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Foreign Ownership Law
In terms of Thai law relating to the ownership of real
estate by foreigners, it can sometimes be quite confusing. While an article
such as this cannot be a substitute for taking specific legal advice, which one
should always do before making a significant financial investment, it is
possible to give a broad outline of the way the system works.
The Thai system of property ownership is actually a well
organized, very practical one based on a system of title registration via local
Land Offices. While there are other, less secure titles available, as a
purchaser you should only ever consider buying property that has either a
Chanote, Nor Sor Sam Kor or Nor Sor Sam title. These are titles in which the
registered ownership is secure. The main practical difference between Chanote
and Nor Sor Sam Kor / Nor Sor Sam is that the boundaries of a Chanote title have
been more accurately surveyed.
When it comes to condominiums, foreigners are entitled to
own up to 49% of the floor area of a particular development. The remaining 51%
of floor area can only be owned by Thai nationals or Thai companies. Thus, so
long as there is foreign quota available within a particular condominium
development, a foreigner can purchase a unit and own it in his or her own name.
However, upon registering a transfer of ownership to a foreigner’s name, the
foreigner in question must produce an official bank receipt (a
tor tor 3)
at the Land Office to prove that the purchase money was brought into Thailand
from overseas. Moreover, the money must arrive in Thailand as foreign currency
and then be converted into Baht within the Kingdom.