>> Frequently Asked Questions
Detailed below are the most commonly asked questions we have
received to date. If you cannot find an answer to your particular
question, please feel free to
Or just click on the following link and visit one of our partner
lawyers and consultants here in Thailand:
>> Can I Own a Condominium in Thailand?
Buying a condominium, is perhaps the simplest and easiest option
available to foreigners. The only restrictions on purchasing a
condominium, are that the percentage of units sold to foreigners
cannot exceed forty nine percent (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 Nor Sor Sam. Purchases of condominiums by foreign
individuals come under the jurisdiction of the Condominium Act
B.E. 2535 (1992).
The owner of each condominium 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
>> Can I Own a House and Land in Thailand?
Ownership of land 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
Nominee with Lease and Option to Buy - you can use a Thai Nominee
to purchase the house/land and have a 30 year lease with a 30 by
30 year option from the nominee. In order to be enforceable, any
lease for a period of longer than three years must be registered,
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. The drawbacks to a lease include the fact that the parties
can contractually agree to renewals, but this right cannot be registered
and is not effective against a purchaser of the property, and that
the lessee cannot (without the lessor's consent) sublease, sell or
transfer his or her interest.
Nominee with Mortgage - you can use a Nominee to purchase the house/land and have a mortgage (registered with the appropriate land department office)
on the property in your favour. However, in some circumstances the Thai courts have ruled that this was not a bona fide mortgage,
but rather it was a mortgage contrived to circumvent the existing laws of Thailand prohibiting foreign ownership of land.
It is important to note that only the owner of the land is entitled to mortgage the land; the lessee of land does not have
the same privilege.
Usufruct Interest (Sidhi-kep-kin) - gives you temporary ownership rights to things on or arising from the land.
In practice, a usufruct is limited to a 30 year maximum period; like leases, the agreement can be successively renewed.
In contrast to a lease, a usufructury interest can be sold or transferred, although it expires upon the death of the
holder of the usufruct and therefore cannot be inherited.
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%, but with the recommended changes to the Articles of Association, the foreigner can
be the only director of the company, and the only officer of the company who can commit or bind the company in any contractual dealings - effectively giving
the minority shareholder control over the company.
>> What is a Nor Sor Sam?
A Nor Sor Sam (3) 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 Nor Sor Sam from your bank when you are remitting funds to Thailand for the purpose of purchasing a condominium, and the Nor Sor Sam must specify that the remittance is solely for the purpose of purchasing a property - Code 5.22.
>> Do they have Title Deeds in Thailand?
A Title Deed is the purest form of evidence that an individual
owns a piece of land. Title Deeds are given only for areas of Thailand
which are surveyed. For areas which are not surveyed, there are
other documents for land possession such as evidence of the possession
of the right to utilise the land or other interests in the land.
These documents are called "Nor Sor Sam (3) and Nor Sor Sam
(3) Kor". Unlike the Title Deeds, these Nor Sor documents
are issued to show the possessors' exploitation of the land. Though
these documents do not provide ownership rights, as do Title deeds,
they can still be registered for transfer of the lands for which
they are issued.
>> Can I Get a Mortgage Loan?
Foreigners generally cannot mortgage properties in Thailand,
however, most of the financial institutions in Thailand provide
loans for real estate purchasing to Thais and Thai companies. It
is common for a real estate developer to arrange for his customers
to have a financing package from a financial institution. In most
real estate development projects, a down payment can be made in
installments from 10 to 24 months. After the down payment has been
paid, the sale contract will be made and the balance amount is
paid through the loan which is financed from a financial institution.
The financial institution requires you to mortgage the property
with it as collateral against the loan.
>> Land Appraisals and Valuations
Finding the exact appraisal price for land is difficult, since
there are generally three different appraisal rates; the government
rate, the appraisal company's rate and the rate which is considered
to be fair market value of the land. Over the last few years all
of these rates have begun to come closer together.
>> What Should I Look for in a Property?
Whether you are considering renting, leasing or purchasing property
there are several infrastructure and other considerations which
must be taken into account:
Location - Roads, proximity and access to business, shops, hospitals and etc.
Telephones - Access to direct lines and IDD facilities.
Water - Mains water and supplementary storage facilities.
Electricity - Mains connection, and backup generators for condominium blocks.
Security - 24 hour security service, door and window locks.
Cable or Satellite TV connection.
Pest Control - localised spraying and flywire screens on windows.
Hot water facilities - nearly all in Thailand are instant and not storage.
Air Conditioning - a necessity in Thailand.
White Goods - Refrigerators and Washing Machines.
>> My Wife is a Thai National, Can She Own Land?
Prior to 1998, any Thai woman who married a foreigner would lose
her right to purchase land in Thailand. She could, however, still
retain land that she owned prior to marrying the foreigner. However,
the recent (1999) Ministerial regulation now allows Thai national's
married to foreigners the right to purchase land, but the Thai
spouse must prove that the money used in the purchase of freehold
land is legally solely theirs with no foreign claim to it. This
is usually achieved by the foreign spouse signing a declaration
stating that the funds used for the purchase of property belonged
to the Thai spouse prior to the marriage and are beyond his claim.
>> Are There Property Taxes in Thailand?
There are no property taxes as such in Thailand that are exactly
equivalent to the property taxes in the west, however, the most
comparable taxes on properties in Thailand are the Land Tax and
the Structures Usage Tax. The Land Tax levied on land is so miniscule,
that in practice the body charged to collect it, rarely bothers
to do so, and if they do, they usually wait several years until
the amount accumulates. The second tax, the Structures Usage Tax,
relates to buildings, is collected by the municipal office or district
office, and is only applied to properties used for commercial purpose.
>> What Taxes and Costs are Applicable to Purchasing Property in Thailand?
On all purchase/sale of property in Thailand there is a stamp
Duty of 0.5%, a transfer fee of 0.01%, a business tax of 0.11%
levied against an owner who has been in registered possession of
the property less than 5 years, and Income Tax. There is no Capital
Gains Tax in Thailand, unlike many countries, and Income Tax (usually
between 1.0 - 3.0%) on property is the comparable replacement.
There are no set rules on who pays the income tax, and it is just
another part of the bargaining process, as with all the other costs
of the transfer of ownership.