Can Foreigners Buy Properties in Thailand?

Nov 2020


Lifestyle, Property Related

Can Foreigners Buy Properties in Thailand?
3 Ways to Legally Own a Property in Thailand for Foreigners

Thailand is one of the top dream countries that many people wish to live. With the cheap cost living, tasty food, rich culture, beautiful attractions (especially beaches!), nice weather and indeed friendly smile that Thai people always give to each other 😊.

For those who wish to own a home in Thailand whether for their own use, a stay as a holiday home, a stay after retirement or investment but are still in doubt because of the Thai law that not allows foreigners to own lands and houses in Thailand (Thai government set the Land Code Act to intend to avoid the increase of real estate price from the international buyers and to protect Thailand's economic and social development). However, there are still the ways to own a Thai property legally and have their name registered on the title deed.

List Sotheby's International Realty Thailand has consolidated 3 easiest ways for foreign homebuyers and investors to own a property in Thailand:

1. Buying a Freehold Condo

Buying a condo is the easiest way for foreigners to own a property in Thailand as the foreigners are allowed to own a unit in a freehold condominium building under the Condominium Act.

To comply with the Condominium Act B.E. 2522 (1979), section 19 and its amendments, condos need to ensure the following:

'Only up to 49% of the condominium's registrable area can be sold to foreign buyers (Also known as the “Foreign Quota”), the remaining 51% must be owned by Thai nationals or Thai entities. If the Foreign Quota of a condominium is sold out, foreign buyers can only acquire units in the building on a leasehold basis.'

2. Buying a Leasehold Property

For those who wish to own a land property such as a house, detached house, villa or a piece of land, foreign buyers are allowed to buy a leasehold property, followed by Act on The Lease of Immovable Property for Commercial and Industrial Purposes B.E. 2542 (1999).

While buying a leasehold property may not get the ownership or the title deed of the land property, they are still allowed to own or control of the property under the leasehold ownership with the maximum lease term in the agreement 30 years and possibly to renew two subsequent renewals or total 90 years lease (the law is also applied in the same manner if the lessee is a Thai national).

A lease agreement must be registered with the local land office to be enforceable (by legal action). The lease contract should in any case be registered with the Thailand Land Department or the lessee could lose his right to bring a lease dispute to a court of law.

Tips: The pre-signed or pre-agreed lease renewals are not accepted under Thai law. A lease may only be renewed upon the expiration of the initial lease agreement term, but it cannot exceed thirty years from the time of renewal.

3. Buying a Property through a Thai Company

Buy a leasehold land property may not be the satisfying answer for some buyers who want more ownership rights. However, it is possible to set-up a company in Thailand and acquisitions a land property under the Thai registered company which has to have at least 51% of the Thai shareholders, referred to Land Code Promulgating Act, B.E. 2497 (1954).

Therefore, this ownership option might be suitable for the investors, foreign developers and spouse.

Each kind of property ownership has both of pros and cons, it depends on the intention and the purpose of buy, if you are still wondering which kind of property ownership suit you, List Sotheby's International Realty Thailand, an expert property agency, the award-winner of Thailand's Best Real Estate Agency 2020 by Dot Property Thailand Awards are more than welcome to assist you.

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