KSPP > Legal > Land ownership

In Thailand, law does not permit direct ownership of land by foreigners.

However, there are many options available to secure property:

Leasehold

Leasing of assets/land in Thailand by foreigners can be realized by following the regulations, and according to the law the maximum fixed and registered term an owner can burden his property with a right of possession is 30 years. This is the maximum term for a lease, which can be registered by law at the Land Office. This period may be renewed for an extra 30 years and sometimes an owner can end up leasing the land for a total period of 90 years. This has made land and property investment opportunities very attractive for foreigners in Thailand in recent years.

Freehold

Foreigners with a Thai spouse for example can give their funds to their spouse who can then purchase property on behalf of the foreigner. This obviously can involve risks because the property has to be registered in the spouse`s name and the foreigner may be requested to sign a form stating that they have no right or interest in the property. As a result, if at a later date the Thai spouse decides to sell the property, the foreigner will have no right to claim any benefits from the sale. In essence, the money used for the purchase of the land/asset is treated as a gift and there is no official protection set in place for the foreigner to be taken into consideration by the law.

Thai Limited Company

One option that does offer protection to the foreigner is to purchase the land through a Thai Limited Company, which can effectuate such purchase, as a juristic person. If a foreigner is the director and shareholder of a Thai Limited Company, they can, in essence, purchase land through the company, as long as the company is allowed to own and invest in land in accordance with its objectives and Articles of Association.
It must be mentioned that a foreigner can hold only 49% of the shares in a Thai Limited Company, the balance must be held by Thai shareholders. It is a common misconception however that the foreigner cannot attain control of the company.  It is possible for a foreign shareholder to be issued with Preference Shares, which give them increased voting power and allows them to control the Thai Limited Company thereby controlling the assets of the company i.e. the land.

1 Rai ownership

Foreigners may apply for acquisition of land for residential purpose not more than 1(one) Rai (approx. 1600 sqm). The foreigner is required to remit not less than 40 million Baht (approx. 800,000 EURO) into Thailand for specific investment purposes and obtain permission from the Minister of Interior. Any foreigner meeting such requirements may be granted permission to own land in an area not exceeding 1(one) Rai for residential purposes.