Thailand Land Titles
Land ownership laws in Thailand
Thai law stipulates that a foreigner may not own a land in his name - he has the right of ownership of buildings only. If a foreigner wishes to purchase land to build a property, he has 2 options:
The land is purchased on a 30-year leasehold, with an option to extend the lease for further 30 year periods. Possession of the land is assured by virtue of the fact that the property occupies the land. The lessor cannot seize the property upon expiration of the lease, as the property is separate from the land.
If a foreigner is going to operate a business in Thailand then he may purchase the freehold of the land through his Limited Company. The land will be owned by the Company, not the individual.
If a foreigner buys land in Thailand, he should only consider the following 3 land titles : a Chanote, Nor Sor 3 or Nor Sor 3 Gor. These can be sold, leased and used as mortgage collateral and are the only titles over which a registerable right of ownership or lease can exist. “More importantly, you cannot apply for, or obtain approval to build on such land without one of the aforementioned titles.
True land title deeds are officially called Nor Sor 4 Jor or more commonly Chanote. This is a certificate for the ownership of land and can be used as evidence confirming the right to government authorities. It is issued by the Phuket Provincial Land Office using GPS to accurately plot and survey the boundaries of the land. This is the most secure type of land title but land with a Chanote can often be hard to find.
2. Nor Sor 3
The Nor Sor 3 is a document certifying the use of land issued and maintained by the District Land Office to the proprietor of the land but is not a possessory title. That is to say the person holding the Nor Sor 3 has the legal right to possess the land in question and can use it as a legal document. Nor Sor 3 is a floating map with no parcel points issued for a specific plot of land and not connected to other land plots, but its boundaries are recorded according to its neighboring plots. Therefore, it may cause some problems in verifying boundaries due to lack of accurate surveys. Any change in ownership of the land must be publicized for 30 days before it can be registered.
3. Nor Sor 3 Gor
The Nor Sor 3 Gor has the same legal basis as the Nor Sor 3, with the difference being that in general NorSor 3 Gor has parcel points on the map of the land area set by using an aerial survey with a scale of 1:5000. It is a more accurately surveyed title as each plot is crossed referenced to a master survey of the land area and a corresponding aerial photograph. Therefore, it is possible to verify the boundaries of the land. However, it is still less accurately surveyed compared to a Chanote.
4. SorKor 1
SorKor 1 is a notification form of possessed land, which shows and maintains the existing rights to the particular land. On December 1st 1954, the government advised all land proprietors to notify their possession of land to the government using a ‘SorKor 1′ form. After it was proven that such a proprietor had possessed and used the benefit of the land legally, the government would then issue ‘Nor Sor 3′ or ‘Nor Sor 3 Gor’ as an evidence, which are legal certificates stating the owner’s name that they have the right to such land according to the principle land administration law. This right will be protected by the law and can be used as evidence in any dispute with a private individual or the government.
5. Condominium Title
A condominium title is a title of a part of a building or buildings with multiple owners, a fractional interest in the land, other common assets (such as a swimming pool) and common parts of the building (such as the stairwell or lobby). The title will state the floor area of the private apartment, the ground area of the common land and the percentage interest, in which that apartment has in the common property. This percentage also represents the voting interest in the condominium company or owners association.