Rules On Real Estate Ownership For Spouses in Thailand
It is stipulated under the Thai laws that a foreign national is not allowed to co-tenure with his or her other half who is a Thai national. Also, they are not allowed to have any significant tenure of the land as mutually possessed conjugal or wedded assets between spouses. That means that even if a foreigner marries a Thai and the foreigner use his or her own money to buy a land in Thailand, the Thai national will be the one who will legally own the property regardless of who paid for the property.
The above process also applies to other real estate assets in the country. With this, the property purchased as a private asset will not become a conjugal asset between spouses.
Risks of Foreigners Buying a Property Under The Thai Spouse’s Name
The land can be purchased using the identity of Thai national, who in a particular instance, is wedded to an alien (foreign). Conversely, this bares with it some risks and a lot of legal requirements. If a Thai citizen with an alien spouse desires to purchase an asset, evidence will be needed that the resources which will be utilized to purchase the asset is lawfully obtained from the spouse who is a Thai national only.
This rule also applies to cases of purchase of a condominium unit which is a part of a condominium building that will exceed permitted share of alien (foreign) possession. In instances of acquisition of real estate assets, the Thai spouse has to prove that the resources utilized is privately owned or a Sin Suan Tua by him or her in accordance to two (2) provisions of the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code.
Sin Suan Tua includes:
- assets privately owned by either of the husband and wife prior the marriage
- assets that are used by either party separately such as properties used for work
- assets obtained by either party throughout the matrimony through donations or presents;
- property which they call Khongman.
Moreover, the Thai party must show proofs in an official statement of authentication that all resources paid for the real asset is privately owned by either party in the marriage and not a joint asset.
In this situation, the Land Department of Thailand’s policy is to inspect the authentic basis of resources to be utilized in the purchase. In cases the alien spouse is not a domicile of Thailand, it can be recorded by any authorized party in that particular country where the foreign spouse lives.
The abovementioned conditions will also pertain to listing of tenure over the land at the Thailand’s Land Department Office. The guideline and method are aimed at averting the possibility of the Thai spouse and foreign spouse co-own the assets. This is based on Thai Family laws chapter on “assets between husband and wife”.
It is also aimed at avoiding the Thai spouse acting as the owner of land on behalf of the alien spouse. In addition, the certified authentication letter is based on the principle of a certain provision in the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code which is Section 1472. It also states that if a privately owned asset has been traded for other property such as land, that property shall be in effect privately owned.
Foreigner as a Statutory Heir
In theory, as a legal heir, an alien who is wedded to a Thai citizen can have possessions of the land by means of inheritance. The alien (foreign) spouse can also record such tenure following the attainment of acquiescence from the Minister of Interior.
As stipulated in one of the provisions of the Thailand Land Code Act, an alien (foreign) spouse who obtains property through legacy as the legal heir can have tenure in such property with the given authority from the Minister of Interior but is subject to limitation such that it should not exceed the plots provided and clearly stated in Section 87 of the code.
However, it must be taken to consideration that the above provision concerns only the alien tenure of property acquired through a treaty and not to foreigners being recipient of land as a legal heir from the Thai partner.
Alien (foreign) spouses who get hold of land through legal succession has to reassign the property within one (1) year to a Thai national. It must be further noted that this can be useful only to foreign persons inheriting land as a legal successor and not to foreign inheritors who obtain land under a last will.
Any foreigner who gets hold of a condominium unit through legacy, either as a legal heir or inheritor under will, shall obtain rights of such unit and must meet the criteria set under Section 19 of the Thailand Condominium Act to essentially record rights with the Land Department of Thailand.
If that person has not met the requirements under section 19 or if he qualifies but the ownership would exceed the allowed forty-nine percent (49%) foreign ownership in the condominium building, it is required by law that the unit shall be disposed of within one (1) year from the date of acquisition of such condo unit. If the foreigner be unsuccessful on this, the Director-General of Land Department shall have power to sell the condominium on the foreigner’s behalf.