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Can Farangs "work" on condo committees without a work permit.


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I have been asked to be on the Committee of my condo, the post also acts as Juristic Person for the condo. I am on a non O visa with no work permit. I am quite happy to do it but am worried about several stories i have seen where farangs were arrested for "working" on condo committees. The post carries no salary of course but does require work, attending committees, signing cheques etc.

I have tried to check the legal position but their seems to be no clear rule that allows farangs to do this. If they do is there a risk of arrest?

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For me personally, I would insist on a wp paid for by the Association, IF they were requiring me to sign financial and legal documents. I know farangs who do perform these tasks without a wp.

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Your post is ambiguous, you talk about 'work' which is not permitted without a work permit.

Then you talk about the juristic person acting for the condo a position which to my understanding 'must' be filled by a Thai.

All committee members are juristic persons and it is my understanding that a non-Thai can be a committee member 'without' a WP (I have been)

A question must be phrased in such a way that the answers can be 'yes, no, don't know'

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Your post is a little confusing. When you say act as a Juristic Person -Do you mean act as the the Manager of the Condominium Juristic Person.

( All Co -owners have Juristic person status. This acts as a shield to protect them legally in certain circumstances)

The Manager Of the Condominium Juristic Person (JPM) is typically a paid professional who reports to the committee -but is charged with managing the common area of the condo.

The JPM has no Juristic protection and the individual has to be voted to the post at a legally organized co -owner general meeting.

As a minimum he must an expert in The Condo. Act.

Typically the post will be given to a Thai national.

Committee members (i.e. The Board) are not paid . The Condo act is policed by the Land office ,not immigration -so issues of work permits never arise.

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In the condo that i am a co-owner in, the Juristic person have been foreigners who are also

on the committee for the last 6 years, also all the committee members don't have a work permit

either, but they are registered at the land office.

So go figure?

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To answer posts 5 and 7. We do have office staff, who are thais, and a management company, which is thai. BUT the condo Juristic Person/Chairman is a farang, so it is obviously possible. He has been registered as such with the local Land Office for several years, and signs all the relevant paperwork pertaining to that post. If it was illegal you would think the Land Office would not agree to a farang in the position, but they do !!

Some of the posts confirm my fears that although it MIGHT be overlooked, anyone wanting to push the matter could probably say i was acting illegally. So i guess the answer, for me, is sorry but no thanks.

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Technically this probably meets the extremely broad definition of work under the Working of Aliens Act which would mean a WP is required. On the other hand I think the chances of being arrested for this are virtually nil, unless you have a dispute with some real arsehol_e who reports you. Even then the court would likely throw out such a case. A conviction would sent a signal that foreigners are allowed to buy condos but not allowed to protect their own investments after the event. The powerful property development lobby would be extremely unimpressed.

I agree with you on the the extreme might require a WP.

But one other thing that is being overlooked is the attitude of the immigration station and is the officer having a good or bad day.

As has been pointed out one lose cannon could spill the apple cart and acting as the Juristic Person for the condo would be a no no. Perhaps as an adviser would be OK.

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I and my fellow COC members have been committee members for just over a year. We have just registered the Juristic Person (JP, who happens to be Tha), manager (Thai) and Co-owners Committee (COC) members (all farangs) with the Lands Department (LD) and there have been no problems as far as work permits are concerned.

I believe that everybody in Thailand involved with a condo realises that it is mainly the farangs who run the COCs and that it is necessary without a work permit. The two JPs before our current JP and manager were farangs without problem or comment from the LD. I also checked with my lawyer and he said that there is no problem and that there have been no problems with farangs not having work permits.

You really need to get hold of the Condo Act, 2008 (attached) and read it through. It is very useful in laying out the duties and responsibilities. It also does not say that the farang COC members have to have work permits.

CondoAct.pdf

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yeah. I am on the board but we have a Thai juristic person, who is paid staff. She does not own a condo and of course is not a voting member of the board. She has authority to sign checks up to a certain amount but requires one of us (3 designated members) to counter sign any amount exceeding the limit. Definition of juristic person and duties etc would be laid out in the condo formation agreement. Read that and it will clarify the duties, compensation, and perhaps who is eligible, etc.

If the position is full-time salaried, then it should require a WP for a foreigner to do it. I believe if the juristic person is not full time position then maybe the foreigner could hold the position and get away without a WP, but I think it would probably be considered "working", especially if there is compensation involved.

