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Buying property or land in Thailand.

We strongly recommend that you do not buy land or property without proven legal representation.

The types of ownership are complex and varied and we can refer you to lawyers who are familiar with Thailand’s unique property laws.

Some relevant points regarding property in Thailand:

A few of the relevant points regarding property in Thailand, in particular for foreign buyers:

Land sizes are generally expressed as follows
1 rai                       =            1600 square metres
1 ngan                   =             400 square metres
1 talang wah           =            4 square metres
 
There are different degrees of land title in Thailand; the most important are listed below, in descending order:

  1. Chanot (red Garuda emblem on the title deed). Also know as Nor Sor Si, ie Nor Sor 4, and Chanot ti din. This is the only true certificate of land ownership and is mapped with GPS coordinates.
  2. Nor Sor Sam (3) Gor (green Garuda emblem). Chanot issuance will take place if requested, at the discretion of the land officer.
  3. Nor Sor Sam (3) (black Garuda emblem). Chanot issuance can take place if requested, at the discretion of the land officer, but prior to sale there is a 30-day notice period during which neighbours must be sent a notice of intent and allowing them the opportunity to object.
  4. Sor Kor Neung (1). This title is now obsolete as it is being upgraded to Nor Sor 3.
  5. Sor Por Kor (planning permission to build can be applied for, but normally cannot be bought or sold, only inherited).
  6. Por Bor Tor 5 (agricultural land) and Por Bor Tor 6 (document that the land has been assessed as taxable). Normally cannot be bought and sold as the rights of the land still belong to the government.
  7. Kate Ba (forestry land).
  8. Sor Tor Kor ('license to grow crops')

Generally the first three, which are property rights, are dealt with by the Land Department (Amphur), while the rest, which are similar to contractual or squatter rights, are dealt with by the Forestry Department. The lower down you go on the scale of title deeds the more questionable it becomes to invest a substantial amount in the land.

Most buyers obviously prefer Chanot, but this decision is personal, based on the investor’s assessment of the trade-off between higher risk and lower price.
Lower titles can be upgraded to higher titles.
 
There is one variation of Chanot to be aware of, namely Chanot Lung Daeng, which prohibits the sale of the land for 10 years after it was initially granted Chanot.
The vast majority of the land for sale is however straightforward Chanot, and wherever this is not the case we draw attention to the fact.
 
Special case: Thanalak, also referred to as Ti rajapasaduk. This is land under the responsibility of the Crown Property Bureau, but the owner effectively has the same rights and benefits as with Chanot land. However a rent, usually nominal, must be paid to the Crown Property Bureau, and any transactions take place at the Crown Property Bureau.
 
Regarding ownership by foreigners, it is relatively straightforward to buy a condominium, slightly more complex to buy a house, and more complex again to buy land.
In most cases foreign nationals opt to own their homes in the name of a company (although it is possible for a foreigner to own a home in his or her personal name), and usually opt to hold land with a 30-year lease (renewable twice), sometimes in a company name.

A superficies on the land can be registered in favour of the foreigner, which gives the right to own whatever is built on the land, but this is at the discretion of the land officer. It is also important to register the building permit in the name of the foreigner.

Lastly, if the foreign owner registers the property in the name of his Thai spouse it is possible to protect his rights contractually.

In the recent past the Baht has been stable at approximately 31 THB to the USD.