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Property Law

Foreign Ownership:
Thai Law basically restricts foreigners from buying or owning land under freehold title, however there are exceptions that male it possible for foreigners to own land in the following circumstances:

  • The Board of Investment (BOI) and the Industrial Estates Authority has power to permit promoted companies to own land for the purpose of the promoted business.
  • Permission can be granted under the Petroleum Act for use in approved projects.
  • Banks and financial institutes that have become foreign owned.
  • A foreigner who invests at least 40 million Baht in authorized securities in Thailand may buy up to 1 rai (1600 sq. m.) for residential purposes only of the owner and their family.

This obviously does not cater for the majority of foreign investors. The following are legitimate ways for a foreigner to purchase a property interest in Thailand.

Leasehold Property
Foreigners can lease land and/or structures on short or long term contracts. Leases may be registered at the appropriate land office for up to 30 years and often have a renewal clause for additional periods of 30 years, however it should be noted that Thai law provides for only one such renewal. Leases for industrial or commercial purposes have a term of up to 50 years. This again is renewable for periods of 50 years. The majority of authorities agree that any such renewal clause is enforceable as against the original lessor; not, however, as against a transferee lessor. Any lease of 3 years or more must be registered on the title to the land at the appropriate land office in order for the lease to be enforceable for any term beyond 3 years.

Company Ownership of Freehold Property
A Thai Limited Company can purchase land as a juristic person. The company must be allowed to own land and invest in land in accordance with its objectives and Articles of Association. Foreigners can hold a maximum of 49% of the shares in such a Thai Limited Company, the balance must be owned by Thai actual investors. It is also vitally important that annual accounts are completed and taxes paid on time. For more information on property laws please see www.dktaxandlaw.com

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