There are 4 main ways for foreigners to own property in Thailand
The most secure way to own property in Thailand is by buying a foreign freehold option in a licensed condominium development. Forty nine percent of condominiums are allowed under Thai Law to be owned by foreigners in their own names. On handover of the condominium unit to the foreigner the name is registered on the land paper that has been licensed as part of the development.
30 Year Lease
Foreign nationals can own land in Thailand through a registered leasehold. This lease is guaranteed under Thai law and can often be renewed; the option to renew the lease must be written into the original lease contract and registered at the Land Office. Due to the safe and uncomplicated nature of this process, many investors prefer this option.
50 Year Non-renewable Lease
A 50 year lease, guaranteed under Thai law.
Under Thai law a foreign national cannot own freehold property in Thailand. There is however a proven and effective ways for a foreign investor to own and control a Thai company which in turn owns the freehold property.
The foreigner can only own 49% of the company shares, these shares are referred to as preferential shares and are worth 10 votes per share. The other 51% can be owned by up to 6 Thai nationals, but as they are only ordinary shares, they equate to one vote per share.
The foreigner will also appoint himself as the legal and sole director of the company. Therefore the foreigner’s investment is secure and has full control over the company its voting rights and its assets. This should of course all be discussed with a legal professional.
Land Title Deeds
anyone thinking of purchasing property should always be aware of the different land title deeds that exist within Thailand.
- CHANOTE or Nor Sor 4 Jor is the highest type of land title for investors. Land with a Chanote title have been accurately GPS surveyed and are linked to the national survey grid.. They are also staked out by unique numbered posts set in the ground. Chanote titles are the most sought after and legally secure titles in thailand. The transfer of the land title can be done within a matter of hours.
- Nor Sor 3 Kor land titles are still legal documents of Rights of Ownership and are measured relatively accurately, but less accurately than the Chanote title. Transfer of ownership can take slightly longer.
- Nor Sor 3 titles are the predecessor to Nor Sor 3 Kor title and the land survey is only recorded in relation to neighboring plots. Survey errors of up to 20% are not unusual. We would always recommend a thorough re-survey of the land before purchasing land under a Nor Sor 3 title.
There are many other forms of land titles less recognized than Nor Sor 3 but these are basically a form of squatters’ rights. You cannot obtain approval to build property in Thailand on land with any lower titles than the 3 above.
Land in Thailand is measured in Rai, Ngan and Taling Wah
- 1 Wah = 4 sqm
- 1 Ngan = 100 Wah or 400 sqm
- 4 Ngan = 1 Rai or 1600 sqm
- 2.5 Rai = 1 Acre
- 6.35 Rai = 1 Hectare