Our story unfolds with Vorravit Kaveewat, the mystified landlord, who posted a revealing video on TikTok, showcasing the drastic changes to his house since it had been leased out, not to mention his electricity bill, which had skyrocketed to an eye-popping 30,000 baht (US$853) on a monthly basis.
The tale dates back to last January when Vorravit rented out his parent’s multi-storey townhouse to a trio of Chinese occupants in their thirties, represented by a Thai woman acting as the intermediary. The agreed rent was 15,000 baht (US$426) for a half-year lease duration. It was only in the second month that Vorravit started noticing a steady jack-up in his energy consumption bills, with an astonishing leap from 5,000 baht to 15,000 baht, and eventually hitting the big 30,000 baht in the last three-month stretch. Notably, the tenants cleared their escalating energy bills in a timely fashion without any outstanding amounts.
When an alarmed Vorravit suggested a check-up given the sudden eruption in electricity costs, the tenants assured him that there was nothing to worry about. Later, they notified him of their decision to vacate the premises by early July.
Upon their exit, Vorravit finally got the opportunity to investigate his property and was astonished to find not just an unattended and unclean property but intriguing changes to the electrical system and interior modifications done without his knowledge and consent.
Beyond the regular maintenance needed post their tenure, the property was found to have the electrical system tampered with, and two new air conditioners were added to the existing three. The rooms were filled with soil for what seemed like agricultural purposes, sunlight was barred entry by covered windows, and the house locks were changed.
The Chinese tenants had mentioned about leaving air conditioners on round-the-clock, but Vorravit had brushed that off as a cultural practice. Having previously leased his properties to other Chinese renters with similar air conditioning usage, this didn’t ring any warning bells. But, the oversized electricity bill left him reeling.
Post his experience share, online users suggested that the Chinese tenants might have been housing a cannabis grow operation. Vorravit dived into this speculation but found no supporting evidence during his inspection. Nonetheless, he insists that his narrative serves as a cautionary tale for fellow landlords concerning potential tenant-linked issues, especially when dealing with foreign renters. Reflecting on the incident, he is now planning to get an electrician to examine the property’s electrical system, reposition the air conditioners, and clean up the tenants’ residual mess.