What are the main types of land titles?
The land title deed is a
Sor 4 Jor). The Nor Sor 3 Gor and
Nor Sor 3, are equivalent to a land
title deed for all practical purposes as the land can be sold, leased or
mortgaged. However, the boundaries are less accurately surveyed compared to
land with a Chanote. There are a number
of other land titles though these do not afford the owner many rights to the
land under Thai law.
True land title deeds are officially called
Nor Sor 4
Jor or more commonly
Chanote. This is a certificate for the
ownership of land and can be used as evidence confirming the right to
government authorities. It is issued by the Land Office using GPS to
accurately plot and survey the boundaries of the land. This is the most
secure type of land title but land with a
chanote can often be hard to find.
Nor Sor 3
The Nor Sor
3 is a document certifying the use of land issued and maintained by the
District Land Office to the proprietor of the land
but is not a possessory title.
That is to say the person holding the Nor
Sor 3 has the legal right to possess the land in question and can use
it as a legal document. Nor Sor 3 is a
floating map with no parcel points issued for a specific plot of land and
not connected to other land plots, but its boundaries are recorded
according to its neighboring plots. Therefore, it may cause some problems
in verifying boundaries due to lack of accurate surveys. Any change in
ownership of the land must be publicized for 30 days before it can be
Nor Sor 3 Gor
The Nor Sor
3 Gor has the same legal basis as the
Nor Sor 3, with the difference being
that in general Nor Sor 3
Gor has parcel points on the map of
the land area set by using an aerial survey with a scale of 1:5000. It is
a more accurately surveyed title as each plot is crossed referenced to a
master survey of the land area and a corresponding aerial photograph.
Therefore, it is possible to verify the boundaries of the land. However,
it is still less accurately surveyed compared to a
Sor Kor 1
1 is a notification form of possessed land, which shows and maintains the
existing rights to the particular land. On December 1st 1954, the
government advised all land proprietors to notify their possession of land
to the government using a 'Sor Kor 1' form. After it was proven that such
a proprietor had possessed and used the benefit of the land legally, the
government would then issue 'Nor Sor 3' or 'Nor Sor 3 Gor' as an evidence,
which are legal certificates stating the owner's name that they have the
right to such land according to the principle land administration law.
This right will be protected by the law and can be used as evidence in any
dispute with a private individual or the government.
A condominium title is a title to a part of
a building or buildings with multiple owners, a fractional interest in the
land, other common assets (such as a swimming pool) and common parts of
the building (such as the stairwell or lobby). The title will state the
floor area of the private apartment, the ground area of the common land
and the percentage interest, in which that apartment has in the common
property. This percentage also represents the voting interest in the
condominium company or owners association.
Buildings other than condominiums do not
have any form of title document, but their sale or long lease can be
registered at the District Land Office. Proof of ownership must be
established either from proof of construction or a document showing sale
and purchase. Do not confuse this with the House License document, which
is only a registration of the house occupants. Transfer of a building, as
distinct from its land, requires the posting of 30 days public notice, to
see if anyone wishes to contest the ownership. Foreigners may own a
building distinct from its land and register such transfer of ownership
into their names at the Local District Office or
Land measurement in Thailand
Metric units are generally used in the
construction and measurement of buildings, but land is usually measured in
The units you will come across most often are
talang wah and
Talang means squared, so 1 talang mett
is 1 sqm. Metric units are used when dealing with buildings.
Thai to Metric
Metric to Thai
1 m = 0.5 Wah
1 sqm = 0.25 Talang Wah
1 Acre = 2.53 Rai
1 Hectare = 6.25 Rai
Are foreigners allowed to own land?
According to Thai law, foreigners are
prohibited from purchasing freehold land and not more than 49% of the shares
in a Thai limited company that owns freehold land under the company's name.
However, foreigners may own a building distinct from its land, such as a
unit in a condominium.
How can foreigners own land in Thailand?
The safest and easiest methods for
circumventing the law prohibiting foreigners to own land include using a
leasehold agreement or setting up a Thai limited liability company.
What are the advantages of setting up a Thai company
to buy land?
Unlike land leasing, the ownership of such
land is permanent as long as the company exists. Using this method is also
convenient if you were already planning to set up a business in Thailand.
This method is also suitable if you wish to purchase land as part of an
investment as it is possible to mortgage or subdivide the land for resale,
which is not normally possible with a leasehold.
What are the disadvantages of setting up a Thai
company to buy land?
Unless you are an American, as a foreigner
you cannot own more than 49% of the shares in the company. This means that
you need Thai shareholders who will sign over control of their shares to
you. The minimum number of shareholders is 7, so you can have 1 foreigner
and 6 Thai shareholders. However, even though you control these shares,
proper legal procedures need to be put in place in order to protect your
You also need to make sure that the regulatory compliance of the company is
maintained. Inactive companies that are not generating income may be
de-listed, so you need to make sure that balance sheets are filed annually
and that the company's address is maintained.
Do you have to register the land lease at the Land
Leases up to 3 years don't need to be
registered. Leases that are 3 years or longer must be registered at the Land
What is the maximum lease term available?
The maximum lease term is normally 30 years
with an option for an extension of 30 years and a further 30 years after
that. Each lease renewal must be registered at the local land office. Land
for industrial purposes may be leased for up to 50 years by a foreign
company under certain circumstances with a possible lease extension of a
further 50 years.
What are the disadvantages of leasing a property?
Its possible that the land owner may refuse
to sign the registration for the lease extension after 30-years. The lessee
can sue for breach of contract, but the entailed legal process is costly and
time-consuming. Other disadvantages include the difficulty in obtaining a
mortgage for the lease, a lower resale value and potential lawsuits from the
land owner for lease violations.
How is a condominium defined under Thai law?
A condominium is basically defined as a
building with distinct portions that can be sold for personal ownership.
What are the requirements for a foreign
individual or organization to purchase a condominium in Thailand?
A foreigner must have permanent residence in Thailand in accordance with
Thai Immigration Law.
A foreign legal entity is in accordance with the Announcement of the
Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 (1999) and has been granted an Investment
Promotion Certificate in accordance with the Investment Promotion Law.
A foreigner or foreign legal entity, who brings foreign currency into
Thailand, or brings in Baht currency from the account of a person living
abroad, and uses foreign currency from their deposit account. This
requirement is normally met by the presentation of a
Dor Tor 3 form, which is provided by
the bank receiving an incoming remittance from abroad.
Are there restrictions to owning a condominium?
A foreigner or foreign legal entity can
acquire up to 49% of the total number of units in a building. However, more
than 49% of the ownership may be allowed in certain condominiums in Bangkok
and other urban areas.
Are condominium long-term leases available?
Condominiums can be leased for periods of up
to 30 years, which can be renewed. Leases of more than three years are
required to be registered with the Land Department.