Lease or rent of land, house or condominium for residential purpose by foreigners is governed by civil and commercial code sections 537 to 571. Foreigners are under Thai law allowed to lease real estate property for up to 30 years and the law is applied in the same manner if the lessee is a foreign or Thai national.
Foreigners cannot own land in Thailand but are allowed to lease land under a land lease agreement registered with the land department and own the structure built on leased land. Obtaining the correct legal ownership of the building upon the leased land greatly increases the land lessee's rights and long term interest in the property. The right to own a building upon another man's land however always relates to the right to use and possess the land, i.e the term of the land lease (and optional the term of an additional right of superficies).
A prenuptial in Thailand is established through agreement between a man and a woman who are about to be married. A prenuptial agreement in Thailand (download ZIP-package) is ONLY a valid contract if it is made BEFORE the marriage and REGISTERED with the local municipality government office where the marriage takes place.
A Thai national married to a foreign national may acquire land in Thailand but it must be assured that the land will be a personal property of the Thai spouse and not a jointly owned asset between husband and wife based on marital property laws. The Thai and foreign spouse must prove to the land official upon ownership registration that the money used for the purchase is personal property of the Thai spouse according to section 1471 and 1472 Civil and Commercial Code and/ or supply an land office official certify letter stating that the spending on land is separate property (Sin Suan Tua) or personal asset of the Thai spouse, and not a personal property of the foreign spouse or jointly owned property (sin som ros) between husband and wife.
If a foreigner wishes to purchase a vessel and register it under Thai law, many considerations have to be taken into account. This article aims to provide a general guideline for foreigners on the procedures and regulations involved in the purchase and registration of a vessel for commerce.
What is a tabien baan or Thai house book?
There are no general property taxes (capital tax on property imposed by the government) in Thailand, but real properties put to commercial use (residential houses not 'owner occupied' and commercial buildings) must under the Building and Land Tax Act pay a 'rental' tax at a rate of 12,5 % of the annual rental value or the annual assessed rental value, whichever is higher. The annual assessed rental value is based on a calculation method over the appraised value of the property (land, house, apartment). If anyone leases a property at a rent lower than a reasonable rent, the amount could be adjusted and lessor could be taxed on what the rent should have been.
The taxes and fees imposed and collected upon transfer of ownership of a real property (condominium apartment, land, house, land and house) in Thailand are: transfer fee, specific business tax (if applicable), stamp duty (if applicable), income withholding tax.
For the registration of rights, obligations or transfer of ownership of immovable property by someone else than the owner of the land the government provincial and local land department's branch offices in Thailand ONLY accept the official standard land department's Thai script 'power of attorney' (the tor dor 21). Any other forms of power of attorney, e.g. a lawyer drafted power of attorney, will not be accepted by the land offices. Below a sample of a translated Thai script 'Tor.Dor.21' land office power of attorney.
for a resale or off-plan condo in Thailand
In case of a resale condo unit/ apartment in Thailand the purchase price for the unit could be paid by cashier's check to the seller at the time of transfer of ownership of the unit at the land office (standard practice). In this case the buyer of the condo must obtain a cashier's cheque and the foreign exchange documents (FET-form) from his bank inside Thailand required for registration of foreign ownership under Thai condominium laws.
Thai condo laws define a 'condominium' as a building that can be separated into units for individual ownership and includes common properties (land on which the building sits, hallways, elevators, etc.). Only condominium buildings licensed under the condo act and registered with the land department as 'condominium' offer individual ownership of the units and joint ownership of the common areas and government issued ownership unit title deeds. Private 'holiday' apartment projects, not having obtained a condo license, do not offer ownership of the unit spaces nor joint ownership in the common areas, but only offer possession under private contract structures.
under the Thailand condominium act
In the nineties (the decade that began in 1990) foreigners could own 40% of the aggregate unit space in an apartment building registered under the Thailand Condominium Act (i.e. in case of 100 equal units 40 could be owned freehold by foreigners). Between April 1999 and April 2004 there was an exception created (condominium act no. 3 1999) which under certain rules and conditions and in specified areas allowed foreigners to own 100% of the aggregate unit space in a condo project. Currently foreigners are allowed to own up to 49% of the aggregate unit space in a condominium.
Marriage in Thailand is governed by the Civil and Commercial Code book 5, sections 1435 to 1535. A marriage (section 1457) can take place only if the man and woman (who are at least 18 years old) agree to take each other as husband and wife, and such agreement must be declared publicly before the Registrar in order to have it recorded by the Registrar. Marriage in Thailand is created and completed on formal registration and inclusion in the government's marriage register.
The main legal requirements and limitation of foreign ownership of condo units in the Kingdom of Siam can be found in section 19 of the Thailand condominium act, that is, (1) not more than 49% of the total floor area of all units in a condo licensed apartment building combined can be foreign owned (51% must be Thai owned), and (2) every foreigner buying a condo in Thailand must qualify for foreign ownership under section 19 paragraph 1 of the condo act.
Foreigners who qualify for foreign ownership of an apartment unit under section 19 obtain a personal non-transferable right of foreign ownership of the unit. Ownership of the unit is not freely transferable between foreigners and restricted by condominium laws. Also foreigners obtaining a condo by succession must individually qualify for foreign ownership or they must dispose of the unit within one year of the date of acquisition.
Divorce formally terminates a marriage in Thailand and is the legal ending of a marriage. Divorce in Thailand means the dissolution of a marriage by the judgment of a court on one of the 12 grounds for divorce as listed under section 1516 of the Civil and Commercial Code or by the Amphur in Thailand upon request in person by both spouses and when there is mutual consent on the terms of divorce between husband and wife.
Only multi unit apartment buildings licensed under the condominium act B.E. 2522 and registered with the land department as 'condominium' offer freehold ownership of the units and government issued ownership unit title deeds (image on the right). Private apartment projects (multi unit buildings not having obtained a condo license) do not offer ownership nor individual unit title deeds but only possession of the units under private contract structures.
Land documents and deeds evidencing a person's legal right or title to land. Large areas of Thailand do not have the status of titled land or land confirmed for private use and possession but are government or public land or at the best forms of land claims generally used by farmers. No juristic acts like a sale, lease, superficies or usufruct can be registered over these types of land, this is only possible over land titles offering private ownership or a confirmed right of possession, issued by the land department of Thailand.
To qualify for foreign ownership under the Thailand Condominium Act a foreign purchaser of a condo unit is required to remit the full purchase price for the condo in foreign currency into Thailand, unless he is a resident in Thailand or eligible for foreign ownership under one of the other less common grounds of section 19 of the Condominium Act.
The unit ownership 'title deed' is the official ownership document of an apartment unit in a condo registered under the Thailand Condominium Act and is issued and administrated by the competent official of the Land Department. The apartment title deed contains the following main particulars:
Prenuptial agreements in Thailand, as a pre-marriage contract, are specifically governed by sections 1465 to 1469 of the Thailand Civil Code. Worldwide the content of a prenuptial can vary widely, but under Thai law a prenuptial contract can only deal with personal and marital property of husband and wife. In addition, the tough standard for drafting a prenup in Thailand is that the content may not be against the law or good morals.Contract Download
Whether you lease land or purchase land in Thailand, the land ownership title deed needs close scrutiny. The seller must be able to identify himself as the owner and provide complete certified copies of the documents of the land (e.g. a copy of the land title deed front and back side, the previous land office sale agreement). When the property includes a house the seller must submit a copy of the house book and building permit or previous sale agreement confirming his ownership.