*It is important to note that as of writing Foreigner Ownership laws in Thailand are under review, with changes possibly to be made in 2022, with the aim of stimulating the property market and economy post pandemic. Please contact the team if you would like the latest update on these changes.
A foreigner can have control over the title to residential properties in Thailand through three options: a purchase of a condominium unit, a voting procedure through a Thai company that owns the property, or through a leasehold.
Most importantly, the type of property one decides to purchase, the relationship between the buyer and the local community, as well as the title options on offer will determine the options of property ownership available for a foreigner.
Foreign ownership of condominium properties:
Up to 49% of the total area of all condominium properties in a condominium project can be owned by foreigners. This makes the law in regards to foreign ownership of condominium properties quite straightforward. Essentially, foreigners can have full ownership of condominium properties with the same rights to the title that Thai owners may have.
The only exception being that, foreigners with residential status or working in Thailand, wishing to own a condominium property, must transfer their foreign currency into Thailand in an amount equal to or more than that of the property’s purchase price. A proof of this transfer, known as a “foreign exchange transaction form” must be provided to the Land Department at the time when the ownership of the condominium is registered.
While foreigners who hold Thai Baht or have a foreign currency bank account in Thailand may directly withdraw money from their bank account in order to complete their payment for the condominium properties. Likewise, foreigners with permanent resident status in Thailand also do not need to transfer funds internationally. In this case, proof of the transaction can be provided by the bank as a withdrawal slip and bank certificate confirming that the funds were withdrawn to buy a condominium property. Similarly, these documents are needed to be shown at the Land Department.
Foreign ownership of land:
Foreign land ownership in Thailand is administered by the Land Code Act. The law stipulates that only Thai nationals are permitted to own land or have a full right of possession of the land. However, under a special treaty or exemption, foreigners are allowed to have land ownership in Thailand (section 86), but in practice this is rarely approved.
Momentarily, as long as the foreigner brings in more than 40 million Thai Baht (1.3 million US Dollars) to invest in particular businesses in Thailand, foreigners can own up to one rai (1,600 sqm.) of land for residential use.
In some cases, with the Board of Investment promotion privileges, foreign land ownership exemptions are granted to foreigners.
In the case of a company with non-Thai shareholders, the company can own land, as well as landed property, with a requirement that not more than 49% of the shares in the company are owned by foreigners and the majority of the shareholders must be Thai citizens or companies.