Smiling happy people, astounding beaches, culinary delights to get your tastes buds watering at every corner. You have just visited Thailand for the first time and now you have returned home, you want to do everything you can to make Thailand your home. So when you turn on your laptop and search for buying property in Thailand you are suddenly terrified by the amount of information, scaremongering stories and experiences of others. Suddenly your dream feels far from a reality, however, a reality it can be.
Can Foreigners own Land in Thailand?
In short no. The laws in Thailand are clear and specific. However, being Thailand, there are work arounds that people have used frequently over the last 20 years and beyond.
Leasehold property ownership allows both Thais and Foreigners to own the lease outright for the term. With super-luxury brands such as Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok by Chao Phraya river and The Residences at Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok by the Crown Property Bureau, The One Bangkok and brand new Aman Nai Lert Residences Bangkok both foreign and Thai investors have opportunities to own the most luxurious of branded residences in Bangkok. Leasehold property ownership for both foreign and Thai nationals has a maximum term of 30 years. The term length varies between developments. Most of developers provided renewal options. 30 years is the maximum length of time from a legal perspective, but that does not mean you will have to give up your dream home after just a few decades. In many situations, the owner will state that the contract will be reviewed at the end of the 30 years with the intention to renew the contract, which can legally be done twice. If you really want to purchase a beach-side villa to live in for your entire lifetime, you can easily do this with a total of 90 years on your leasehold. If you don’t want to live in the home, this is also plenty of time to rent the property out and turn it into profit.
High-End Hotel Residences such as The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, the Ritz Carlton at Mahanakorn and The Sukhothai Residences offer freehold property ownership. The current law stipulates that all condominiums and developments must be at least fifty one percent owned by Thai nationals. Foreigners can however own the condominium as long as the condominium follows the foreign quota. There is debate in Parliament currently whether that number should be increased to eighty percent. This debate is still in the early stages and no change is expected any time soon.
Currently land in Thailand may only be owned by Thai nationals. There are ways of owning land indirectly but according to the law the land is still owned by a Thai national. A method of owning land is setting up a Thai Limited Company allows foreigners to own the company and the company may own land. This method whilst used successfully means that the foreigner owns forty nine percent of the business while Thai nominee directors own the other fifty one percent of the company. Secondly the house on the land is then leased by the foreigner to hold the property for the specified period of time.
With the pandemic still active there are many rumors being shared. In order to stimulate the economy, the beginning of May 2021, Thai Government is keen to find new initiatives to run. Between the eighty percent rumor there is also rumors of an updated land act. Last updated in 1999, the law was updated so that foreigners married to a Thai national could own land. The updated law is searching to see if foreigners could outright own land with certain parameters set such as the size of the land. There are also whispers that foreign ownership of land maybe allowed during the Covid period only and for certain plots only. If this occurs, it will be the first time in Thailand’s history of allowing foreign ownership. At NPP Consultants, we continue watching closely to bring you the latest information possible. If any confirmation occurs, we will provide the full explanation of the changes to the law here.