Category: Thai Law

Property in Bangkok

Foreigners interested in investing in Thailand property are limited in the type of properties they can own. Land ownership of buildings is the exclusive right of Thais although foreigners are allowed to own buildings. Thus for foreigners, investing in the construction of a building on a piece of land in Thailand is not a very wise option. The Condominium Act of B.E. 2522 (1979) however, provides some concessions to foreigners interested in investing in Thai real estate. This law grants them the privilege of owning Thailand condominiums and defines the parameters of such ownership. Foreigners may not own more than 49% of the value or area of the entire project.

Who are eligible to invest in Bangkok condominiums? There are two groups and these are:

  • Non-corporate foreigners who are permitted to reside in Thailand according to the Immigration Act and the Investment Promotion Act; as well as those who bring foreign currency into the country specifically for the purpose of investing in a condominium
  • Corporations registered with the Thai government; those promoted by the Thai Board of Investment; and those that bring foreign money into Thailand.

Thailand accepts all foreign currencies as payment for the purchase of a condominium unit.  The money must be transferred into Thailand as a foreign currency then converted into Thai Baht by a local bank in Thailand. The process of buying a condominium involves showing proof to the Department of Lands that the payment has been sent from overseas in foreign currency. The said government agency will not register the transfer of ownership to the foreign buyer without such proof.

Buyers must adhere to the following guidelines when paying for the Thailand condominium:

  1. The name on the purchase contract must be exactly the same name in the remittances “down to the letter”. If there are two buyers, two names should appear in the contract and  two separate remittances should be made by the two persons mentioned, in equal amounts.

  2. Only funds remitted in foreign currency will be accepted.
  3. The remittance advice must state the purpose for which funds are being transferred. This should be stated thus: “FOR THE PURCHASE OF BUYING A CONDOMINIUM, UNIT #___ IN_____ IN _____”. The specific name of the project, and tower or building number must be included.

  4. The amount for each of the following must be specified based on what is written in the contract: reservation, signing sale and purchase agreement, installments, and transfer amount.

  5. The two options to transfer money to the developer are:
  • transferring funds into a local bank account of the buyer in Thailand then executing a domestic transfer of same to the Developer
  • directly transferring funds to the Developer’s account

A foreigner planning on buying a place of his own in Thailand has the option of purchasing a condominium. The buying process is simple and straightforward, thanks to investor-friendly Thai statues. To make sure that all the requirements are in order and the foreign buyer is protected from possible unscrupulous business practices, it is best to enlist the services of reliable and competent lawyers who specialize in Thailand real estate and property transactions. Law Firm in Thailand is a reputable law firm with local and foreign attorneys who will provide you with the best legal service available to facilitate the real estate transaction involved in your purchase of your very own Bangkok Condominium.

US Citizens and Property

Can a US citizen own land in Thailand is a common question as one tends to think about the US Amity Agreement. According to the Chief Registrar, Phuket Provincial Land Office the answer is simple!

A US citizen may own any property in Thailand but not the land. This applies to all foreign nationals in the Kingdom. This can be a bit confusing as there is an exception as described by the Land Office in Thailand. This being that special provisions exist under the regulations Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI), which provides incentives for business-related investment in Thailand. Foreigners who invest in projects approved by the BOI are allowed to own one rai of land. This only applies to BOI companies.

With regards to condominiums, the only foreigners presently allowed to own 100% of the development itself (but not the land on which it stands) are Americans, since the signing of a Thai-US business agreement. Other nationalities may own up to 49% of a project, but no more. This however might change with Thailand having signed the WTO agreements and the status of the US Amity Agreement is in doubt. Speak to one of our attorneys with regards to ownership of land in Thailand with regards to the US Amity Agreement.

Property Law Firm

If you are buying property in Thailand then speak to us at Law Firm in Thailand for property advice. With an excellent reputation in Thailand and the expatriate community and a law office in all the major cities in Thailand we at Law Firm in Thailand can assist you today. Call us toll-free from the US or from the UK about what we can do for you. You can also walk into any of our offices in Thailand or speak to a paralegal online now.

