5 Reasons Why Buying Property in Koh Samui, Thailand Might Be Easier Than You Thought

We’ve all fantasised about it before; living on a tropical Island. Perhaps it was when you were sat on the bus on your way to work, squashed between a tired nurse and an arrogant teenager; picturing your very own slice of paradise in your minds’ eye. Then as the bus comes to a sudden stop, you’re snapped back into reality and sink further into your bad mood because you convince yourself that it is something that will simply never happen.And why shouldn’t it happen for you? Why should you not be allowed to live on a luscious tropical island? As it turns out, there are ways in which you can make this happen, if that’s your wish. The question is though, where?Well, how does the heart of South-East Asia sound? More specifically, Koh Samui, in Thailand. Of course, you’ll have to work incredibly hard for it, save as much money as you can and focus on a career that can be continued in Asia (or a retirement plan); though that’s not to say its impossible.In this article I am going to list a few reasons why moving to and buying property on Koh Samui is well within the realms of possibility. If moving to an Island is what you’ve always dreamed of, then why not? After-all, we are the architects of our own reality, right?1 – Because You CanIt really is as simple as that: because you can. Yes, there are complications and a number of laws in place that make it quite difficult, though it’s not impossible. The problem is that there are always horror stories and rumours that float around, shattering everyone’s dreams. Yes, you can buy property in Thailand – no, it’s not impossible.


The only thing is that you have to do your research and know your rights. That being said; there are plenty of experienced legal aids in Thailand who will be able to guide you through every step of the process, including a wealth of Real Estate Agencies who will put your needs and desires first so as to ensure the smoothest transaction.It is worth putting in the extra effort, believe me. Read on and we will explore some of the things that make Koh Samui so special!Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the World, and expatriates from all over the World have long been flocking to its shores to start a new life. In the same breath; Koh Samui is one of the larger islands and has grown in popularity over recent years, thus contributing towards it booming economy and real estate industry – do you want to be a part of that? Because you can.2 – Because Koh Samui is MagnificentKoh Samui isn’t one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations by accident. It has gained such a reputation because of its unparalleled beauty. Koh Samui is truly one of the most beautiful locations in the entire World, rich with a cultural tapestry that will rend you awe-struck and inspired.The local Thai community are wonderful and accommodating too, welcoming all who flock to their shores with bright smiles and open arms.From the hustle of Chaweng Beach, to the tranquility of the Lamai side of the Island; Koh Samui has something to offer everyone. The island boasts a wealth of magnificent landmarks and activities, including the Ang Thong National Marine Park, Bophut’s Fisherman Village, the Secret Buddha Garden and the World-Famous Scuba Diving that Samui’s neighboring island, Koh Tao has to offer.3 – Because the Weather Doesn’t SuckWho doesn’t want to walk around in a vest and flip-flops all of the time? Some people (crazy people) like the cold, I for one could not think of anything worse. In Koh Samui you can enjoy the benefits of living in one of the most wonderful climates in the World.Sure, you’ll have to weather the occasional tropical storm during the rainy seasons, though even they come with their own unique set of charms. Yes, the power of mother nature can be rather intimidating, but there is something inexplicably remarkable about sitting on your balcony and watching as the storms rage and the skies light up in a grand display of electric artistry.4 – Because the Food in Thailand is far SuperiorOK, so this point may be a little biased and of course there are many who will disagree. But for the most part, anyone with great taste will know and understand that the Thai’s truly know how to eat! If you want to get away from the Fish and Chips and the Microwave Ready meals, then look no further than Thailand. They are known the World over as having some of the most magnificent food in the World.


