The legislation of real estate is quite strict in Thailand. In order to protect the interests of Thai citizens, the sale of land to foreigners is prohibited. However, there are several ways to register property that allow foreigners to own the property. One of them is through a leasehold (long-term lease). Leasehold is a long-term lease for a period of 30 years with the possibility of a two-fold extension, which, in total, can be up to 90 years. A leasehold gives the owner the right to sell or rent a property that is used at his own discretion.
The registration of real estate under leasehold ownership for foreign citizens is quite common in Thailand, as well as reliable and legal. The advantages of registering a property under leasehold are that it is not declared and is not taxed.
A foreign citizen can purchase apartments in any complex under leasehold. In complexes that do not have a condominium license, apartments can be purchased either by a Thai company or with the help of a good lawyer. The contract can also offer the possibility of a two-fold extension period for 30 years after the expiry of the first term. In condominiums, there are 2 quotas for the sale of apartments: A total of 49% of the available apartments have a foreign freehold quota. The remaining 51% of the apartments must belong to either Thai citizens or Thai companies, or can be sold to a foreign citizen under leasehold ownership, with an initial 30 years to begin with. The foreign buyer has the same rights and duties as the Thai owner, only slightly limited by the lease period of 30 years, after which, there is the possibility of a two-fold extension.
Land and houses have different policies. Land cannot belong to the foreigner but can be formalized under a leasehold structure, for 30 years. The lease term for both land and apartments can be extended by 30 + 30 years. At the same time, a house or a villa on a leased plot of land is registered separately under full ownership. This scheme gives additional guarantees to foreign citizens because the land and the house located on it cannot be separated from each other. To conclude such a transaction, it is necessary to comply with some legal formalities. For example, a mandatory condition for the purchase is the transfer of funds for the purchase from abroad. The contract is registered at the Land Department, which is the sole government institution that registers the transfer of property rights. After that, the new owner receives a Chanote (Land Title Deed), which has a complete description of the plot of land, its history, size, boundaries, information regarding the division of the land and registered transactions. A Chanote gives the owner the right to dispose of a piece of land at his own discretion, for example, by lease or sale.
There are also taxes and fees required, which have to be paid at the Land Department of Thailand, for the transfer of ownership.