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Buying a Condominium, House or Land in Bangkok or Pattaya
This article will provide foreigners living in Thailand with important information on the legal implications and processes involved in buying property.
Buying a condominium, is perhaps the simplest and easiest option available to foreigners.
According to the condominium act, a foreigner can typically acquire up to, but not exceeding 49 percent of a total space of a condominium project. In Hua Hin, typically the Thai owners are 80 percent or higher, in other areas such as Phuket and Pattaya, the foreigners generally acquire 80-90 percent of the condominium projects. However only 49 percent of the foreigners can own it as freehold, the others must lease or use a Thai company structure. Another legal requirement is that the funds used to buy the condominium have been remitted from abroad and correctly recorded as such by a Thai Bank on 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 - Code 5.22.
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.
Buying a House and Land.
Although Thai law prohibits foreigners from owning land in Thailand, there are various ways in which you can structure your affairs so that you can own land, and still comply with existing Thai laws:
• Nominee with Lease and Option to Buy - you can use a Thai Nominee to purchase the house/land and have a 30 year lease with a 30 by 30 year option from the nominee. 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. The drawbacks to a lease include the fact that the parties can contractually agree to renewals, but this right cannot be registered and is not effective against a purchaser of the property, and that the lessee cannot (without the lessor's consent) sublease, sell or transfer his or her interest.
• Nominee with Mortgage - you can use a Nominee to purchase the house/land and have a mortgage (registered with the appropriate land department office) on the property in your favour. However, in some circumstances the Thai courts have ruled that this was not a bona fide mortgage, but rather it was a mortgage contrived to circumvent the existing laws of Thailand prohibiting foreign ownership of land. It is important to note that only the owner of the land is entitled to mortgage the land; the lessee of land does not have the same privilege.
• Usufruct Interest (Sidhi-kep-kin)
• Limited Liability Company - this form of purchasing property is the most popular with foreign investors as 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 will 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.
A Title Deed is the purest form of evidence that an individual owns a piece of land. Title Deeds are given only for areas of Thailand which are surveyed. For areas which are not surveyed, there are other documents for land possession such as evidence of the possession of the right to utilise 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.
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Urbaan Real Estate agents are professional, honest, and customer focused. Using our in-depth knowledge of the Thai market and property laws, we will find you the ideal property. Further, we support you through the entire purchase/rental process.