But don’t worry, for those of you who aren’t too adventurous with their food, you will still have access to all of the western cuisine that your hearts desire. With plenty of local supermarkets selling everything you could possibly want for a slice of home.5 – Because the Properties are Worth Every PennyIt’s no secret that money goes much further in Thailand. For what you would spend on a 2-bedroom terraced house in elsewhere, you could instead buy a villa with your very own private swimming pool! The Real Estate industry in Thailand is booming and there is a wealth of quality and experienced Real Estate Agents in the market who will be able to help you find your dream home without straying over your budget.In fact, even if you were to simply rent a property in Thailand, (which is entirely viable) to compare – rent prices in the United Kingdom are 96.83% higher. In a nutshell, your money will go much further and you’ll be able to live a much better quality of life. Stop dreaming and make it your reality.

Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing

For years, you’ve worked persistently for long hours yet your pay is just not enough to take care of your expenses. Health care, utilities and rising food prices are barely covered by your wage. Pretty soon, your take-home pay won’t be able to keep up with your family’s growing expenses.

This distressing scenario plagues millions of American families today. Their salaries just can’t be stretched enough to adequately provide for housing expenses. If you are a legal United States resident and don’t earn enough money to cover rent or mortgage payments, you may want to consider applying for the federal government’s Housing Voucher Program, which is also referred to as section 8.

What is Section 8?

The Housing Act of 1937 provided for financial aid to be paid by the federal government to local housing agencies or LHAs to make the living conditions of low-wage earning families better. Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937, usually just referred to as Section 8, mandates the payment of federal housing assistance to landlords for the benefit of about 3.1 million families with low income. It makes housing assistance possible through various programs, with the Housing Choice Voucher program being the largest, which subsidizes most of the rent and utilities payments of about 2.1 million families.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) manages and funds the Section 8 programs. There are about 2,400 public housing agencies (PHAs) that administer the program locally.

A Brief History of Section 8

Section 8 housing had its beginning during the Great Depression. The passing of the U.S. Housing Act by Congress constituted the start of federal housing assistance in the country. It furnished the money to build quality yet affordable low income housing apartments for financially-challenged wage earners. These units are administered and maintained by local authorities.

The U.S. Housing Act was revised in 1961 to give way to the Section 23 Leased Housing Program which allowed low-income earners to take up residence in private low income housing apartments leased by local authorities. Tenants agree to pay a certain percentage of the rent, while the difference between the tenant’s payment and what the landlord would have normally received in the open market. Building maintenance were also performed by the local housing authorities.

In 1974, the Act underwent another revision which provided for the creation of Section 8. Rather than build and manage public housing, it aimed to assist low-earning tenants who were allotting the greater part of their earnings on rent payment. Federal funds were now used to pay a portion of the rent in housing units chosen by the renters on the open market. Since then, several more legislations were passed to amend and refine the Section 8 program.

The Critical Need for Housing Assistance

The 2005 HUD report to Congress stated that the almost 6 million renter families in the country who don’t benefit from public housing assistance suffer from worst housing needs. A huge bulk of these families have undergone “severe rent burden” which HUD describes as paying in excess of 50% of the wage-earners income for rent. Other households made their homes in second-rate buildings.

Groups being given priority by Section 8 are composed of low-income households with children, senior citizens and handicapped individuals. Likewise, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have a Section 8 program called the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) which distributes a number of housing vouchers to qualified homeless U.S. armed forces veterans.

The Housing Voucher Program

The main Section 8 program is currently engaged in the housing voucher program. Housing choice vouchers are locally distributed and managed by public housing agencies or PHAs. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provide federal funds to these PHAs to manage the voucher program.

A voucher can be project-based which means its use is confined to a particular apartment complex. PHAs may appropriate up to 20% of their vouchers for this. A voucher can also be tenant-based where the tenant can freely choose any housing that passes the criteria of the program and is not restricted to units within subsidized housing projects.

The tenant may choose to rent a housing unit in the private sector, is not confined to any particular apartment complexes, and can choose to live anywhere in the U.S as long as the total rent meets the standards established by HUD. This can include living in Puerto Rico which has a Section 8 program managed by a public housing agency.

