Owning Your Home in Thailand

Foreigners cannot own land in Thailand except under exceptional circumstances. You can own the house on which it stands and you can remove it brick by brick if you feel so inclined but you on no account own the land. You can own a condominium (the apartment not the land) provided that there are 50% or more Thai residents in the same apartment block.

You can set up a company that owns the land and your house so long as Thais make up more than 50% of the shareholders. That is not without its problems as the Revenue department can challenge the arrangement by claiming the company was not set up to do business and make profits that could be taxed but registered only to provide the foreigner with a home.

Many expats rent or take out a lease for a certain period of time, usually 30 years. The expat becomes a lessee and not an owner, whether he funded the purchase or not. There are protections available (usufructs) that give him the right to live on the property during the term of the lease. One or other party can, at ANY time, change the lease to take away the right to stay unhindered on the land. It usually happens when a Thai/farang marriage ends in divorce and the former wife ends the usufruct unilaterally.

It makes it rather pointless, therefore, to have signed the lease in the first place. Some forms of lease, notably superficies, offer better protection. They cannot be changed by just one party.

Some lawyers may suggest a 30 plus 30 lease where you have the right to enter into another lease at the end of the first term. That has never been tested in a Thai court. The head of my amphur (local government) office said it would be illegal, that there is no reference to it in any law book. But she added that she would allow such a condition to be inserted into the document, however pointless it would be. I am sure that would not happen in the West.

Another example of avoiding open conflict between lawyer and client, just to keep the peace?

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I am a published author on Thai events and how Thais actually live under feudalism. My books are available in eBook and print format. I also publish on Substack

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MattOwensRees

MattOwensRees

I am a published author on Thai events and how Thais actually live under feudalism. My books are available in eBook and print format. I also publish on Substack

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