There are so many horror stories of Thai owners being incredibly unreasonable and wielding power and play politics for the stupidest reasons that I would be careful and personally would not consider the position. What are the benefits vs the risks?

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I and my fellow COC members have been committee members for just over a year. We have just registered the Juristic Person (JP, who happens to be Tha), manager (Thai) and Co-owners Committee (COC) members (all farangs) with the Lands Department (LD) and there have been no problems as far as work permits are concerned.

I believe that everybody in Thailand involved with a condo realises that it is mainly the farangs who run the COCs and that it is necessary without a work permit. The two JPs before our current JP and manager were farangs without problem or comment from the LD. I also checked with my lawyer and he said that there is no problem and that there have been no problems with farangs not having work permits.

You really need to get hold of the Condo Act, 2008 (attached) and read it through. It is very useful in laying out the duties and responsibilities. It also does not say that the farang COC members have to have work permits.

It also does not say that farangs do not have to have work permits. That's the problem there seems to be NO clear ruling either way. Our management company (which is a big thai firm) have tried to get someone in authority to issue a written confirmation but no one is prepared to say farangs can operate on committees and as JPs without a work permit.

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I can give you a definitive answer.

Strictly speaking you DO need a work permit to be the Juristic Person Manager (paid or unpaid), it fits the legal description of work UNLESS you hire a Condo Manager to do all the work for you, or deputise all the work to a Thai national (as I do).

Holding this position without a work permit is fraught with risk. If you upset someone, especially someone in immigration you can expect the worst.

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Well it would probably depend on whether the relevant authority has had a lean money week or not - we all know the drill in that area.

"we all know the drill in that area."

Or at least we like to conjure it up in our paranoid imagination.

The Condo act is policed by the Land office ,not immigration -so issues of work permits never arise.

If you have a visa or extension of stay that specifies no work, Immigrations still has a say in what you are getting up to regardless of the Condo Act.

Edited by Suradit69
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the juristic person is the building as registered at the land office

the juristic person manager is a paid position with a job description

the executive committee are the people that are voted in at the AGM - they tell the juristic person manager what to do

the executive committee have a chairman that chairs the meetings

the condominium act is registered along with the juristic person (the building) at the land office

any changes to this act need to be done via the AGM and on votes

as the JPM is a paid position with a job description I would think you would need a WP as you are working

the committee may be able to approve this extra expense

you can sit on the executive committee and tell the JPM what to do then if things go bad he gets the bullet and not you

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Of course Thais should be the majority on the committee and if at all possible be the chairman.

But please stop with all this scare mongering..I have taken legal advice I am on a committee, sign the cheques and am chairman.i am there to protect my interests and what I am doing is part of my right as a condo owner.

Sometimes the Thais don't want to do it and are not so transparent, farangs can bring a lot to a Committee but overall it should b run by Thais.

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I have taken legal advice I am on a committee, sign the cheques and am chairman.i am there to protect my interests and what I am doing is part of my right as a condo owner.

I am not trying to be a smartar*e...but one assumes you have this in writing from the legal firm concerned and more importantly you have this in writing from the the DOL (department of labour)

if not all you have been given is an legal opinion and an opinion only as at the end of the day its the DOL who interprets who is working and who is not...therefore if in the opinion of the DOL you are working, you dont have a legal leg to stand on...

If you signing cheques ad taking an active role, you would be no different from someone as a foreigner who owns a business..if they play no active role in the business and are mearly a share holder, no WP required...but the minute they start doing paper work and signing cheques, this would require a WP as they are playing an active role in the business...

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Here is a 2011 article posted in the Bangkok Post by a respected law firm:

http://www.tilleke.com/sites/default/files/2011-sep9-penalties-for-working-without-a-permit.pdf

Note also that a friend of mine called the Labor Dept. to clarify the need for work permits for foreign committee members. Here's the response.

"No work permit is required for foreign committee members as it is deemed as the foreign co-owners managing their own property, not working. However, if the foreign co-owner becomes the juristic person manager, the Labor Department is of the view that the work permit is required."

I didn't confirm the above, so plz. call the Labor Dept. if you are a foreigner thinking of joining a condo committee, and, even better, seek something in writing from them!

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I am in a Condo where the Thai Juristic Person resigned and an English who was on the committee took on the role as the Juristic Person, he has held now for about nine months. He controls all of the staff and signs s checks. Many of us have told him that it is illegal to do this without a work permit. He does not seem to care. He is on a retirement visa.

I wanted to check the legal status of this. We have a good friend who is fairly senior in Immigration. I asked him the question.

