Frequently Asked Questions
We have detailed below the most commonly asked questions (and our answers) that we receive from our clients. If you cannot find an answer to your particular question, please feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I Own a Condominium in Thailand?
Buying a condominium is perhaps the simplest and easiest option available to foreigners. Purchases of condominiums by foreign individuals come under the jurisdiction of the Condominium Act B.E. 2535 (1992).
Condominiums can be owned by foreigners in their own names provided that the total number of foreign held units does not exceed 49% of the total number of units in the condominium block.
The funds to purchase the condominium, should be remitted from abroad in foreign currency to a bank in Thailand, (in the name that is to be registered on the title deed), with the remark 'to purchase a condominium in Thailand’, and the relevant form (Tor Tor Sam) can then be obtained from that bank.
The owner of each condominium is issued with a certificate of unit ownership. The certificate also has a statement saying exactly what percentage of rights over the common areas of the building each owner has.
Can I Own Land and House in Thailand?
Ownership of land is governed by the Land Code BE 2497 (1954), the Civil and Commercial Code, Land Reform for Agriculture Act BE 2518 (1975) and the regulations set forth by the Ministry of the Interior.
Although you are able to own a house or structure in your own name, Thai law currently prohibits foreigners from owning the land the building is erected on.
However there are a number of ways in which you can structure the purchase to own and invest in land:
Invest in a Thai private limited company. This involves the incorporation of a private limited company of which the foreigner holds 49% of the shares. The remaining 51% of the shares is held by Thai Nationals. This is by far the most common method of ownership.
30 year lease with options, acquire the leasehold interest in land in the name of the foreigner. This can be done via a registered 30 year lease (residential) to the foreigner in the foreigner’s own name with pre-paid options to contractually renew for a further two periods of 30 years each. The foreigner may also be given the option to purchase the land should the law in respect of foreigner’s land ownership rights change. Under Thai law, the foreigner can own the structure (for example a house) erected on the land. In order to be enforceable, any lease for a period of longer than three years must be registered, which involves payment of a registration fee and stamp duty based on a percentage of the rental fee for the whole lease term. The original registered lease remains in force and effect even if the property is sold.
Become a Thai resident or citizen.
Be the principal investor in a new export orientated Board of Investment (BOI) approved company [the current maximum size limit of freehold ownership rights is one Rai of land (1600 Sqm.)]
Make an approved investment of over 40 Million Baht that shall remain for a stipulated number of years.
In practice, the method most commonly used by foreigners is to invest in a Thai private limited company which owns or intends to acquire freehold land. The Articles of Association can be varied to allow greater protection for foreign minority shareholders where majority Thai ownership is required under the Alien Business Law.
Thai law requires that 51% of the shares be held by Thai juristic persons, however, any company with more than 40% foreign interest that purchases land may be investigated by the Central Land Office in Bangkok (under Section 74 of the Land Code) to ensure that the company has not been organized in an attempt to circumvent the prohibition against foreign ownership of land. This results in the foreign ownership of the company being limited at 39%, but with the recommended changes to the Articles of Association, the foreigner can be the only director of the company, and the only officer of the company who can commit or bind the company in any contractual dealings - effectively giving the minority shareholder control over the company. The company is required to submit an annual balance sheet once per year, and there will be a tax obligation, however the costs are minimal and your lawyer will have an accounting department able to assist you with the above.
What is a Tor Tor Sam (3)?
A Tor Tor Sam (3) is an official bank document issued by the receiving bank upon the receipt of foreign currency into your bank account in Thailand.
You must request a Tor Tor Sam from your bank when you are remitting funds to Thailand for the purpose of purchasing a condominium, and the Tor Tor Sam must specify that the remittance is solely for the purpose of purchasing a property in Thailand.
Do they have Title Deeds in Thailand?
