Condominium vs. apartment building.

Not all apartment buildings in Thailand were created equal. On the one hand, there are condominiums licensed and registered under the Thailand Condominium Act and on the other, there are holiday “leasehold” apartments. While they may often times look indistinguishable from one another, there are a numerous major differences, especially on the legal side.

One of the biggest differences between the two structures lies in ownership. Condominiums registered and licensed with the Land Department offer outright ownership over the individual units, whereas apartment buildings don’t. Moreover, condominium units must comply with the legal structure as laid down in the Condominium Act which is built around individual unit ownership, joint ownership of the common areas and joint management of the building by all the unit owners. Business developers of an apartment building don’t have to follow such regulations and can sell possession (not ownership) of the units under own terms and conditions. As a result, a potential buyer of an accommodation unit should be extra careful when choosing a property, for they might be in for a surprise if they ended up “leasing” an apartment building unit instead of owning a condominium.

Condominium building governnance

The Condominium Act over aching condominium building and its units issues individual title deeds, the owners of which may then sell and dispose of as they wish. The common areas of the building (lounges, swimming pools and even the land) are co-owned by all unit holders. They also have the responsibility to govern the management and control of the building. Because this type of development is registered under the Condominium Act, it offers the owners minimum consumer protection. Owner occupied properties are, moreover, not subject to housing and land tax and the unit ownership is absolute and exclusive.

Leasehold residential apartments

Unlike condominium units, units in this type of property are merely let under a lease contract and lessees hold no ownership nor co-ownership of the common areas (unless specified otherwise). Owners of the building are responsible for its management and control and all tenants have to comply with their rules. Another drawback is the fact that leased properties are subject to a housing and land tax. Lastly, possession under a lease is for a fixed and limited term with a maximum of 30 years, and is terminated upon death.

The above information should help those seeking to buy a condominium avoid making a mistake and buying a pig in the poke. Should you ever find yourself in this situation, contact us and we can help.

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