Buying a condo, townhouse or apartment in Thailand is pretty straightforward for foreigners. In order to keep the real estate market moving, the government streamlined this process several years ago.
Buying land or a freestanding home, on the other hand, is more complicated. It’s more complicated, particularly, because it’s not legal for foreigners to own property in the Kingdom of Thailand.
There are ways to secure land in Thailand without foreigners buying property in Thailand. This article will discuss the various ways they go about doing this.
If you need further help with any kind of real estate law in Thailand, you can find verified, qualified and experienced lawyers that specialize in real estate on Asia Law Network.
Buying Land Through Your Company
It is legitimate for any active Thai-owned Limited Companies to own property. If you are a large shareholder in such a company, you may be able to own a home in the name of the company.
Since land can only be purchased by a Thai-owned company, you would have to own 49% or less than the company but if your shares are the preferred sort, you have the other shareholders sign over control to you or you hold signatory authority, this is a possibility.
However, it has been a major issue that foreigners have created Thai-owned Limited Companies for the distinct purpose of buying land in the country and not doing any kind of business through their limited company. Due to this, the regulations on this have become stricter and the Thailand Office now checks to see that any Limited Company buying land is active.
The Land Office defines an active company as one that has current accounts and books, holds shareholder meetings with minutes and audits and has a purpose registered via the Business Registration Department.
It has also been an issue that foreigners buying property in Thailand use “nominee shareholders” in their businesses. Nominee shareholders are people who have been paid to have their name on documents while actually having no involvement with the company. This is prohibited by the Foreign Business Act.
Singing a Decades-long Lease
Real estate law in Thailand states that any foreigner can lease land for 30 years and sometimes with an option to extend for another 30 or even 60. That’s a long time!
This is the easiest, most secure and straightforward way to procure your dream home or other property in Thailand.
Many people have issues with the idea that they don’t actually own the land, or home, but any lease longer than three years must be registered with the government and is very secure.
They are so secure, in fact, that if you want to move or leave the country you can actually sell the remainder of the lease to another party so you will not take a large loss on the investment.
Buying Property with your Thai Spouse
There are two ways to buy property with your Thai spouse and each one has its own benefits.
You can give the money to your Thai spouse and they can buy the land without your name appearing anywhere on the paperwork. You will also have no claim to the land if the marriage dissolves.
The foreign person in the marriage will usually need to sign a declaration stating that they understand that they have no claim to any land purchased by their Thai spouse during the course of the marriage.
The other option is that your Thai spouse owns the property and leases it to you for 30 years or more. You can build and own any home built there and you can’t be removed from the property because you hold the lease. Though your Thai spouse owns the land beneath it, he or she would have no legal recourse except waiting the 30 years or more to inherit it back into his or her possession.
If you have further questions about real estate law in Thailand or foreigners buying property in Thailand, contact one of the verified real estate lawyers in Thailand on Asia Law Network.
This article is written by Adrian Mah from Asia Law Network.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.