Under the housing voucher program, households or individuals who are eligible for Section 8 funding are given a voucher which allows them to find and rent a unit where they will be responsible for paying 30% of the rent. The housing voucher will pay for the remaining 70% of rent and utilities.

Most families pay for section 8 housing using 30% of their adjusted income, which is a family’s total earning less the deductions for dependents below 18 years old, senior citizens, handicapped individuals, full-time students, as well as medical expenses and disability assistance.

The voucher program is currently subsidizing the rent payment for nearly 2.1 million households in the United States. What’s more, these vouchers can be used at times by low income households to pay the mortgage or purchase a house.

Prioritization of Housing Voucher

In many instances, your local public housing agency will receive more applications than it can afford to approve vouchers for, and will as a result create a waiting list of applicants. PHAs can move certain applications forward or put them way back of the waiting list, and may choose to grant priority to households who are presently without a home or are residing in second-rate housing, wage-earners who spend more than half their income in rent, or individuals who are displaced against their will. Know more about prioritizing by inquiring at your local public housing agency office.

Since section 8 isn’t actually an entitlement benefit, people who become eligible for a housing voucher cannot be 100% sure that they’ll get one. According to the latest figures, only 1 out of about 4 households who qualify for housing assistance receive it. Waiting lists can take long to be processed. In several places, eligible applicants fiercely compete with other applicants for vouchers. Due to the huge volume of demand, some LHAs have entirely ceased taking in applications.

For instance, in New York where rents are exorbitant and oftentimes beyond reach of low-income earners, many households set their sights on section 8 vouchers. Today, as the country teeters toward the reality of the sequestration cuts to the federal budget, it seems that New York City may miss out on up to 6,000 section 8 vouchers that were intended to be made available this year.

In Chicago, more than 2,300 households are on the waiting list. Recipients are picked out of the list by a lottery held every month. Only when the list is exhausted will the application process resume.

Requirements to Qualify for Rent Assistance

Putting these realities on one side, if you belong to a low-income bracket and you require rent subsidy or other support provided by the voucher program, you first need to make sure that you have what is financially required to qualify for Section 8 housing. Whether you qualify or not is dependent on certain factors which include your total household income, how much rent you are paying, the members of your household, the average income in your locality, and your assets.

Income requirements differ from place to place, but as a rule you will need to have a total household earning of not more than 50% of the average income in your locality. The program is open to all U.S. citizens and people with legal immigration status.

Another criterion is the number of your household members. Your Section 8 income limit gets lower as the members of your household gets fewer.

Other factors are also put under consideration by HUD and its local agencies when checking an applicant’s qualifications. Generally taken into consideration are homelessness and other factors that are linked to a particular location like involvement in a local welfare-to-work program. Other criteria that may help you get considered for assistance are:

  • presently living in a homeless shelter
  • working over 42 hours each week
  • being a veteran of the U.S. Armed Services (widow or widower)
  • suffering from disability
  • being a senior citizen 62 years old and over
  • having children

LHAs should also give priority to very low-income households whose total earnings don’t even amount to 30% of the average income in the area. 75% of the new applicants that get qualified for housing assistance each year must be near or at the lowest-income level.

If you think you have every reason to qualify for a housing voucher, you must go and get in touch with the public housing agency in your locality. You can get all the information you need on the HUD website including local office address, toll-free phone numbers, and email addresses.

Don’t get yourself fooled by professional con artists. There are fly-by-night agencies that will promise to help you to get all the Section 8 paperwork done for a certain fee. You can get all the help you need to apply for a housing voucher at no cost just by visiting your local public housing authority or your federal HUD office. Bear in mind that no person should ever ask you for money for a low income housing assistance application. Anyone who charges you for a voucher or an application can be arrested for fraud.

