Foreign ownership of a house in Thailand.

Even though foreigners are not allowed to own land in Thailand, the situation of possessing a house is not as hopeless as it might seem. One way of achieving a similar result is leasing land under a land lease agreement registered with the land department and own the structure built on the leased land (superficies agreement is necessary). Obtaining the correct legal ownership of the building upon the leased land greatly increases the land lessee’s rights and long-term interested in the property.

Since a structure/house separate from the land does not have an ownership deed, it is necessary to establish a proof of ownership in one of the following ways – draft land lease so that it gives lessee the building permit and the right to build and request a house number from the relevant authorities.

Transfering ownership of an existing house

Not all foreigners are interested in building a house from scratch. Instead, some prefer to purchase an existing property. If that is the case, both parties (seller and buyer) must make the transfer of ownership in writing and register it at the competent authority – the local land office. Not doing so would result in making the sale void an unlawful under Thai Contract law.

The transfer of ownership of a house in Thailand consists of (but is not limited to) the following steps:

  • The seller and the buyer of the house must present themselves at the local land office to announce the sale. If a party cannot attend the land office in person, a proxy can be appointed using the land office power of attorney form (document Tor Dor 21)
  • Required documents: Tor Dor 21 (if applicable), building permit and/or previous land office sale agreement, Tabien Baan (a Thai house book) and ID’s of the parties
  • The land office will issue four copies of a notification form for the sale of a structure to be put up at the Or Bor Tor, the District office, the Kamnan Office and at the building itself for a 30-day public announcement of the sale
  • After the 30-day public notice period, the parties must present themselves at the land office to have the sale of the structure completed by the competent authority
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