Can a foreigner buy land or purchase property in Thailand? Thai law, in general, prohibits non-Thai citizens from buying land or purchasing property in Thailand. However, there are various exceptions to the law, as well as methods for foreigners who want to buy land or purchase property to acquire rights to land and property in Thailand legally.
What are the options available for buying land or property in Thailand? For a foreigner wishing to buy land or purchase property in Thailand, there are mainly four options worth exploring. These include using investment, leasing, owning a Thai company and marrying a Thai spouse.
Investing/BOI: With significant investment of funds, foreigners may be allowed to own a limited amount of land under Thai property law. Some foreign companies seek and obtain the approval of the Board of Investment (BOI) to purchase land for a limited period. This option, however, is not available to the vast majority of non-Thai nationals seeking to obtain a second home, retirement home or investment in Thailand because of the legal restrictions involved. As a result, other options must be examined.
Leasing: Thai property law allows a foreigner to lease land for a maximum of 30 years, with lease renewal options of 30 years. Many foreigners choose this method to secure land or property ownership. In comparison to setting up a company, land leasing is easier and requires less maintenance. (More information on land leasing in Thailand can be found here).
Owning a company: A foreigner may use a Thailand-registered company to obtain property rights or land interest in Thailand. This "Thai" company must be at least 51% owned by Thai shareholders, while the remaining 49% or less may be held by foreigners. (Some law firms are still using the old law and recommending 39% foreign ownership.)
Marrying a Thai spouse: A recent revision of Thai law has provided the opportunity for a Thai with a foreign spouse to buy land or property in Thailand. Prior to registering the land parcel at the Land Department, the couple may be asked to sign declarations, declaring that the funds for the property came solely from the Thai spouse. This may, in effect, result in the non-Thai spouse waiving his/her rights on the land or property. Such declarations may become problematic in a divorce case as the non-Thai spouse may have difficulties proving that the land was marital property. To prepare for such an event, a skillfully-drafted prenuptial agreement may be useful.
How many types of title deeds are available for private land ownership? There are mainly three types of title deeds for private land ownership in Thailand. The best title deed for land ownership is the Chanot (Nor Sor 4), which must be registered at the Land Department in the province in which the land is located. Although it is possible for a land parcel to be commonly held by several individuals, only the person whose name is indicated on a Chanot has all the legal rights to that land. The deed can act as evidence of ownership, and it can be used to engage in legal acts upon that land as allowed by the law.
The second and third best title deeds are the Nor Sor 3 Gor and the Nor Sor 3. For Nor Sor 3 title deeds, the Land Department does not utilize official markers to designate land boundaries. As a result, these title deeds have less specific land demarcation than the Chanot.
Foreigners who intend to buy land should also be aware of the problematic "possessory right". This land-ownership right is not substantiated by a title at the Land Department but it is shown using tax payments.
Chanot : Full title deed
Nor Sor 3 Gor: Second best title deed. Used while awaiting measurement for a Chanot.
Nor Sor 3: Third best title deed. Ownership may be established; Less specific boundary demarcation than a Chanot.
Possessory Right: One of the weakest land rights. Normally an inherited land right proven by tax payments at the local administrative office.
What are Land Measurements in Thailand?
Land in Thailand is measured in talang wah, ngarn and rai.
1 talang wah = 4 square meters
100 talang wah = 1 ngarn or 400 square meters
1 rai = 4 ngarn or 1,600 square meters
In other words: 1 acre = 2.529 rai
1 hectare = 6 rai and 1 ngarn
Does the law in Thailand allow a foreigner to have 100% interest for a land lease in Thailand?
The answer is YES. A foreigner is allowed to have 100% interest for a land lease in Thailand and he/she is able to secure long-term land leases under Thailand land lease law.
Is registration at the Land Department mandatory? It is mandatory for leases that are three years or more to be registered at the Land Department. Land leases that are less than three years do not require registration.
How long is the maximum lease term allowed in Thailand?
The maximum lease term allowed in Thailand is 30 years. Thereafter, there are renewal options for additional 30 years. A new registration at the Land Department is mandatory for every lease renewal with the landowner's agreement. Such renewal leases are taxable.
Why do foreigners choose the land leasing option to own property in Thailand?
Land leasing is the most straightforward approach to acquire property in Thailand. Many foreigners feel more secure knowing that a legally registered land lease stays valid even if the underlying property or the land is sold.
Why is land leasing preferred by some people in place of forming a company to acquire land?
Land leases in Thailand require only a one-time registration with the Land Department. After the registration, a foreigner's lease rights are legally recognized by Thailand land lease law and minimal legal maintenance is needed after the land lease execution.
One disadvantage of using a limited company to acquire land is that land will be owned by the shareholders of the company. Conflict of interests between shareholders may arise and this could be an additional factor for a foreigner to consider. A company would also be required to adhere to regulatory compliances such as filing annual balance sheets with the Tax Department, having an official address, and may be subject to audits.
What if there is a Tsunami?
The site is totally unaffected by the Tsunami since its location inside the Gulf of Thailand prevents it from any such occurrence. Prachuapkhirikhan is located well on the Eurasian tectonic plate, not on any fault line and not on the course of any possible Tsunami coming from the pressure of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. In written history and in geological terms, there is no evidence that the east coast of Thailand has ever experienced Tsunami conditions.
How do I stay in Thailand for longer period?
Recently Thailand approved a project to promote long stays for those aged 50 or above. Part of that approval is granting long stay visas that would be good for one year.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this site is for informational purposes only. No warranty is expressed or implied. Before taking any legal action, persons are advised to seek the advice of an attorney qualified in the area of law concerned.