Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Land Titles
The land title deed is a Chanote (Nor Sor 4 Jor). The Nor Sor 3 Gor and Nor Sor 3, are equivalent to a land title deed for all practical purposes as the land can be sold, leased or mortgaged. However, the boundaries are less accurately surveyed compared to land with a Chanote. There are a number of other land titles though these do not afford the owner many rights to the land under Thai law.
Metric units are generally used in the construction and measurement of buildings, but land is usually measured in Wah or rai.
2. Purchasing Land
According to Thai law, foreigners are prohibited from purchasing freehold land and not more than 49% of the shares in a Thai limited company that owns freehold land under the company’s name. However, foreigners may own a building distinct from its land, such as a unit in a condominium. A foreigner can also lease the land for 30 years usually with an extra two 30 years options.
The safest and easiest methods for owning land include using a leasehold agreement or setting up a Thai limited liability company.
Unlike land leasing, the ownership of such land is permanent as long as the company exists. Using this method is also convenient if you were already planning to set up a business in Thailand. This method is also suitable if you wish to purchase land as part of an investment as it is possible to mortgage or subdivide the land for resale.
Unless you are an American, as a foreigner you cannot own more than 49% of the shares in the company. This means that you need Thai shareholders who will sign over control of their shares to you. The minimum number of shareholders is 3, so you can have 1 foreigner and 2 Thai shareholders. However, even though you control these shares, proper legal procedures need to be put in place in order to protect your investment.
3. Land Leases
Leases up to 3 years don’t need to be registered. Leases that are 3 years or longer must be registered at the Land Department.
The maximum lease term is normally 30 years with an option for an extension of 30 years and a further 30 years after that. Each lease renewal must be registered at the local land office. Land for industrial purposes may be leased for up to 50 years by a foreign company under certain circumstances with a possible lease extension of a further 50 years.
Its possible that the land owner may refuse to sign the registration for the lease extension after 30-years. The lessee can sue for breach of contract, but the entailed legal process is costly and time-consuming. Other disadvantages include the difficulty in obtaining a mortgage for the lease, a lower resale value and potential lawsuits from the land owner for lease violations.
leasehold land may be transferred subject to the terms and conditions of the agreements. Generally, an assignment fee is payable. In addition, the assignee must agree to be bound by the terms and conditions contained in the original lease agreement.
yes if in the lease agreement there is an option clause to purchase the land as freehold tilte during the lease term provided that the lessee is eligible under thai law. An option fee is generally also payable.
the land title need to be free from mortgage and any encumbrances and this is the preferred method of ownership for foreign buyers. Once the lease is registered at the land department, the right of use to the land will be vested with the lessee.
4. Purchase Condominium
A condominium is basically defined as a building with distinct portions that can be sold for personal ownership.
What are the requirements for a foreign individual or organization to purchase a condominium in Thailand?
A foreigner or foreign legal entity, who brings foreign currency into Thailand, or brings in Baht currency from the account of a person living abroad, and uses foreign currency from their deposit account. This requirement is normally met by the presentation of a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form, which is provided by the bank receiving an incoming remittance in foreign currency from abroad.
A foreigner or foreign legal entity can acquire up to 49% of the total unit space of all the units in a registered condominium building.
Condominiums can be leased for periods of up to 30 years, which can be renewed. Leases of more than three years are required to be registered with the Land Department.