Owning a House in Thailand – Do You Really Own It?


After visiting the amazing Asian country Thailand, one would be so elated by its beautiful people, panoramic beaches, culinary delights and interesting culture that he would consider buying a piece of it to call his own in such a tropical paradise. The land of smiles has been attracting a good number of international investors.

Thailand’s foreign real estate market in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Hua Hin is thriving and so is the country’s tourism sector. Many foreigners have successfully invested sans any problem.

In the previous years, it was difficult for foreigners to legally buy a house, condo or any kind of property in Thailand. However, the country had relaxed its laws from 1997 onwards. Though some restrictions remain the same, it is now practically easier for foreigners to purchase a property in the country, according to Thai Visa Property.

Foreigners can own a house in Thailand, but not the land since the country’s laws prohibit them from owning a land under their own name. In owning a house, to build a structure on a land requires the foreigner to just apply for a construction permit if he has to build it in his own name.

A real estate in Thailand involves a land and a house and the owner of the land owns the things fixed to it. However, when the foreigner buys a house, the ownership of the house can be separated from the land it stands on. It must be registered to the local land office. Transfer fees and taxes are also required.

Thailand’s land office is the only government body which can administer and complete the transfer of ownership of a building or house, according to Samuiforsale. It usually takes at least 30 days from the announcement of the sale period from the first visit to the country’s land office structure document sale to be issued. The 30-day period is intended to see if anyone wants to contest the ownership over the property.


As for owning a land in Thailand, foreigners in previous years would set a joint venture with a Thai entity in the form of a Thai Limited Liability Company, where the Thai national will be the majority shareholder. They would then forge an agreement wherein the Thai entity will hand over complete power of attorney to the foreigner who will have significant security in the venture and ownership of the property.

The people involved in the joint venture are required to complete a tax return and pay a small amount of administrative fees and taxation every year. However, this kind of venture is now illegal in Thailand.

The current recommended option is a long term leasehold agreement. Foreigners who are unable to directly own a land in Thailand in most situations can take out a legal lease in their own name to secure themselves throughout the duration of the lease.

Long term leaseholds are commonly used when buying a property in contemporary residential development in Thailand. While the term varies and depends on the parties involved, an initial leasehold can be 30 years. Renewal and further leases could then be agreed but not enforceable under Thai law.