Property Law in Thailand

By: Chris Heath

Thailand is becoming an ever more popular retirement and choice of country to live with its low costs and beautiful scenery not forgetting of course the world famous friendliness of the Thais themselves. But finding out about the laws governing property ownership here can be confusing. Here are the bare bones of Thai property Law

* A foreigner can own a condominiums long as less than 40% of the condos or apartments in the building are owned by foreigners. Many people believe it to be 49% although this regulation was an addition to the existing law and was only meant to be in place for one year and has since expired.

* A company can own property such as land and a house (and hence the foreigner can buy land and a house via their Thai registered company) as long as no one foreigner owns more that 39% of the company (recently amended from 33%) and total foreign ownership of the company does not exceed 49%.Still ambiguous and under review.

* The Thai wife of a foreigner can own property (a recently changed legal status due to gender equality in the new 1997 constitution revision), in her name only. This is fine as long as you don't have marital problems. (The same, of course, goes for a Thai husband, but the law was changed recently for Thai wives due to the new constitution guaranteeing equal rights.)

* A foreigner can lease land for 30 years, with an option for another 30 years, the first 30 years are guaranteed they are registered with the Land Department, however the second can be contested.

* If you gain BOI approval you may as a company is able to buy up to one rai of land. Although this is meant for very large investors.

At the end of the day if you are seriously looking to invest in Thailand you should consult a good lawyer who will be familiar with the latest property laws.

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