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Q & A Thailand land laws for foreigners

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Learning, land ownership laws in Thailand

Thai property law is based on European civil law real estate law. Thai property law is Western and relatively straightforward and easy to understand. What makes buying real estate in Thailand different and more complicated for non-Thai nationals is that Thai land laws prohibit foreigners from owning land making it impossible for foreigners to obtain outright ownership over land and houses in Thailand. Below a few basic questions and answers related to foreign land ownership limitations .
  • What do you need to verify before buying land in Thailand? +

    Answer In Thailand it is your responsibility to do your research before signing a sale and purchase contract for land or land and house or a lease. Usually due diligence is done by a real estate lawyer. A short checklist for a real property purchase in Thailand is included in this website.
  • Is it allowed to build on land? +

    Answer Generally, except some rural areas, the land must have an ownership title deed and a building permit must be obtained from the local Or.Bor.Tor (local 'Tambon's' government organization). You cannot build anywhere or anything you like, building is regulated by building regulations under the Building Control Act and City Planning Act in Thailand, each containing local ministerial regulations.
  • Does Thailand have documentation evidencing a person's legal right or title to real property? +

    Answer Thailand has a system of land ownership title deeds in which the best and only true ownership title deed is the Chanote title deed. Land title deeds are administrated and issued by the Thailand land department. A building (except for condos) does not have a separate ownership deed, but requires a building permit giving formal approval of the building plans by the local government (or bor tor). All ownership transfers and registration of rights to land (and house) take place at the local land department' s branch offices.
  • What are the conveyancing taxes in Thailand? +

    Answer The following taxes and fees apply: 1- transfer fee 2%, 2- stamp duty 0.5 % or 3- specific business tax of 3.3%, and 4- personal or corporate income withholding tax. These costs apply when transferring ownership of land, land and house, a building separate from the land or a condo and are collected by the local land office (land department's branch offices) upon transfer. read more....
  • Can foreign individuals own land in Thailand? +

    ANSWER: Foreign land ownership can only be allowed pursuant to a treaty (section 86 of the Land Code Act, no treaty exists) or following section 96 bis of the Land Code Act. Both require permission of the Minister of Interior.
  • Can foreigners have other rights to land in Thailand? +

    Answer Foreigners can have possession of land or real estate under a with the land department registered lease agreement or obtain a right of usufruct. or have an interest in a Thai company that owns the land, however this last option is currently less popular because in general this structure as a vehicle to own real estate on behalf of a foreigner has some legal defects in its structure and purpose.
  • Can I own a house, but not the land? +

    Answer Foreigners (and Thais) can own a building or structure on land owned by someone else. Ownership of a structure separate from the land is relative to the right to use someone else's land for building (e.g. the term of the agreed land lease and/ or right of superficies), read more....
  • Can a Thai national own land on my behalf? +

    Answer No. It is illegal for foreigners to use a Thai person (juristic or natural) for this purpose and illegal for Thai nationals to act as an agent or owner on behalf of a foreigner, (section 96 of the Land Code Act). The Thailand Land Department even issued a warning in English on their website that this structure would be a criminal offence against the Criminal Code (section 267) and the Land Code Act (section 111).
  • Where can I find the law that prohibits foreign land ownership? +

    Answer The Land Code Act contains provisions governing foreign land ownership. Read more: CHAPTER 8 / หมวด ๘ - Limitation of Foreigners Right in Land / การกําหนดสทธิ ิในทดี่ ินของคนตางด  าว..
  • Can a foreigner married to a Thai national own land? +

    Answer No. The Land Department does allow a Thai national married to a foreigner to acquire and own the land, but only when it becomes a non-marital property, therefore a personal property of the Thai spouse. It must be owned and is managed by the Thai spouse alone and is not automatically subject to an equitable division upon termination of marriage, read more...
  • Can a foreign national inherit land in Thailand? +

    Answer No, pursuant to section 93 of the Land Code Act, foreigners may acquire land by inheritance as statutory heir and subject to a treaty register ownership (section 86 Land Code Act), however there is currently no treaty allowing any foreigner to acquire land in Thailand. If they for example inherit land as a statutory heir from a Thai spouse they must sell the land within one year from the date of acquisition.
  • Can a Thai company limited own land on behalf of a foreigner? +

    Answer No, a Thai company formed merely as a front for foreign property ownership is illegal and void. New anti-nominee business and land office guidelines and regulations must prevent and restrict the illegal use of Thai companies and nominee shareholding structures by foreigners, read more....
  • Can foreign corporations own land in Thailand? +

    Answer Foreign corporations with substantial investments benefiting the Thai economy may have special privileges and exemptions for land ownership granted for the duration of their business in Thailand pursuant to section 27 of the Investment Promotion Act (Board of Investment), section 44 of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Act and section 65 of the Petroleum Act.
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