Offices located in Thailand

Bangkok
Two Pacific Place Building, 18th Floor,
142 Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey,
Bangkok 10110
Tel: +66 2 254-8900

Phuket
123/27-28 Moo 5, Bangtao Place T. Cherngtalay, A. Thalang,
Phuket 83110, Thailand
Tel: +66 7 632-6322

Pattaya
124/80 Moo 10 Nongprue,
Banglamung, Chonburi 20150
Tel: +66 3 300-8830

Koh Samui
9/16 Moo 4, Bophut, Koh Samui,
Surat Thani, 84320
Tel: +66 2 254-8900

Chiang Mai
Curve Mall 2nd/F Room C219-C220,
215/2 Chang Klan Road,
Muang, Chiang Mai 50100
Tel: +66 5 381-8306

Property Leasehold Agreements

If you are considering leasing property in Thailand there are a few important issues to remember before signing any agreement. Speak to an attorney in Bangkok with regards to leasehold agreements. Once you find the property that you like and would be looking at leasing always speak to an attorney first as the agreements can only be valid for less than 30 years. This has to be stated in the lease agreement. You also need to ensure that the lease is registered with the Land Office if the lease is for longer than 3 years as that is the current law in Thailand.

The lease agreement will no doubt be in Thai and if you do not speak, read or write any Thai signing such an agreement is a disaster in the making. If you have not registered the lease being longer than 3 years, this can still be done. Even if the lease has already been signed and still hasn’t been registered with the Land Office, it should be registered with the Land Office and registration will apply retroactively from the date of the start of the lease.

Both the landlord and the tenant must be present at the Land Office with the necessary documentation: the land title, ID card – or passport for a foreigner – and a house registration, or if the tenant is a company, the company registration, and an annual report. Lease agreements longer than 3 years are common in Thailand especially in Issaan and Bangkok where many expats lease a house or villa for a long term stay in the Kingdom. Speak to us online about a leasehold agreement or call us on our toll-free US or UK telephone numbers.

Property Taxes in Thailand

Property taxes in Thailand is not the same as back home as they do not have CGT (Capital Gains Tax). There is a different system which is used as explained below. As there is no Capital Gains Tax in Thailand the income from the property sale is viewed as a normal income. This would be either in your name or in that of a company. If the property was in the name of your company the company would pay a specific business tax of 3.3% of the appraised or registered price, whichever is higher, withholding corporate tax of 1% of the appraised or registered price, whichever is higher, and other costs.

There are legal ways, through proper tax planning with a qualified Tax Attorney or CPA, to reduce your exposure to tax liabilities. Since you are preparing to invest “heavily” here in Thailand, we would suggest you consult with a reputable law firm. Speak to one of our tax attorneys at our Phuket office for further advice on the buying and selling of property and how this affects your tax.  Speak to us online or via our toll-free US or UK telephone numbers.

We have listed a property transfer calculator for you on our main website.

Villa or Condominium – Thai Law

What is your property classed as – a villa or a condominium and how does Thai law decide what to define your property as. The answer lays in the Thai statues for a definition. Each area much like the West has zoning laws and this one can find at your local Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor). There are no laws which state how many floors a building must have in order to be classified as a condominium however laws with regards to condominiums are ruled by the  Private, Commonly-Owned Housing Act of 2522 BE (1979), also known as the Condominium Act. A villa is a stand-alone building on a plot of land, whereas a condominium is a structure featuring both privately-owned property and common property, with the land owned jointly by the owners through a “juristic condominium person.

Buying a villa is more difficult than buying a condo. For this reason, most expats buy into a condominium block as their retirement home. Some do opt for a villa especially if they are married. On the other hand, many simply opt to rent on long term bases without the problems of property maintenance. Think about what it is that you need and how best to achieve that aim. Speak to one of our attorneys who will be able to point out the pro’s and con’s of what you have in mind.