Thailand land law generally prohibits foreigners from owning freehold land in Thailand.
However, there are some legal exceptions to this. There are also other methods available for acquiring valid and legal rights to land and real estate in Thailand that do not amount to outright ownership.
What are the different ways of acquiring land rights or purchasing property in Thailand?
2.1 Land Leases: Although Thailand real estate law restricts land ownership rights to non-Thai citizens, foreigners are expressly permitted may to hold a 100% interest in a Thailand land lease. The foreigner effectively leases the land or house from the Thai national who remains the owner of the land. Thailand lease law allows a 30-year maximum lease period, with the possibility of renewing the lease for additional 30 year periods.
2.2 Company Ownership: Thailand registered companies with majority Thai ownership are able to buy land in Thailand. In the past it has been common for foreign nationals to acquire an interest in Thailand real estate as minority shareholders in a Thai majority company.
However in recent years, the Thailand Land Department has become stricter in investigating limited companies for the use of the “nominee” Thai shareholders, who do not possess a legitimate interest in the company owning the land. Nevertheless it is still possible however for a non-Thai shareholder to secure his investment in a Thai limited company through legal means.
2.3 Investment: Thai real estate law allows foreigners to buy and own a limited amount of land based on an investment of 40 million baht for five consecutive years, provided that the land is used for residential purposes.
2.4 Thai Spouse:Under Thai real estate law, a Thai spouse of a foreigner may be allowed to buy land or property in Thailand in his or her own name.
However the married couple may be asked to sign declarations at the Land Department to state that the funds used are the separate property of the Thai spouse.
Any claim on the land or property by the non-Thai spouse could therefore be waived which might be problematic in a divorce case.
It could make it difficult for the non-Thai spouse to prove that the land was marital property. In this case, a skillfully drafted Thailand prenuptial agreement may help to minimize the risk to the non-Thai spouse.
Can foreigners own houses in Thailand?
In general, foreigners can own buildings and houses in Thailand as Thai real estate law places no nationality restrictions on ownership of such in Thailand.
What is the most typical way for a foreigner to purchase a condominium in Thailand?
when buying a condo in Thailand
- Not having clearly agreed in a new construction that the purchase concerns a freehold purchase of a condo registered under the condominium act, and not as an alternative (and/or) a leasehold purchase;
- Not dealing with a registered condominium under the Thailand condo act but an unregistered holiday or leasehold apartment building.
- Not having transferred foreign currency into Thailand at least equal to the purchase price (not qualifying under section 19);
- Not having obtained legal advice on how taxes and transfer fees are to be divided and ending up paying more than necessary;
- Not having obtained legal advice on the condominium sale and purchase agreement and required terms and conditions and responsibilities of the parties;
- Not having conducted due diligence on a project or unit and being confronted with unexpected issues after signing the purchase agreement and having paid a unsecured deposit;
- Not having agreed escrow in the payment schedule and being confronted with default by the seller after part payment of the purchase price and prior to transfer of ownership;
- Not having checked the unit title deed and previous land office sale agreement to ensure that the apartment is free of encumbrances.
Some place to look for condos
(Update as i find new sites)