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Land Purchase

Buying Land in Thailand

COMMON PRACTICE - Real Estate In Thailand

Buying a house or villa in Thailand is not as straight forward as buying other real estate in such as a condominium. Firstly you would need to register a Thai company, as a foreigner may not own a house in his name. Once your Thai limited company has been registered, only then may the real estate be purchased.

Things to consider are Thailand property taxes, the different Thai title deeds and the most common Thai real estate problems. Should you be buying off plan it would be wise to read up on this. There is an extensive section on Thailand real estate with regards to buying a house or a Thai villa and we have listed it here.


Why is it dangerous to own a Thai company owning a Thai home?

FACT under Thai Company Law there is no such translation from Thai to English of the word NOMINEE. so Thai shareholders have the same rights as foreigners.

FACT a Thai company has to be made up of a minimum of three shareholders where the majority must be Thai nationals.

This means the Thai shareholders can out vote the foreign shareholder.

FACT the Thai shareholders can become Directors themselves and remove the foreigner from being a Director.

FACT Thai Directors and Shareholders can sell the property.

In such circumstances the foreigner has the right to take legal action against the company and if successful, the court would force the sale of the property by public auction, where the foreigner or the company have no control of the value of the sale.

It may be possible for the foreigner to get back their original investment money if successful in court. However if the property has risen in value the surplus would be shared out amongst the Thai shareholders.

In summary, the purchase of land for a Thai Limited company that has foreign share holders or the foreign directors of the company.

According to the provision of land code section 74, power is given to the land officer to investigate the source of the money used for purchasing the land.

If the land officer has any suspicion that the shareholders in the company are nominees for a foreigner, whether the foreigner is a director or a shareholder of the company then, further investigation will be initiated, including investigating the income of the Thai shareholders.

If it is found, by the land officer that the company purchased the land by avoiding the law through a nominee according to the land code section 94 and 96 the company will be forced to sale the land.

The criminal charges for a foreigner are as follow:

According to the land code section 111: Whoever, violated or does not act accordingly as stated in section 86 or 102, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding 20,000 THB or imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.

The criminal charges to the Thai nominee are as follow:

According to the Thai criminal code section 267: Whoever, notifying the official doing oneself’s duty to make any false entry in the public or official documents for the aims to be used as evidence, shall be imprisoned not more than 3 years or fine not exceed 6,000 THB, or both.

Thai criminal code section 137 states: Whoever, gives any false information to any official, and is likely to cause injury to any person or the public, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding 1,000 THB, or both.

The land act section 113 states: Whoever, acts for a foreigner as a nominee in order to hold the land, shall be punished with imprisonment not more than 2 years or a fine not exceed 20,000 THB, or both.

The charges to the limited company are as follow:

The land act section 112 states: If a company acquires land by violating this act or avoiding the law, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding 50,000 THB

A Thai limited company that has 49% of the shares held by a foreign company according to the land act section 74 gives the same power as the above mention paragraph. The important issues that the land officer will pay very close attention to are:

Where is the money coming from and an investigation of the financial statement of the company.

What is the main purpose of the Thai company – is it the purchaser of the land?

If the company objective is the purchase or selling of the land or leasing or it is against the company objective which is registered at DBD. (This is one of the most important issues that will be investigated)

Title Deeds in Thailand are divided into 4 categories:

1/ Freehold Title deed (Chanote or Nor Sor 4)
This type of title grants the holder of this document full rights over the land. Thus, if you plan to buy land in Thailand, this type of title deed is the best title deed to hold.

2/ Nor Sor 3 Gor
Land awaiting a full title deed is granted the document Nor Sor 3 Kor.
The land is measured by the Land Department and therefore has exact boundaries. The owner knows exactly what he owns. This type of land may be sold, transferred, or mortgaged, as land with a freehold title deed (Chanote) as long as it is ready to be submitted for a full title deed.
In order to change the title to a Chanote, the owner of the land may submit a petition to the Land Department to file a request to change it to a full title deed (Chanote). The Land Department may do so if there is no opposition to the petition.

3/ Nor Sor 3
The difference between this type of land title deed and the Nor Sor 3 Gor (2/ above) is that land with a Nor Sor 3 title has not been measured by the Land Department. The land. therefore, has no exact boundaries. However, the Nor Sor 3 title may later be switched to a Nor Sor 3 Gor, then further transformed into a freehold title deed (Chanote).

Units of area measurement
1 Rai = 4 Ngan = 400 Tarang-wa = 1600 square meters = 0.16 hectare = 1919 square yards = 0.4 acre
1 ngan = 100 tarang-wa = 400 square meters

4/ Possessory Right
This type of title deed is the least recommended.
Land with a Possessory Right has never been substantiated by the Land Department and is only recognized by tax payments at the Local Administrative Office. It is essential to bear in mind that title deeds other than one of a Chanote (1/ above), cannot have any leases registered against the land (such as, usufructs, mortgages or superficies). Although Thai Law stipulates that a foreigner may not own land in Thailand, there are alternative options to owning land..
We would be more than happy to discuss the options available to you with a meeting, a ‘phone conversation, or by email.




Thailand Property Lawyer

A good lawyer will take time to work out how to make your property purchase as easy as possible. We, M & S Law Office 20006, have looked at the way we do business from a different perspective: YOURS. That's why we believe that the level of service you will receive from us will be very high.

We, M & S Law Office 20006, try to minimize paperwork by making maximum use of modern technology. This means we have more time to tackle the legal and technical issues we have been trained to handle, and to answer outstanding enquiries. Of course, this leads to greater efficiency meaning that we can provide a competitive service.

Let us help you by calling us at (+66)2 693-2036 or send email to or send us enquiry.


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