Owning Property In Thailand

Owning land or property in Thailand is relatively simple. Foreigners are not allowed to own land directly in Thailand, but you can set up a Thai company to own it for you. There are many American, French  and  British-oriented law firms that can inexpensively set up your land or property (Villa or apartment) holding company for you. The advantage of owning a Thai company is that when you decide to sell the property or land there is no capital gain; you simply change the ownership of your company shares.

Long-Term Leaseholds for Thai Property

Another simple method used by many Thailand property investors is to obtain long-term leaseholds. The longest a single lease can be registered in Thailand is 30 years; however, you can pre-register 3 consecutive 30 year leases in one go, giving you a de facto 90 year lease. Normally there is a provision written into the leasehold agreement that allows you to register another 30 year lease once the previous lease has expired. In effect, this provides a lease in perpetuity.

Becoming Your Own Landlord

In some developments the freehold is passed to the individual lessees once the entire development is sold out. Each lessee then owns an equal share in the freeholds so that they effectively become their own landlords.

The Freehold Condominium Law

A few years ago Thailand introduced the “Freehold Condominium” law which has the effect of producing a two-tier ownership structure within a single development.  Under this law, 49% of the condominium development can be sold outright to foreigners with Thai owners holding at least the remaining 51%.

Where to Go For Help

We hope this enhances your understanding of Thai property ownership rules. While seemingly complex, we can assure you that thousands of foreigners have made safe and successful purchases of Phuket and Thai properties. As the business landscape in Thailand is subject to changes, it is best to seek the advice of reputable professionals who can guide you.

Land Measurements In Thailand

Land in Thailand is measured in units of Talang Wah, Ngan and Rai.
1 Talang Mett =1 Square Metre or 10.7 Square Feet
1 Talang Wah = 4 Square Metres = 42.7 Square Feet
100 Talang Wah = 400 Square Metres = 4,277 Square Feet =1 Ngan
400 Talang Wah =1,600 Sqare Metres =17,108 Square Feet = 4 Ngan =1 Rai
1,000 Talang Wah = 4,000 Square Metres = 42,772 Square Feet =10 Ngan = 2.529 Rai =1 Acre
10,000 Talang Mett =100 Acre = 6 Rai and 1 Ngarn =1 Hectare

Types of Land Title Deeds In Thailand

It is highly recommended that a proper land search at the land office is carried out before you make an offer. There are 5 different types of land titles in Thailand, but only 2 types of titles are recommended for foreign investors: Nor Sor 3 and Chanote.

Sor Kor 1 This document means that land occupants are occupying or making use of certain land plots, whose ownership has not been claimed by any entity. The document does not indicate legal possession of the informer so one cannot transfer the ownership of the property to anyone else. The Sor Kor 1 is rare now as the government's land ownership legislation has covered most areas of the country.

Nor Sor documents are issued to show the possessors' exploitation of the land. Though these documents do not provide ownership rights, as do Title deeds, they can still be registered for transfer of the lands for which they are issued. Here are the different types of Nor Sor documents:

Nor Sor 2 states the government's permission for a person or legal entity to make use of the land temporarily. The possessor needs to utilize at least three-quarters of the land plot within three years after the document is issued. This right is non transferable. At the end of te period, land occupants can seek the right to demand a higher privileged title deed.

Nor Sor 3 is a governmental letter certifying the utilization of a certain land plot by certain people and that the plot of land has been surveyed and its official map created.

Nor Sor 3 A is similar to the Nor Sor 3 certification. The only difference is that the map survey of the land plot is based on an aerial-viewed photograph of the land.

Ownership Title Deed or Chanote (Nor Sor 4) is the ultimate certification of land ownership. Holders of the title deed have full rights to transfer or sell the properties and to bar other parties from violating their rights over the land protected by the ownership title deed law. These title deeds must be registered at the Land Department in the province in which the land is located. It should also be noted that a parcel of land may be commonly held by several individuals. A person whose name appears on a Chanote, or Land Title Deed, has all the legal rights to that land, and can produce the deed as evidence of ownership to Government officials