House Ownership Rules For Foreigners in Thailand

Laws in Thailand stipulated that foreigners don’t have the right to own a land within the country. However, they can own a building or a structure with certain condition.


Essentially, there are two (2) ways of acquiring tenure over the dwelling constructed upon land but is separate from it.  First method is for one to construct a building with or without a right of superficies upon a leased land. Second method would be for one to procure a structure already built and further acquire a lease on the land where it was built.


The preferred method for foreigners buying a house in Thailand is by registered land lease combined with legal ownership over the structures upon the leased land.


Requirements for Foreigners Buying a Property

Certain laws govern the purchase of a home or a house and even the property laws in Thailand. Moreover, this does not differ from that of other countries specifically on matters of real estate purchase. However, foreigners in the country cannot own land. Thailand Land Code Act governs land ownership in Thailand whereas house ownership in the country is governed by Thailand Condominium Act.


In Thailand, any building or any structure which is constructed above its lands may be possessed and transmitted separately from the land it is constructed. When ownership of a house is transferred separate from the land, the transfer procedure must conform to the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code stipulated in Property in Book IV. It also must be in writing and must be registered with the Land Department branch or provincial office.


Furthermore, the right to use the land such as the land lease and/or the right of superficies term is relative to the ownership of a house on a land owned by someone else. Thus, when the right to use the land expires, the right to own the house on the land perishes with it.


Moreover, title deed document is not provided to the building or any structure in Thailand. The process of transferring the legal possession of an already built structure commences at the land office in the locality. It is also necessary to make an announcement in the public for a span of thirty (30) days at particular places. After the given period, Land Department branch in the locality will complete the process of transferring the ownership of the building.


Evidence of tenure can, by and large, be documented by any of the following: a) an authorized permit of the building in which the name of the owner appeared; or b) the document which contains the sale of the building and is distributed, marked, imprinted and facilitated through the Land Department office in the locality.


Requirements in Transferring an Ownership of an Existing House

The process of transferring the legal rights of a building which is already constructed follows several methods which must be accomplished by the trader and the purchaser.


First, both parties must be in attendance during the announcement of the transaction at the local land office in Thailand. In cases where one of them is not around, a representative of the absentee party may be chosen using the authority given to the land office.


Secondly, legal documents necessary in making the transfer such as permits of the structure, identity cards of both seller and purchaser must also be shown during the process. The legal document which contains the permit of the building proves that the rightful owner of the structure is the seller and thus acquired permission to construct upon the land. For instances that the party fails to furnish a building approval, the structure may have been unlawfully built. After which, the land department office will furnish four (4) copies of notice letters of the transaction and to be published to four (4) specified places by the authorities. The purpose of which is to know if there’s anyone from the community who would like to question the transfer.


Lastly, after the given period, both parties must be in attendance again at the land department, and, if in such case that there’s no one who contested the transfer, both parties will sign the legal document of the deal for it to become implementable.


The Ta.Bian.Baan

The government of Thailand furnishes booklet which is the authorized registration book and is known as Ta.Bian.Baan.


Furthermore, this booklet contains the Thai nationals who dwell in the building. However, this is not a lawful document of tenure but a mere evidence of residency. Ta.Bian.Baan for Thai nationals and foreigners are separate from each other thus making it two (2) types of Ta.Bian.Baan – the blue book and the yellow book. In addition, the value of the yellow book is limited.