Obligations

Since a public housing authority approves the housing unit of a qualified household, the landlord and the family head sign a lease agreement. At the same time, the PHA and the landlord sign a contract for housing assistance payments that will run concurrently with the lease. This demonstrates that the PHA, the landlord and the tenant all have roles and obligations they must fulfill under the program.

1. Tenant

Expect some delays before you receive the final decision on your application. Many applicants can be on the section 8 housing waiting lists for months, or possibly even years.

If your application gets approved by the local PHA and you have received a housing voucher, you have to be absolutely sure that your present or future living situation meets HUD safety and health requirements. If you are renting, you’ll be asked to sign a one-year lease with a willing landlord who will be obliged to provide you with safe quality housing and fair rent.

The landlord may require the tenant to pay a security deposit. After the first year, the landlord can draw up a lease renewal contract or allow the household to reside in the unit on a monthly lease.

Know how much rent you’ll be paying. Section 8 housing requires you and your household to pay 30 percent of your monthly adjusted gross income on rent and utilities. The voucher you received will cover the rest of the cost. Visit your local PHA if you need help in determining how much you need to allocate each month.

When the household has moved into the new home, each member is expected to abide by the lease and program rules, keep the housing unit in good condition, pay the percentage of rent promptly, and inform the PHA of any changes in family composition or income status.

If you need to, you can move to another area without losing your eligibility to Section 8 housing. Just be sure to inform your local PHA ahead of time, terminate your lease according to its provisions, and look for another housing that will comply with HUD safety and health criteria.

2. Landlord

The landlord’s responsibility in the voucher program is to provide tenants with a suitable, sanitary and clean low income housing unit with a fair rent. The living space must meet the HUD’s housing quality criteria and must be kept up to those criteria for as long as the landlord receives housing assistance payments. What’s more, the property owner will extend the services that were agreed upon as was mentioned in the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the public housing authorities.

The landlord cannot charge the tenant any extra money except that of the reasonable rent and cannot accept any amount of payment that is outside the contract.

Although required to follow fair housing laws, landlords are of no obligations to take part in the housing voucher program. Therefore, some landlords can refuse to accept Section 8 tenants. This may be due to several reasons such as:

  • Not desiring the government to get involved in the landlord’s business, as in conducting a full inspection by government workers of the premises for HUD’s housing quality standards and the probable redress that may follow.
  • Concern that the tenant or members of the household will fail to keep proper maintenance of the unit.
  • Finding that the program’s rent price is below the landlord’s expectation.
  • Not willing to take matters to court to evict a tenant. According to HUD requirements, judicial action is required to evict section 8 tenants, even if there were other legal procedures allowed.
  • Depending on state laws, it may be against the law to refuse to accept a tenant just because they have Section 8. Landlords have only past eviction, credit, criminal history and other general means of disqualifying a potential tenant.

Other landlords, however, seem to have no beef against accepting Section 8 tenants. This could be because of:

  • The long waiting list can provide a vast reserve of potential tenants.
  • Generally on-time payments sent by the PHA for its share of the rent.
  • Tenants are motivated to take care of the low income housing unit to avoid paying for damaged property. Owing a previous landlord money can be ground for a tenant to be disqualified from the program.

3. Public Housing Authority

The public housing program manages the voucher program locally. It provides a qualified household with housing subsidy that allows the family to look for a decent housing unit. The PHA signs a contract with the landlord promising to provide regular housing assistance payments for and on behalf of the tenants.

Should the landlord fail to comply with their lease contract obligations, the PHA can immediately discontinue sending assistance payments. The PHA will re-assess the household’s income and composition for any changes at least once a year and must conduct an annual ocular inspection of each unit to make sure that it complies with HUD quality standards.

Research appears to suggest that the section 8 program has yielded a lot of happy and productive results. It helps millions of households live above poverty level, have more money to spend on food and health care instead of rent, and improve their quality of life. It has helped families to move into safer neighborhoods and has reduced the number of homeless people. As a result, it has also lowered the incidences of anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional problems.