Yes it is called Chanote, "Nor Sor 4 Jot" and is the only document which can be described as a land title deed, because it alone confirms ownership of land. The land is accurately surveyed and its area and boundaries are set using GPS. There is no need to publicize any legal acts, and it is possible to partition (divide) the land into smaller plots.
For areas which are not surveyed, there are other documents for land possession such as evidence of the possession of the right to utilize the land or other interests in the land.
These documents are called "Nor Sor Sam (3) and Nor Sor Sam (3) Kor". Unlike the Title Deeds, these Nor Sor documents are issued to show the possessors' exploitation of the land. Though these documents do not provide ownership rights, as do Title Deeds, they can still be registered for transfer of the lands for which they are issued.
My Wife is a Thai National, Can She Own Land?
Prior to 1998, any Thai woman who married a foreigner would lose her right to purchase land in Thailand. She could, however, still retain land that she owned prior to marrying the foreigner. However, the recent (1999) Ministerial regulation now allows Thai national's married to foreigners the right to purchase land, but the Thai spouse must prove that the money used in the purchase of freehold land is legally solely theirs with no foreign claim to it. This is usually achieved by the foreign spouse signing a declaration stating that the funds used for the purchase of property belonged to the Thai spouse prior to the marriage and is beyond his claim.
What Taxes and Costs are Applicable to Purchasing Property in Thailand?
Whenever a property in Thailand is bought and sold, there are four taxes that need to be taken into account.
- Land registration (transfer fee) of 2.0% of assessed value of the land.
- Stamp Duty/Fee of 0.5% of the assessed value or the sale price - whichever is higher.
- Specific Business Tax of 3.3% of the assessed value or the sale price - whichever is higher - this will be applied to all sales by companies and to any private sales that occur within 5 years of the date of purchase.
- Income Tax - this is calculated on a very complex formula based on the assessed value of the property, the length of time owned and the applicable personal income tax rate. In practice, this will work out to under 2% of the price for low to medium value properties, and up to 3% for higher value properties.
The local system of taxing property is based on an arbitrary assessed value as determined by the local Land Department, rather than true market value price. There are no set rules as to who pays for which taxes, and it is just another part of the bargaining process for purchasing property in Thailand.
What are Service Charges / Community Fees / Home Owners Fees?
Service charges here in Thailand are extremely low. These charges are to maintain the common areas of the building, i.e. lifts, pools and corridors. A small % can deducted for the sinking fund that covers any major external repairs; therefore there are no hidden costs once you have purchased your condo.
Can a foreigner get a mortgage in Thailand?
Foreigners generally cannot obtain a mortgage for properties in Thailand, however, most of the financial institutions in Thailand provide loans for real estate purchasing to Thais and Thai companies.
In most cases, when buying property from a real estate developer, the developer accepts stage payments over the period of construction.
Sometimes a real estate developer can arrange for his customers to have a financing package from a financial institution. In most real estate development projects, a down payment can be made in installments from 10 to 24 months, sometimes longer.
After the down payment has been paid, the sale contract will be made and the balance amount is paid through the loan which is financed from a financial institution. The financial institution requires you to mortgage the property with it as collateral against the loan.
Are There Property Taxes in Thailand?
There are no property taxes as such in Thailand that are exactly equivalent to the property taxes in the west, however, the most comparable taxes on properties in Thailand are the Land Tax and the Structures Usage Tax. The Land Tax levied on land is so small, that in practice the body charged to collect it, rarely bothers to do so, and if they do, they usually wait several years until the amount accumulates. The second tax, the Structures Usage Tax, relates to buildings, is collected by the municipal office or district office, and is only applied to properties used for commercial purpose.
What are the Units of land measurement in Thailand?
Land is measured in Rai – Ngan – Talang Wah (Tw2)
1 Rai = 1600 square meters (1 Rai = 4 ngan or 400 Tw2)
1 Ngan = 400 square meters (1 ngan = 100 Tw2)
1 Talang Wah = 4 square meters