Property ownership in Thailand is different for foreigners than it is for locals. There are many restrictions placed on foreigners that can make any attempt to own property difficult to accomplish. Here are a few facts you need to know if looking to invest in real estate here.
One of the most important issues you should be aware of is that foreigners are prohibited from owning land. This means it is nearly impossible to own land or a house in the kingdom. You may find some foreigners who own land and housing, but these are likely remnants from when Thailand permitted such investment under bilateral treaties that have long since expired.
There are also a few foreigners that may have qualified under Section 96 bis of the Land Code Act. This law permits ownership of up to 1600 square meters of land to be used for residential purposes in specific areas. This is typically made part of the deal when foreign companies invest in industrial projects that require the setting up of factories. The allowed residential property outside the factory site is to support the investment. This investment must be approved by the Thai Board of Investment (BOI) and the Ministry of Interior. If the land is for industrial purposes, the acquisition must also be approved by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand.
This land ownership is however limited. It can only last as long as the person that is granted this exemption lives. The land cannot be transferred or inherited after their passing.
Under the Thai Condominium Act, foreigners and foreign juristic persons may own a condo in duly licensed and registered buildings. If the condominium is not licensed and registered, a foreigner cannot legally own any of the units. This is the most popular and accessible form of real estate investment for foreigners in the kingdom. Foreigners are limited to no more than 49% ownership in such buildings.
Foreign condo buyers are also required to have brought in foreign currency that is equivalent to the purchase price of the property in Thai baht. Bank statements and other documentation can be used to verify this and facilitate registration of the property with the Land Department.if you
For land that is already owned by a foreigner acquired under previously existing treaties, their foreign heirs can inherit said land, but only with the permission of the Minister of Interior. For foreigners married to Thai spouses, it is also possible to inherit the land. They may not however register ownership of the land. They have just one year to sell the land after inheriting.
When it comes to inheriting a condo, the Condominium Act requires that foreign heirs should also individually qualify for ownership, just like the original owner. Otherwise, the property may not be transferrable.
Foreigners married to Thai spouses cannot own land. Any property bought can only be transferred to the Thai spouse with a joint statement of confirmation from the couple affirming this fact. It remains the Thai spouse’s personal property. This means that if the marriage is dissolved, the property is not subject to the equitable division of assets between husband and wife.