January 16, 2012 Bangkok Post by Kanana Katharangsiporn
High rents and unfair competition from traders who pay virtually no rent at all are making life difficult for many licensed tenants at Chatuchak Market.
High rents charged by unscrupulous landlords and unfair competition posed by traders who pay virtually no rent at all are making life difficult for many licensed tenants at Chatuchak Market.
A 28-year-old designer and owner of his own fashion brand, who gave his name only as Kie, is considering closing his shop at Chatuchak Market’s Project 16 because the market seems unwilling to tackle these dual problems.
Kie sells clothes which he makes himself – which many traders might consider a dream job.
However, while Kie might have enjoyed some good days in the past, his profits are now taking such a battering that he thinks he might be better off elsewhere.
The growth of a small group of business people who lease stalls in large lots from the BMA – then sub-lease to tenants at vastly marked-up rents – have put a squeeze on profits.
Worse still is the spread of traders who sell their goods, flea market-style, on the market’s inner roads.
They occupy space in the western part of the market, which is close to Kamphaengphet Road.
They are not licensed to be there, and sell their goods at much cheaper prices than tenants who are forced to pay rent. However, Kie said the market authorities have done little to shoo them away.
Kie sub-leases two small booths from a landlord who rents direct from the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority.
Kie pays 16,500 baht a month for each booth, up from 12,000 baht a booth eight years ago.
He knows the rent he pays is much higher than the rate which his landlord pays direct to the BMA.
Some primary lessors pay only 250 baht a month for a booth.
“A group of people here rent many booths and sub-let to others. This is common, and can be found at every big shopping centre, including Siam Square and Union Mall [in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao area],” he said.
He has no contract with his landlord, just a verbal promise, and despite the market changing hands from the BMA to the SRT, still pays rent to his landlord as usual.
Kie’s landlord is a former shop owner at Chatuchak Market, who knows the best locations in the market.
Rents which primary lessors charge range from 8,000 baht to 40,000 baht per booth per month, depending on location. For Kie, however, high rents are not a problem if sales are good.
“Rents are quite high but we can cope if we do not have competition from traders who set up on the market’s inner road,” he said.
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