See why it’s important to understand the usufruct and marriage. The usufruct in Thailand needs to be explained. Buying property in Thailand can be very difficult as foreigners are not allowed to own land outright under Thai law. There is a small exception however you need to invest millions in Thailand. Then obtain approval from the Minister of Interior for you to own a few Rai or land in Thailand. Most expats and foreigners invest in a house in rural Thailand. They place the house into the names of their Thai spouse. This can however become a problem if you divorce later.
The usufruct in Thailand is primarily the right to use and manage another person’s immovable property and receive the fruits or benefits thereof. Usufruct and marriage can be complex. This has to be registered against the property title deed at the land office in Thailand. There are however limits to this in Thailand when it comes to foreigners. You may live in the house and also rent out the house and receive rent however the rental agreement may not be longer than 3 years. Note that the usufruct does not give you the right to sell the property.
Usufruct and marriage have been used many times in Thailand during the marriage. If you are going to lease land in Southern Thailand to grow Palm Oil as an example. You can use the land and derive the benefits from the land (Palm Oil). However, note that farming is a prohibited profession in Thailand for foreigners.
Always speak to a lawyer in Thailand about the property. As well aa what you wish to do with the property before you sign or agree to a usufruct or lease agreement.
The usufruct in Thailand is registered for a maximum of 30 years. However, should you die before the 30 years lapse the usufruct would normally come to an end. If the usufruct was registered in your name and in the name of another. Say 2 people on the usufruct. Then the other person will still have a right to the usufruct after your death.
When you do have a usufruct over a property you are responsible for maintaining the property. Should you not maintain the property and damages occur due to neglect. Then the property owner can ask for damages and also to have the usufruct canceled.
A very good example of 2 people on a usufruct is if you take a usufruct on the property in the name of you and your wife. Should you die before the 30 years have lapsed your wife will still have a right to live in the property as before. Most expats in Thailand when leasing property and making use of a usufruct over a property neither of them owns tend to include their wife in the registration of the usufruct as a usufruct cannot be inherited or transferred. See another property option such as the right of superficies which can be inherited.
Most usufructs in Thailand tend to be registered as security in the event of a divorce in Thailand. The usufruct is only one option as there is also a prenuptial agreement. The others may be better options such as superficies which may be a better option. It is always best to speak to a property lawyer in Thailand if you are looking at buying property. Alternatively, speak to a family lawyer about a prenuptial agreement before you register your marriage in Thailand.
You should also notice the right of habitation which you should read and understand. As well as leasehold agreements in Thailand which is also an option. You will need to speak to a property lawyer in Thailand for the best advice as every person is different. Also, read superficies which may also be an option for you.
The information contained on our website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
The usufruct is a real right and as a real property right governed by the Thai law. This is also registered against the title deed of the property and gives the holder usage of the property. The usufruct can be only be registered for a maximum of 30 years.
The usufruct in Thailand is used by some who wish to protect their property in Thailand in the event of a divorce. You will need to take proper legal advice on its use as there are also other options outside of the usufruct such as a superficies.