"Can a foreigner act as Juristic Person and draw a salary (which he is doing) within the law"

Answer: "No, it is illegal unless he has work permit". He can of course sit on the committee.

He also said that any angry Thai reported him to immigration, they then be obliged to investigate and take the necessary actions.

This guy is a sitting duck.

In answer to your question, - I would not take a Juristic Person without a work permit. It is just too risky.

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Yes, you need a work permit, as a foreigner, regardless of skin color

Stop referring to yourself as "farang", it´s just stupid.

Ahhh, one of those "farang" is a racist term people. A concept that is also " stupid"

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Without any doubt, the Thai's and their sneaky Tourist Police will screw a farang at the slightest opportunity. That's based on my experience and observation of patterns over the past 8 years.

The laws are somewhat ambiguous, leaving plenty of room for "interpretation" by the police. When either a Thai or farang become upset about something you do, you said, you want to do - a mere "complaint" to the police and the Tourist Police will be happy to pounce. Win, lose, or draw, the farang will pay a hefty penalty in emotional cost. The police will threaten, abuse, and intimidate...... The Tourist Police arm of Thai government is NOT a friend...... Bet your life on it.... Count on it. Caveat Emptor

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I and my fellow COC members have been committee members for just over a year. We have just registered the Juristic Person (JP, who happens to be Tha), manager (Thai) and Co-owners Committee (COC) members (all farangs) with the Lands Department (LD) and there have been no problems as far as work permits are concerned.

I believe that everybody in Thailand involved with a condo realises that it is mainly the farangs who run the COCs and that it is necessary without a work permit. The two JPs before our current JP and manager were farangs without problem or comment from the LD. I also checked with my lawyer and he said that there is no problem and that there have been no problems with farangs not having work permits.

You really need to get hold of the Condo Act, 2008 (attached) and read it through. It is very useful in laying out the duties and responsibilities. It also does not say that the farang COC members have to have work permits.

Just a warning not to rely totally on translations of the act. I've looked at several versions and everyone is different in small ways, E.g. the copy of the Condo Act you attached appears to be missing a bit in the second last paragraph of Section 18/1 "and may be suspended from receiving common services or using common property as set forth under the By-laws including the non-existence of the right to vote in the General Meeting." NB - besides the missing bit about the right to vote, it does not state 'may risk having the supply of utilities stopped'. Stopping electricity is not legal and stopping water supply is a grey area (according to our Condo Manager).

As i can't read Thai i've relied on a Thai without legal background to translate somethings for me; which may also be incorrect! smile.png

Edited by taichiplanet
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To answer posts 5 and 7. We do have office staff, who are thais, and a management company, which is thai. BUT the condo Juristic Person/Chairman is a farang, so it is obviously possible. He has been registered as such with the local Land Office for several years, and signs all the relevant paperwork pertaining to that post. If it was illegal you would think the Land Office would not agree to a farang in the position, but they do !!

Some of the posts confirm my fears that although it MIGHT be overlooked, anyone wanting to push the matter could probably say i was acting illegally. So i guess the answer, for me, is sorry but no thanks.

Are you 100% sure that the JPM (who is a Farang) is registered at the land office?

In certain circumstances a committee member can be a JPM -as an emergency measure.This temporary JPM does not have to be registered at the land office.

However sometimes this 'emergency measure' becomes the norm. The JPM registered name at the land office will reveal all.

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To answer posts 5 and 7. We do have office staff, who are thais, and a management company, which is thai. BUT the condo Juristic Person/Chairman is a farang, so it is obviously possible. He has been registered as such with the local Land Office for several years, and signs all the relevant paperwork pertaining to that post. If it was illegal you would think the Land Office would not agree to a farang in the position, but they do !!

Some of the posts confirm my fears that although it MIGHT be overlooked, anyone wanting to push the matter could probably say i was acting illegally. So i guess the answer, for me, is sorry but no thanks.

Are you 100% sure that the JPM (who is a Farang) is registered at the land office?

In certain circumstances a committee member can be a JPM -as an emergency measure.This temporary JPM does not have to be registered at the land office.

However sometimes this 'emergency measure' becomes the norm. The JPM registered name at the land office will reveal all.

The JPM of our condo is a foreigner, and recently registered at the Land Office. i don't see anything in the Regs saying that the JPM cannot be a foreigner (Section 35/1). The work permit issue for a JPM i am not sure on. Being JPM is a responsible job; if anything goes wrong the JPM is responsible!

Edited by taichiplanet
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