Friday, 17 April 2009

Types of Land Title Deeds in Thailand

There are a bewildering number of different land titles in existence in Thailand. However, many of them are very weak and not well defined (sometimes surveys are up to 20% inaccurate in terms of land area). These ‘weaker’ titles are often more associated with agricultural land.

There are broadly 4 types of Land Title in Thailand:
1) Chanote – Title Deeds;
2) Nor Sor Saam Kor - Confirmed Certificate of Use;
3) Ngor Sor Saam - Certificate of Use and;
4) Sor Kor Nung - Certificate of Possession

Chanote (Title Deeds)

This is also called Nor Sor 4. It is a Freehold title that allows the owner to leave the land unattended. Title deeds are registered at the Land Department in the province in which the land is located, and there is no waiting time required to transfer title. Chanote titles are accurately surveyed, plotted in relation to a national survey grid and also marked by unique numbered marker posts set in the ground. It is the long term goal of the Land Department, that all land in Thailand will be covered under the Chanote title system.

Nor Sor Saam Kor (Confirmed Certificate of Use)

This certifies that the person named on the certificate has the confirmed right to use the land, implying that the all requirements for the issuance of a title deed have been met, and issuance of the title deed is pending. They may be sold, leased, used as mortgage collateral etc. The holder of this certificate cannot leave the land unattended for more than 12 years.

Chanote and the Nor Sor Sam Kor are the only titles over which registerable right of ownership or lease can exist, and are as such the only ones that a prudent foreigner should consider.

Nor Sor Sam (Certificate of Use)

Similar to the above Confirmed Certificate of Use except that not all of the formalities to certify the right to use the land have been performed. Before a transfer can be made, a notice of intent must be posted and then 30 days public notice is necessary before any change of status over the land can be registered.

Sor Kor Nung (Certificate of Possession)

This recognises that a person is in possession of land but the Certificate does not imply that there are any rights associated with the possession. It is not transferable, but a person in possession may transfer physical possession and the new possessor may apply for a new Certificate of Possession.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Property Law in Thailand

It is very hard to get a clear and objective overview of property law in Thailand because often the people who put out the information have a vested interest in the topic, principally estate agents/developers and law companies. So, as a consequence developers usually stress that it is illegal for a foreigner to own land in Thailand and so a 30 year lease with the option of 2 further 30 year leases is the only legal available option. For the developer this means less legal fees and less hassle getting land from a land lord. Obviously if the landlord is allowed to maintain ownership of a piece of land he or she is happier.

On the other hand, if you go and see a lawyer firm they will often push you down the route of setting up a Thai company. At least 51% of the shares of the Thai company must be owned by Thai nationals. This Thai company then purchases the land in question. The trick is that in the memorandum setting up the company the foreign share holder(s) (who only have 49% of the company) are given preferential voting rights. Which means that although the foreigner owns less than half the company (and so less than half its assets) he/she has CONTROL of the company. Added to that a good lawyer firm will usually have a list of 'safe' Thai partners who are usually relatives of the people working at the law firm. Furthermore, they sign a waiver whereby they forego their rights to the dividends or assets of the company. The obvious advantage of this method of purchasing land in Thailand is that you get a freehold as opposed to a lease. Whatever developers tell you, a freehold is more valuable than a lease. However on the downside, setting up a Thai company involves quiet a few costs. First you have to pay a lawyer for the services involved; and then you have to pay for accounting for your Thai company. Also since it is a Thai company it is expected that sooner or later the company will do some sort of business. And if there is any profit then the company is liable to pay company taxes.

When deciding which path you should take it is worth bearing in mind these points:

1) Why are you buying the land? If you just want a retirement home and you are not concerned about selling in the future then obviously a lease is preferable.

2) Who is the landlord? Never forget that NO MATTER WHAT THE DEVELOPER TELLS YOU THE LEASE RENEWAL IS NOT AUTOMATIC. In order for a landlord to regain ownership of a piece of land all he or she has to do is fail to show up at the land office to register a new lease. There is nothing you can do about this. For example if the ownership of the land passes by inheritance to the first son then that person might not feel any obligation to honour the lease renewal agreement.

3) As a foreigner, the best legal right you have is that you are allowed to own a property. So you get the odd situation where you can own personally a property but not the land it is on. Owning the property means that even if the lease is not renewed you have some legal recourse to get compensation for the loss of your property.

4) A lawyer is very useful to check what sort of title a piece of land has and if the piece of land you are intending to buy has been registered separately. Too many people just accept the word of the developer/real estate agent about this issue.

5) Don't believe the developer when they show you a contract in English and Thai and say that it is the English version that is legally binding. It is a lie. In Thai courts it is the Thai version that takes precedent.

6) A foreigner may buy a condominium unit freehold as long as less than 49% of the residential space of the entire building is owned by foreigners. This means it is possible to own an apartment in Thailand without setting up a Thai company. It also means that it is theoretically possible for a foreigner to get a mortgage. Thus condos are very popular in Pattaya and Bangkok. How developers find the 51% of Thai national owners is a bit of a mystery.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Thai Architecture

Thai Architecture

I've started a new blog spot to focus on the various aspects of architecture in Thailand.

To start off, I've posted a few pictures of architraves in Thailand. Often they are distinctive frontal adornments to Thai buildings that really set a strong 'Thai' tone to a building. Often sharp curling points are used with dragon motifs.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Property Sale Thailand

Property Sale in Thailand

The complete guide to property in Thailand

Property sale Thailand is a blog that showcases certain finished houses and off plan projects for sale in Thailand. It also provides valuable information concerning the legal aspects of non-Thai nationals owning property in Thailand, and gives up-to-date advice about how to avoid the many possible pitfalls involved in the processes of both buying property or land in Thailand; and also building your own villa in Thailand.

Property Sale Thailand is also a resource for design materials. Included are many pictures of the various aspects of villa design - both architectural and interior design. There is also a section on landscaping and garden design.

Further useful information is provided about web design and effective blogging strategies with several useful links to get you started with promoting your own villa for sale or rental.

I will add information, pictures and links to this blog regularly.

This is intended as an-opened blog and a forum for discussion about the many aspects of building villas in Thailand, buying land and real estate in Thailand and selling or renting luxury accommodation in Thailand.