Land purchase in Thailand can be difficult. There has always been the issue about land ownership in Thailand. The most common question is always, can foreigners buy property in Thailand. Land ownership in Thailand can be difficult to understand. Always take proper legal advice when considering buying land in Thailand. There is a reason why most opt for a superficies, usufruct, or a leasehold agreement on land.
Foreigners are not allowed to own land in Thailand if you were thinking about buying land in Thailand. But, there are certain avenues provided by Thai laws in which a foreigner may be able to acquire land in Thailand.
Can foreigners buy property in Thailand?
It’s also important to remember that the registered capital of the company should be proportionate to the value of the land to be purchased so as not to raise doubts in the Land Office about the authenticity and capability of your company.
The right to usufruct can be conferred to a foreign beneficiary called a ‘usufructuary’ by the landowner. The foreigner then would have the right to occupy the land and use it. The right to usufruct ceases upon the demise of the usufructuary and unfortunately, this right cannot be transferred to an heir.
The right to superficies, on the other hand, allows the foreign beneficiary to enjoy and make use of everything including structures in the land. This right is transferable as opposed to the usufruct. See the article habitation rights on this website when considering a land purchase in Thailand.
A foreigner who invests THB 40 million in Thailand for 5 years is allowed to purchase land in Thailand up to 1 rai for residential purposes. Note this when buying land in Thailand. If you are looking for investment property then speak to a property lawyer about this. You will need to search for property in Thailand as what you can invest in. Note there will be government paperwork for this process to complete.
A foreigner may have a 100% interests in the land by entering into a lease agreement with the land lord. The initial lease term is 30 years but a provision can be added in the agreement to allow the foreigner in leasing the land for another 30 years should the initial lease term has been exhausted. Take proper legal advice when dealing with a leasehold agreement while in Thailand.
This doesn’t mean that as a foreigner who is married to a Thai, you can already purchase land in your name. The land to be purchased will remain in your Thai spouse’s name. The Land Office will ask you to sign a declaration stating that the funds used for the purchase of property were given to your wife as a gift. This way the land eventually becomes her personal property.
To protect your interest in the property in case unpleasant things happen down the road in your marriage. It is normally the signing of an agreement that can be entered into between you and your wife. You would need to consult our property lawyer to draft this agreement for you. Land purchase in Thailand as stated is complex as you can see there are legal constraints with buying land in Thailand.
A foreigner can register a Thai company and use this company to buy land. The company should have existing, genuine Thai shareholders who own the majority of the company shares. Utilizing nominee shareholders is against the law and can jeopardize your business interests in Thailand.
In fact, the Land Office, in its effort to curb this prevailing practice has started to require Thai shareholders to present proof of their financial capacity before the transfer of the land into their company.
In Thailand the right of habitation allows you the right to live in an apartment or building rent free. This can be for life or 30 years. See also superficies or usufruct to compare the difference between them as they can all be free and each with its own limitations.
A leasehold agreement is where the property owner and the tenant agree on the terms and conditions over a specific property which the tenant will make use of for an agreed upon period of time in exchange for payment. Leasehold agreements are widely used in Thailand.