Transfer of Building



A building as distinct from it's land in Thailand can be owned and transferred separate from it's land, however, Thai houses (apart from condominiums) do not have any form of title document. A house separate from its land is an immovable property under the Civil and Commercial Code. Transfer of ownership must be in writing and registered at the competent authority (i.e. the Land Department).


A Ta Bian Baan or Tabien Bahn is an administratative document which gives the address of the house and states the persons who live in it (it could state the name of the owner but not necessarily). There are 2 types of Tabian Baan: 1 The blue Ta Bian Baan (Thor.Ror.14) for Thai nationals and 2 the yellow Ta Bian Baan (Thor.Ror.13) for foreigners. Foreigners can usually only be registered as the owner of the house in a yellow book.

When a foreigner buys a property in Thailand, the land part is generally sold under a leasehold agreement (as foreigners can't own the land) and the house is sold freehold separate from the land. In this case a land lease agreement and a sale and purchase agreement for the house is drawn up specifying the terms and conditions of the sale. The lease must be registered at the land department and the official transfer process for the house must be followed (also at the Land Department).

When buying in a development 'off the plan' instead of a sale agreement a building or construction agreement could be offered (i.e. the building permit should in this case be issued in the foreigner's name). I any case, lease of land and house is the least beneficial structure for foreigners and legally the weakest structure. Ownership over the house must be obtained and preferably through a right of superficies specifying the foreigner's house ownership rights.

In many cases ownership of the house is obtained without registering a separate right of superficies and a right of superficies is not required as proof of ownership (this is the building permit in the foreigner's name, or the official sale agreement as administrated at the local land office), however, the superficies specifies and offers additional protection in the foreigner's rights towards the land

  • Rights of ownership of a building upon someone else's land relates directly to the rights to use or possess someone else's land (i.e. if you loose your rights (superficies, lease, usufruct) you loose the rights to own the building upon that land).

  • When building upon someone else's land an additional right of superficies does offer greater protection (e.g. you could lose your rights under a land lease agreement, but your rights under the right of superficies could remain enforceable).

 Process of Transferring Ownership of House

  1. The parties must present themselves at the local land office to announce the sale. This is part of the official process and separate from the private sale and purchase agreement between the parties.  If a party can't attend the land office (e.g. the foreigner is abroad) a proxy can be appointed. In this case the official land office power of attorney form (document Tor-Dor 21) is required.

  2. Documents required: Tor-Dor 21 (if applicable), building permit or previous land office sale agreement, Ta bian Baan, ID's of the parties (passport or ID-card)

  3. The land office will issue 4 copies of the notification of the sale of a structure ( public notice), to be put up at the Or Bor Tor, the District Office, the Kamnan Office and at the building itself for a 30-day announcement (to see if anyone wishes to contest ownership)

  4. After the 30 days public notice period the parties must present themselves again to sign the official land office sale agreement which effectively transfers ownership.

  • Proof of ownership of the house can be either the official land office sale agreement, as signed at the land office, or the construction permit in the owner's name.



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