Proccess to Aquire Land
A. How can a Foreigner acquire land in Thailand?
Though Thai Property Laws prohibit a foreigner from owning land in Thailand, there are four alternatives for a foreigner to acquire land as follows:
1. In the name of company
A foreigner may own a land in a name of Thai Company (at least 51% of shares are Thai and 49% are foreign).
2. Investment (BOI)
A foreigner who invests 40 million Baht for no less than 5 years, for reasons other than ownership or real estate itself, is entitled to buy up to 1 rai (1,600 square meters) of land for residential purposes. Permission from the Ministry of Interior must be obtained.
3. Married to a Thai
In 1999, Thai property law concerning a Thai whose spouse is foreign was amended in favour of the Thai. Such couple may now legally own land in Thailand. Nevertheless, a land must be registered under the name of a Thai. Also, a foreign spouse must sign a declaration stating that the funds used to buy a land are that of the Thai spouse, meaning that he/she waives his/her right to the ownership of land.
Leasing is 1 option for a foreigner to acquire land. The maximum duration of a lease under Thai property law is 30 years with a possibility to renew again if agreed. This is the least complicated option for a foreigner to have the right of usage of land. A land lease over 3 years must be registered at the Land Department.
5. Structure Ownership
A company or the Thai spouse of a foreigner may grant a Right of Superficies in favour of the foreigner, giving him the right to personally own all constructions situated on the land. By using this possibility, a foreign individual can be registered as the owner of a house without owning the land. The Right of Superficies can be conceded for a period of 30 years (but not automatically).
Before buying land, an essential step to the process is to conduct a 'Title Search' since there are different levels of land title deeds, it is recommended to verify with the Land department the type of title deed of a land in which you are interested to acquire and its legality. This step would provide more information about the land; for instance, whether it is under any obligation. Also, due to a real estate boom in Thailand, some counterfeit title deeds have been noticed. It is strongly recommended to conduct a 'Title Search' to avoid any unwelcome surprises in the future.