of two luxury condominiums in Hua Hin resort district to pay fines worth nearly 30,000 baht for leasing their residential units on an illegal short-term basis to Thai and foreign tourists.
Under the 2004 Hotel Act, violators can be jailed for one year and/or subject to a fine of up to 20,000 baht and a daily fine with a maximum value of 10,000 baht.
However, because the plaintiffs, whose names were withheld, confessed, the court agreed to reduce their penalties, Rutprathip Thamraphiphat, chief of Hua Hin district told the media on Saturday.
The ruling followed an inspection of three units in a Wan Wela Hua Hin Khao Tao condominium in Hua Hin last December which found their owners illegally leasing them out on a temporary basis.
The owners were divided into three cases. Two of them were settled on Saturday while the other is still being investigated, according to Mr Rutprathip.
In the first case, the defendant was fined 5,000 baht and has to pay another 500-baht daily fine for 20 days, which is equal to 10,000 baht in total.
The 5,000-baht fine was also imposed in the other case, together with a 100-baht daily fine for 81 days, which amounted to 8,100 baht.
"The wrongdoers leased the units to Thai and foreign tourists, charging them at both daily and weekly rates, without licences," Mr Rutprathip said.
He led the search of the three rooms amid reports some owners were advertising their units on social network sites.
The condominium is located on a 20 rai of land in Soi Hua Hin 101 in an area of tambon Nong Kae.
Citing an initial investigation, Mr Rutprathip said he believed "up to 90%" of owners had bought their units in order to offer lucrative short-term rentals to tourists.
The issue came to light following a dispute between the condominium operator and unit owners, in which the operator insisted that all rentals must be for a period greater than 30 days.