Home and Land Ownership in Thailand
Foreigners are restricted at the moment from owning land in Thailand in their own name, here are several effective ways in which you are able to register ownership of land while still complying legally within the Thai law.
Thai Limited Company
The most popular structure to purchase land for foreign investors is through a Thai Limited Liability Company. In Thailand, a Limited Company which is a Thai Juristic Entity can own land and property. The foreigner can own a limit of 49% of the company shares. With this company you can legally be the only signee director of the company who can control the company in any contractual dealings. This successfully allows the foreign buyer to have complete and secure control over the company and all its assets.
30 Year Lease Option
Another form of buying land for foreigners is through a 30 year Leasehold Agreement. These are commonly written up as 30 year leases with an amendment written into the contract for two further 30 year renewals for a lease term of a total of 90 years.
The lease contract can also include clauses that will bind the owner of the land to automatically allow freehold ownership if Thai law changes to allow foreign ownership. Also the right to sell, sublet, or transfer the lease agreement. This will enable you through a leasehold contract purchase to have full control over the land but not the ownership for the lease term.
Marrying Thai Spouse
A recent revision of Thai law has provided the opportunity for a Thai with a foreign spouse to buy land or property in Thailand. Prior to registering the land parcel at the Land Department, the couple may be asked to sign declarations, declaring that the funds for the property came solely from the Thai spouse. This may, in effect, result in the non-Thai spouse waiving his/her rights on the land or property. Such declarations may become problematic in a divorce case as the non-Thai spouse may have difficulties proving that the land was marital property. To prepare for such an event, a skillfully-drafted prenuptial agreement may be useful.
A Thai company or the Thai spouse of a foreigner may grant a Right of Superficies in favor of the foreigner, giving him/her the right to personally own all constructions on the land. A foreigner can be registered as the owner of a house in Thailand without owning the land. The Right of Superficies can be conceded for 30 years and can be renewed for another 30 years if agreed.
A foreigner who invests 40 million Baht or more over 5 years can buy up to one rai of Thai land for residential use. This requires approval from the Board of Investment (BOI).