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Property & Real Estate FAQ

Land Ownership
“Are foreigners allowed to own land in Thailand?”
With reference to Thai laws, foreign citizens are prevented from purchasing land with freehold. Although, with the aid of a legal practitioner they can secure control and own land. In addition, a foreign citizen cannot acquire more than a 49% stake in a Thai limited company that owns a land with freehold with the company’s name. Foreigners are allowed to own buildings which are separated from its land. For example, a condominium unit.
How can foreigners own land in Thailand?
To acquire and secure a land freely without any hassles, the best approach would be to use a leasehold agreement or set up a limited liability company in Thailand.

Land Titles
What are the main types of land title deeds?
There are three different categories of Land title deeds:
1.) Chanote (Nor Sor 4 Jor),
2.) Nor Sor 3 Gor
3.) Nor Sor 3

Chanote is the most common and also the most preferred type of land title deed. The person in possession of this document exercise full control over the landed property. Most times, condominiums are built on Chanote titles. They also provide the most land measurements on their deeds. This is the most suitable land title deed to acquire if you intend to own a land in Thailand.

Nor Sor 3 Gor is usually issued pending the issuance of a full land title deed. The dimensions of the land are measured by the Land Department and they are responsible for determining the accurate boundaries. This is done in order to inform the owner of the land the exact area he owns. Land with such title deeds may be sold or used for a variety of purposes. Owners of these deeds may apply to the land department for a full title deed, and this application may be granted if there is no one contesting the petition.

The Nor Sor 3 is a land document that certifies the use of any land by the owner of the land. It is issued and maintained by the District Land Office. The downside is that this does not serve as a possessory title. In simple terms, this goes to say that the person in possession of the Nor Sor 3 has the legal right to claim ownership of the land and can present it as a legal document. It also requires publicizing change of land ownership 30 days prior to registration.
It should be noted that the Nor Sor 3 could be switched in future to a Nor Sor 3 Gor or Chanote. There are other land deed titles which are not recommended as they do not afford the owner of such deeds many legal rights on the current Thai laws.

How is land measured in Thailand?
The measurements used to measure land in Thailand are quite different from what is obtained in Europe, United Kingdom or in the United States. Land size is often indicated in the local Thailand measurement units. These are;
1. Wah (2m)
2. Talang Wah (4 sqm)
3. Rai (1600 sqm)

What are the advantages of a freehold property?
The main advantage of a freehold property is that the owner under the jurisdiction of the Thai law has the right to sell or lease the property as he so wishes.

What are the advantages of setting up a Thai company to buy land?
The major advantage of using a company to purchase a land in Thailand is that the lease remains valid as long as the company is in existence. It is also suitable for owners who intend to purchase the land as part of an investment. This gives one the opportunity to further subdivide the land for resale or put it for mortgage.

What are the disadvantages of setting up a Thai company to buy land?
Except for U.S citizens, foreigners cannot own more than a 49% stake in a company. What this means is that you would require Thai shareholders who are willing to sign over control of their shares to you. Even if you are able to secure a willing shareholder, it would still require putting extra legal procedures in place to prevent unforeseen circumstances. See legal for more information.

Land Leases
Do you have to register the land lease at the Land Department?
For leases less than 3 years, it doesn’t need to be registered. Once the leases are 3 years or more it must be registered with the Land Department.

What is the maximum lease term available?
The maximum lease term is usually for period 30 years with an option for an extension of further 60 years split in to two separate 30year tenure. Land acquired for industrial purposes may be leased for a period of 50 years by a foreign owned company with a possible extension of a further 50 years subject to meeting certain requirements.

What are the advantages of leasing a property?
This is the fastest and least expensive way to buy a property in Thailand. It has the minimum potential for confusion and also the least amount of responsibility.

What are the disadvantages of leasing a property?
The major disadvantage of leasing a property is that the building which is leased is not owned till eternity. Even leases that can run for 90 years stand the risk of not being renewed due to changes to the lease law or unforeseen circumstances. A typical example might be the owner of the land refusing to sign a lease extension after the initial 30 year lease. This could lead to legal wrangling that are quite expensive and also time-consuming.