How to Buy Property in Thailand 

 

Land measurement in Thailand 

Chiang Mai legal and business explain as follow; Metric units are generally used in the construction and measurement of buildings, but land is usually measured in Wah or Rai. 

The units you will come across most often are talang wah and rai. Talang means squared, so 1 talang mett is 1 sqm. Metric units are used when dealing with buildings. 

 

Thai to Metric 

1 Wah = 2 m 

1 Talang Wah = 4 sqm 

1 Rai = 1600 sqm 

1 Rai = 400 Talang Wah 

1 Rai = 0.40 Acre (approx.) 

1 Rai = 0.16 Hectare 

1 Ngan = 100 Talang Wah 

 

Metric to Thai 

1 m = 0.5 Wah 

1 sqm = 0.25 Talang Wah 

1 Acre = 2.53 Rai 

1 Hectare = 6.25 Rai 

 

Purchasing Land 

Are foreigners allowed to own land? 

Chiang Mai legal and business explain as follow; According to Thai law, foreigners are prohibited from purchasing freehold land and not more than 49% of the shares in a Thai limited company that owns freehold land under the company's name. However, foreigners may own a building distinct from its land, such as a unit in a condominium. 

How can foreigners own land in Thailand? 

Chiang Mai legal and business explain as follow; The safest and easiest methods for circumventing the law prohibiting foreigners to own land include using a leasehold agreement or setting up a Thai limited liability company. 

What are the advantages of setting up a Thai company to buy land? 

Unlike land leasing, the ownership of such land is permanent as long as the company exists. Using this method is also convenient if you were already planning to set up a business in Thailand. This method is also suitable if you wish to purchase land as part of an investment as it is possible to mortgage or subdivide the land for resale, which is not normally possible with a leasehold. 

What are the disadvantages of setting up a Thai company to buy land? 

Unless you are an American, as a foreigner you cannot own more than 49% of the shares in the company. This means that you need Thai shareholders who will sign over control of their shares to you. The minimum number of shareholders is 7, so you can have 1 foreigner and 6 Thai shareholders. However, even though you control these shares, proper legal procedures need to be put in place in order to protect your investment. 

You also need to make sure that the regulatory compliance of the company is maintained. Inactive companies that are not generating income may be de-listed, so you need to make sure that balance sheets are filed annually and that the company's address is maintained. 

  

Land Leases 

Do you have to register the land lease at the Land Department? 

Chiang Mai legal and business explain as follow; Leases up to 3 years don't need to be registered. Leases that are 3 years or longer must be registered at the Land Department. 

What is the maximum lease term available? 

Chiang Mai legal and business explain as follow; The maximum lease term is normally 30 years with an option for an extension of 30 years and a further 30 years after that. Each lease renewal must be registered at the local land office. Land for industrial purposes may be leased for up to 50 years by a foreign company under certain circumstances with a possible lease extension of a further 50 years. 

What are the disadvantages of leasing a property? 

It’s possible that the land owner may refuse to sign the registration for the lease extension after 30-years. The lessee can sue for breach of contract, but the entailed legal process is costly and time-consuming. Other disadvantages include the difficulty in obtaining a mortgage for the lease, a lower resale value and potential lawsuits from the land owner for lease violations. 

  

Purchasing Condominiums 

How is a condominium defined under Thai law? 

Chiang Mai legal and business explain as follow; A condominium is basically defined as a building with distinct portions that can be sold for personal ownership. 

What are the requirements for a foreign individual or organization to purchase a condominium in Thailand? 

A foreigner must have permanent residence in Thailand in accordance with Thai Immigration Law. 

A foreign legal entity is in accordance with the Announcement of the Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 (1999) and has been granted an Investment Promotion Certificate in accordance with the Investment Promotion Law. 

A foreigner or foreign legal entity, who brings foreign currency into Thailand, or brings in Baht currency from the account of a person living abroad, and uses foreign currency from their deposit account. This requirement is normally met by the presentation of a Dor Tor 3 form, which is provided by the bank receiving an incoming remittance from abroad. 

Are there restrictions to owning a condominium? 

A foreigner or foreign legal entity can acquire up to 49% of the total number of units in a building. However, more than 49% of the ownership may be allowed in certain condominiums in Bangkok and other urban areas. 

Are condominium long-term leases available? 

Condominiums can be leased for periods of up to 30 years, which can be renewed. Leases of more than three years are required to be registered with the Land Department. 

 

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