Over the last decade, Thailand’s real estate has witnessed an influx of inquiries from foreign buyers who work or travel to Thailand on a continuous and extended basis. While many people believe that Thai property laws aren’t foreigner-friendly, in reality, Thai property can be owned by foreigners. That being said, like every country’s law for foreigners there are a set of regulations that should be followed by the letter, to make sure that there are no hassles faced now and even in the future.
Having a clear title deed for the property you plan to buy is crucial; however, before you jump the gun and search for properties, it is vital to know what types of land title deeds exist in Thailand. More importantly, it is good to understand which title deeds can be owned by foreigners who want to stay, live and work in the country.
Table of Contents
Title Deeds Suitable for Foreigners – Chanote Title
The Chanote Title also commonly referred to as Nor Sor 4 is considered a true title deed registered to usually one person. This land deed grants complete permission to the title holder to do as he sees fit with the land, while to the exclusion of others. Condos, condotels and to an extent certain complex penthouses may have the Chanote title. This title makes it possible for buyers from foreign countries to legally own the land by transferring the title deed in their name.
Chanote Titles can not only be subdivided but also can be sold, rented, or mortgaged in any way possible that abides by Thai laws for real estate purposes. Chanote titles are in a nutshell, in-detail surveyed and GPS-plotted pieces of land, and are built into a larger complex such as a condominium complex. The GPS is more or less relevant in regard to a larger national survey grid. These pieces of land that are for sale after development are marked explicitly by unique numbered marker posts that have been set in the ground.
More often than not, Chanote titles are bought, sold and transferred in the better areas of Thailand and in cities such as Bangkok and Phuket.
Nor Sor 3 Title and Nor Sor 3 Gor Title
A Nor Sor 3 title hasn’t been measured by the Thai Land Department and by definition doesn’t have exact boundaries. A Nor Sor 3 Title is usually the first step in the progression of land titles. This means that the first type of title given to land is Nor Sor 3. The second is Nor Sor 3 Gor and this title is given to the land once it is measured successfully by the Thai Land Department.
It should be noted that Nor Sor 3 Gor titles once measured are in essence pieces of land that are awaiting the full title of Chanote. A Nor Sor 3 Gor property has exact boundaries which also implies it can be sold, transferred and even given on mortgage provided it is in the “awaiting full title deed” status.
In the final step to change a Nor Sor 3 Gor title to that of a Chanote Title, the owner of the piece of land has to submit a written application to the Thai Land Department. The application should explicitly mention that the title deed has to be changed from Nor Sor 3 Gor to Chanote Title.
The Land Department will review the application and if there are no objections as well as litigations, then the title is usually changed without any hassle. This entire process of transition from Nor Sor 3 to Chanote Title may happen before the deed is transferred to foreigners in the mean of condos or any developed land.
Checking for this is not always needed especially if you choose a good realtor like Silk Estate. However, if in doubt, always check the title deed before signing any documents.
Title Deeds with Possessory Rights
The least favoured of all the Thai land title deeds, the Possessory Rights title has never been successfully measured or substantiated by the authorities. It is only recognized through regular tax payments made by the holder of the title deed at the Administrative Office at that particular location.
Usually, any property with such a possessory right title cannot be sold, mortgaged, leased, or rented and it also has many legal complications that can arise if wrongly monetarized according to Thai laws.
Chanote titles are ideal for foreigners as these can be easily and freely transferred into the name of foreigners. Other titles especially those for lease-hold properties cannot be transferred to foreigners as lease-hold properties can explicitly be sold only to Thai nationals.
Foreigners who have a Thai spouse may be able to live in a leasehold property if it is leased to them by their spouse for 30 years or more. If in case the Thai spouse legally owns a leasehold property in her name and the foreigner doesn’t have a lease in place then the spouse is given the legal right to rent, lease, or sell the property as she sees fit without consulting her foreign spouse.
Even if a foreigner isn’t married to a Thai national, he can still choose a property that has a lease-hold deed, with a minimum term of a couple of years to a maximum term of 30 years. The person leasing the land can choose to build on it but he will only own the building and not the land that the structure is constructed on top of.
Pre-Requisites for the Chanote Title
To be eligible to register the land under the Chanote title, the developer of condo units has to ensure that the entire property is shared between Thai nationals and foreigners as per the Land and Real Estate Laws.
The law dictates that a maximum ownership share of any condo complex ownership for foreigners must not exceed 49%. The law also requires that the minimum ownership of any condo complex for Thai nationals must be lesser than 51%.
Title deeds such as Chanote land titles are typically pre-registered and are transferred to the new owner provided the title is clear of legal issues such as litigations amongst others.
Transferring title deeds between the old and the new owner or the developer and the new owner is relatively simple provided the transfer of title fees are paid. While some developers and sellers split the transfer fees by 50-50% others might need the buyer to pay a bit more. The Sale and Purchase agreement is a must for transferring titles from the old to the new owner.
Government taxes and other maintenance may be applicable for condos. As a general rule, checking this information before signing any documents is a smart move.
Remember that you have to transfer the funds from your abroad bank account to the condo seller’s account for both the token and the full amount. Also, having an escrow account in place that can pay for both government fees and maintenance expenses is a wise way to prevent missed payments.
Land Measurements In Thailand – A Guide for Thai Properties
Thailand uses the metric system of square meters which is widely used by realtors and developers in Thailand. Below is the basic terminology for land measurements in Thailand.
- An area of 1600 sq meters is also known as 1 Rai. It may also be termed as 4 Ngan.
- An area of 400 sq meters is known as 1 Ngan. It may also be termed 100 Wah.
- An area of 4 sq meters is known as 1 Wah.
- An area that is spread over 1 Acre is known as 2.5 Rai. This is an approximate calculation.
- An area that is spread over 1 Hectare is known as 6.25 Rai. This is an approximate calculation.
A Chart of Property Land Measurements In Thailand
Rai calculation can be confusing and the wrong calculation can lead to a costly mistake. That is why we put together a Thailand Rai Conversion Calculator for you to use. Feel free to use this calculator for free to convert Rai’s measurement to anything you see in the chart above.
Checking The Title Deed With the Land Department
While it may be possible to look for properties online, by using reputable sites like Silk Estate for both listed and premium unlisted properties, it is always recommended to check if the property has the right title deed before you place the initial deposit. To do this, you would need to file an application through a Thailand-based attorney so that your application can be checked, and reviewed by the Land Department and you can get the needed information before you place a token amount.
The best way to do this is to speak to your realtor about finding a legal aid who can guide you and help you get factual information about the title deed.
Visit our website and fill in your details in the contact us form. We at Silk Estate are happy to help and we pride ourselves on ensuring that our clients are always pleased with our service!
You may be interested in this post >>> Things To Keep In Mind While You By A Condo in Bangkok.
You may also be interested in this post >>> Why buying property in Bangkok is a good idea?