Real Estate Broker Association Pattaya, Thailand

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Owning Property in Thailand
Introduction to owning property in Thailand

Since Thailand is currently (August 2007) in the process of political changes, which also include the complete reconstruction of the constitution, there may be some new and / or additional aspects affecting foreigners wishing to own property in Thailand.

The information below should give the reader a general idea of how to date (August 2007) in Thailand carried out foreign ownership of real estate.

In order to comprehensively and timely consider the issue of property ownership by foreigners in Thailand, we suggest consulting with a Thai lawyer and / or an experienced and reputable real estate consultant.

Which Thai laws govern foreign ownership and purchase of land in Thailand?
Ownership of land in Thailand is governed by the Land Code of BE 2497 (1954), the Civil and Commercial Code, the Land Reform for Agriculture Act BE 2518 (1975), and the regulations set forth by the Ministry of the Interior.
Aren't foreigners prohibited from owning land in Thailand?

In accordance with the strict application of the current law, foreigners, including both individuals and legal entities (for example, companies or partnerships), are officially prohibited from owning land in Thailand. However, there are exceptions to the prohibition contained in the law itself. There are other ways to organize the purchase of land in Thailand.

According to section 97 of the Thai Land Law, the definition of a foreigner includes a company or partnership registered in Thailand in which more than 49% of the capital is owned by foreigners or in which more than half of the shareholders or partners are foreigners.

Can foreigners own buildings even if they don't own the land?
Although Thai law prohibits foreigners from owning land in Thailand, foreigners have the right to own a structure such as buildings, detached houses, etc. If foreigners wish to purchase land in Thailand in order to build a structure, they have two options; first, forming a joint venture with majority Thai ownership, and second, procuring a long term lease with a right of renewal.
How can a joint venture be created to acquire land or property in Thailand?

One method foreigners can employ to acquire land or property is by forming joint venture companies with majority Thai ownership but with adequate safeguards to protect the foreigners' minority interest.

If a foreigner plans to run a business in Thailand then he may purchase the land freehold through his Thai majority limited company. The land will be owned by the Thai Company, not by the individual.

How does a limited liability company allow foreigners to own property?
Purchasing property with a limited liability company is the most popular method for foreign investors as the Articles of Association can be varied to allow greater protection for foreign minority shareholders. The regulations vary throughout Thailand, but the Land Office generally requires that Thai nationals own a majority interest in a company if they wish to purchase land legally.
What about long term leases with rights to renewal?
Due to the existing barriers to the purchase of land by foreigners, the most effective way to purchase the land on which the building is located (building, single-family house, etc.) is the purchase of land for rent for 30 years with the possibility of extending the lease for another 30-year periods.

The lease term is limited to 30 years, with the exception of industrial land, which may be included for 50 years. Similarly, the extension of the lease term is limited to 30 and 50 years respectively. Ownership of land leased for a building already owned is protected by the fact that the building is on the ground; ownership of the building is separate from the land and cannot be withdrawn by the lessee upon expiry of the lease. Leases of more than three years are only enforceable for a period of three years if they are not registered with the land department. Thus, the lease agreement for 30 years must be registered with the land department. In addition, the lease is still valid even if the property on the land is sold.
What are the different types of rights to private land?
The land can be controlled through ownership or through acts of ownership and other documentation. Individuals who actually own and use land may have the right to own it on the basis of the Civil and Commercial Codes. The main form of confirmation of ownership of land is an act (chanoud or Nor Sor 4). These acts of ownership must be registered with the Land Department of the province in which the land is located. It should also be noted that the plot may be jointly owned by several people. A person whose name is indicated in the declaration or act of ownership of land has all rights to this land, can submit an act as proof of ownership to government officials, can prove that the land has clearly defined boundaries and can perform legal actions on this land in accordance with the law.
Can the spouse of a foreigner still own land in Thailand?
Until recently, Thai citizens who married foreigners did not have the right to own land in Thailand. The agreement was that as soon as a foreigner and a citizen of Thailand marry, the land becomes public property; officials felt that this was perhaps too convenient a way for foreigners to circumvent the existing land laws. However, the policy has now changed; the Thai spouse now has the right to own land in Thailand. A foreign spouse may be required to sign a letter stating that the property is a separate property of the spouse, and therefore renounces all claims to the land.
Condo Purchase

Real estate in Thailand is attractive for many reasons. Owning a country house is a dream of many. Others hope to either spend their retirement in a rented apartment, or purchase real estate as a short-term or long-term investment. Despite the fact that there are many restrictions on renting and owning real estate, houses or apartments in Thailand, there is the same variety of legal options.

Let one of our experienced agents of the Real Estate Brokers Association (see REBA es Member Directory) help you understand the intricacies of this process so that you can focus your attention on finding the right property, and not on bureaucratic red tape. In addition, our experienced Real Estate Brokers Association agents can help you show you some of the best properties available for purchase here on the east coast of Thailand.

How is a Condominium defined by Thai law?
According to the Condominium Act B.E. 2522 (A.D. 1979), a condominium is defined as a building that can have its separate portions sold to individuals or groups for personal property ownership.
What classes of foreigners may purchase condominiums in Thailand?
Foreign investors as well as other foreigners may own condominiums in the Kingdom of Thailand under the following circumstances.
What types of Condominiums are available for foreigners to purchase?
Most condominium buildings allow foreigners to purchase a certain percentage of the buildings condo apartments outright (Complete ?Free Hold? ownership). As the condominium buildings are located in different areas around the country, they may have varying limits on the amount of units available for sale to foreigners.
What are the requirements for a foreign individual or organization to purchase a condominium in Thailand?
In order to purchase a condominium certain requirements must be met, for example: 1: A foreigner has permanent residence in Thailand in accordance with Thai Immigration Law, or 2: A foreigner is allowed into or resides in Thailand in accordance with Thai Investment Promotion Law, or 3: A foreigner or foreign legal entity who brings foreign currency into Thailand, or brings in Baht currency from the account of a person residing abroad, or uses foreign currency from their deposit account. This requirement is normally met by the presentation of a Tor Tor 3 (or equivalent bank document) form which is provided by the bank receiving an incoming remittance from abroad.
Are there any restrictions to this ownership?
In many areas of Thailand a foreigner or foreign legal entity can acquire up to, but not exceeding, 49% of the total floor area of the combined condominium units. However, more that 49% of ownership may be allowable in certain condominium buildings in Greater Bangkok and various other municipalities and districts according to Ministerial Regulations.
What is the most typical way for a foreigner to purchase a condominium in Thailand?
Most Foreigners purchase a condominium by showing evidence of an incoming remittance of foreign currency into their Thai bank account from abroad as demonstrated by a valid Tor Tor 3 form (or equivalent bank document) from a Thai Bank.
Can ownership of a condominium be inherited by a foreigner?
Property ownership of a condominium can be inherited if the heir to ownership meets one of the original criteria for foreign ownership. Otherwise the condominium must be sold within one year of inheritance.
Is a lawyer necessary to purchase a condominium in Thailand?
A lawyer is recommended to review the documents concerning the condominium and to supervise the transfer in conjunction with an experienced and reputable real estate consultant.
Are condominium long-term leases available?

Yes. Condominiums may be leased to foreigners for periods of up to 30 years and may have options to renew. Leases of greater length than 3 years are required to be registered with the Thai Government Land Department in the district where the property is located.

Owning Property in Thailand

Renting A Home in Thailand

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