Foreigners can purchase property in Thailand, but cannot own any freehold land. The easiest way to own real estate in Thailand is to buy a condominium. Under the Thailand Condominium Act, a foreigner is allowed to own up to 49% of the total unit space of a condominium building.
Purchase property in Thailand
Another way for a foreigner to own property in Thailand is by leasing land in their name for 30 years, which is the maximum tenure with the Land Department of Thailand. A 30 year lease can be renewed but the renewal would not be enforceable by law if the party of the land owner refuses. It is highly advised to seek legal assistance from a prominent Thai lawyer to assist you with drafting the contract carefully.
Also, a Thailand Limited Company can purchase land legally in Thailand. Foreigners can own up to 49% of the company’s shares, and the rest should be Thai-owned. The land can be owned by the company but the majority shareholder can take control of the company. This would be considered as a legal method in purchasing real estate, provided that the legal requirements are met by the lawyer handling the situation. If a certain company is incorporated with a foreign investor as the Director, together with at least two Thai shareholders, all transactions concerning land purchase by the company will be supposed as legitimate.
Thai Property Real Estate law permits foreigners to buy and own land up to 1 rai, with an investment of 40 million Thai Baht, and that the land is used for residential purpose. This investment should be declared in assets or government bonds for the benefit of Thai economy. This ownership is limited to the lifespan of the foreigner and ownership cannot be transferred by inheritance.
Foreigners can also purchase land in Thailand if he is married to a Thai citizen. However, there are certain limitations in this case; the non-Thai spouse is required to state that he has no right over the land, and has no right to claim the property. The property purchased by the foreigner cannot be placed under his name, but in the name of the Thai spouse. Married couples would be asked to sign declarations at the Land Department saying that the funds being used to purchase the property are from a separate property of the Thai spouse. To refrain from having problems when having a divorce, it is highly advised to draft a prenuptial agreement to minimize the risks.