Ownership of Land in Thailand
Ownership of land in Thailand is governed by the land Code BE 2497 (1954), the Civil and Commercial Code, Land Reform for Agriculture Act BE 2518 (1975) and the regulations set forth by the Ministry of the Interior. Although Thai law stipulates that a foreigner may not own land in Thailand in his name, he has the right of ownership of buildings only. If a foreigner wishes to purchase land in Thailand to build a property, he has 2 options: 1. 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 property occupies the land. The lesser cannot seize the property upon expiration of the lease, as the property is separate from the land. In order to be enforceable, any lease for a period longer than three years must be registered at the Land Department, which involves payment of a registration fee and stamp duty based on a percentage of the rental fee for the whole lease term. The original registered lease remains in force and effect even if the property is sold. Both parties can contractually agree to renewals, but this right can't be registered at the Land Department. 2. If a foreigner is going to operate a business in Thailand then he may purchase the freehold of the land through his Thai Limited Company. The land will be owned by the Thai Company, not by the individual.
Limited Liability Company
This form of purchasing property is the most popular with foreign investors as the Articles of Association can be varied to allow greater protection for foreign minority shareholders where majority Thai ownership is required under the Alien Business Law. Thai law requires that 51% of the shares be held by Thai juristic persons, however, any company with more than 40% foreign interest that purchases land will be investigated by the Central Land Office in Bangkok (under section 74 of the Land Code) to ensure that the company has not been organized in an attempt to circumvent the prohibition against foreign ownership of land. This results in the foreign ownership of the company being limited at 39% (only if buying land), but with the recommended changes of the Articles of Association, the foreigner can be the only director of the company, and the only person of the company who can commit or bind the company in any contractual dealings (buy or sell land and house), effectively giving the minority shareholders control over the company.
LAND TITLES
There are many different types of land titles in Thailand, the majority of which do not allow the legal right to build a house on that land. At TPC Thailand Property Centre we recommend the following title: CHANOT, or the Land Title Deed, a certificate for ownership of land. A person having their name shown on the deed has the right to the land and can use it as evidence to confirm the right to Government authorities. This land has been accurately measured using GPS to set the area and boundaries of the land. The boundaries of the land are indicated by numbered posts. Any legal acts may be done immediately, as per the right of ownership. Land partition of more than 9 plots must be carried out according to the Land Allotment Law, Section 286. THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF RIGHTS TO PRIVATE LAND The first is the right of possession, i.e. people who possess and use the benefit of land will have the right to possess such land under the Civil and Commercial Code. The second is ownership by a person who has a title deed and documents concerning the land.
Sor. Kor 1
is a notification form of possessed land. There is a certificate to show the right to the land. This maintains existing rights. Notification of Sor. Kor 1; on December 1954, the government advised all land proprietors to notify such possession to the government as per form Sor. Kor 1. After it was proven that such a proprietor had possessed the land legally and used the benefit of the land, then the government would issue Nor. Sor. 3 or Nor. Sor. 3 Gor as evidence. Nor. Sor. 3 and Nor. Sor. 3 Gor are legal certificates provided that any name shown on the title is a person who has the right to the land (according to the principle law). This right will be recognized by the law and can be used as evidence in any dispute with an ordinary person or the government.
Por. Bor. Tor 6
Is evidence by the issuance of a tax number for the purpose of paying tax for using the benefit of the land. Such land has not yet been assessed as to the person's right to possess such land. In the event that there is not title for the land, then it may be land in a conserved forest, public land or land which existed under Sor. Kor 1, Nor. Sor 3, Nor. Sor. 3 Gor or a title deed. Any of these titles must have a Por. Bor. Tor 6 as tax must be paid, the same as any land without a title. Purchase of such land is possible by handing over the possession of the land to the buyer along with the tax number. The right to the land under Por. Bor. Tor 6 can not be used as evidence in any dispute with authorities.
Sor. Por. Gor 4-01
This is an allotment of land from the land reformative committee, and under no circumstances may this land be bought or sold. It may be transferred to heirs only.
Nor. Sor. 3
This is an instrument certifying the use of land issued by the government to the proprietor of land not a possession title, i.e. it is confirmed by law that a person holding Nor. Sor. 3 has the legal right to possess the land. This land title can be used as a legal document or to use the benefit of the land as an owner. Nor. Sor. 3 is a floating map with no parcel points. It is issued for a specific plot of land and it is not connected to other land plots. This causes problems in verifying the land area. Any legal acts must be publicized for 30 days.
Nor. Sor. 3 Gor
This is a legal land title with the same legal basis as Nor. Sor. 3. The difference being that Nor. Sor. 3 Gor has parcel points on the map, and is set by using an aerial survey to set the points and the land area. It is possible to verify a nearby land area. It always uses the same scale of 1:5000. There is no need to publicize any legal acts, and it is possible to partition (divide) the land into smaller plots.
Ownership of a condominium in Thailand
Buying a condominium in Thailand is perhaps the simplest and easiest option available to foreigners. The only restrictions on purchasing a condominium in Thailand are that the percentage of units sold to foreigners cannot exceed 49% of the total number of units in the condominium block, and that the funds used to buy the condominium have been remitted from abroad and correctly recorded as such by a Thai Bank on a "Foreign Exchange Transaction Form". The Foreign Exchange Transaction Form is an official bank document issued by the receiving bank upon the receipt of foreign currency into your bank account in Thailand. You must request a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form from your bank when you are remitting funds to Thailand for the purpose of purchasing a condominium in Thailand, and the Foreign Exchange Transaction Form must specify that the remittance is solely for the purpose of purchasing a property in Thailand - Code 5.22. Purchases of Condominiums in Thailand by foreign individuals come under the jurisdiction of the Condominium Act B.E. 2535 (1992). The owner of each Condominium in Thailand is issued with a certificate of unit ownership. The certificate also has a statement saying exactly what percentage of rights over the common areas of the building each owner has.

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