For anyone looking to invest in properties in Phuket, it’s important to understand everything there is to know about land titles and deeds in Thailand. For some people, foreigners and locals alike, the different types and levels of land ownership can get confusing. Take note that Thai land laws are based on the Thai Civil and Commercial Code and The Condominium Act of Thailand.
It was only in 1872 when a land administration system was established. King Chulalongkorn wanted to introduce a process for private ownership of land. In Thailand, all land that is not owned by private individuals are considered state-owned.
To start, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the local system of measurement. Land areas are usually measured in rai (1,600 m²). Prices are usually quoted in baht per rai. Other terms worth noting are ngan (400 m²) and talang wah (4 m²). If you’re used to measuring in acres, 2.53 rai is the equivalent of 1 acre.
Land Title Documents
There 6 are types of land title documents issued by the Thailand Land Department or DOL:
Nor Sor Si Jor (N.S.4.J or Chanote)
Having the Chanote or Nor. Sor. 4 Jor or NS4J is what you might think of as the purest form of land ownership. If the land is in an urban or developed area, having this land title deed certificate can ensure easy transfers. This is a land title deed that truly certifies private ownership of land in Phuket and the rest of Thailand.
Land with a Chanote is usually accurately surveyed and plotted according to a national survey grid as well as marked by a unique identifier, which is a marker post set in the ground.
There are two original sets of Chanote, one is at the District Land Office (where people go to register land) while the other original copy is given to the owner of the land. If you want to buy or lease land in Phuket, the Chanote is the preferred document to have on hand.
Nor Sor Saam (N.S.3)
The N.S.3 is a document that states a private individual’s right to possess a certain plot of land. However, the land borders are yet to be confirmed with neighbouring plots. There are no official markers such as parcel points and numbered concrete posts that are usually seen nailed into the ground to mark territories.
Any name shown on this title simply refers to the person who has the right to the land and has the legal right to possess the land and use the benefit of the land as an owner. This should not be confused with actual ownership. Any land sold with just the N.S.3 is subject to a 30-day public notice period.
Nor Sor Saam Gor (N.S.3.G)
Nor Sor Saam Gor (N.S.3.G) is a land title deed that’s been registered and issued by the Land Department. This shows who has the right to possess the land and reap any benefits of owning the land as a private individual. Having this doesn’t ensure full ownership. The name on this land title deed only shows who has the right to a particular land, not who actually owns it. This title deed can help with any land disputes with the government or another private individual.
Think of the N.S.3.G as a better version of the N.S.3 in that it includes the boundaries of the land and surveyed accurately in relation to land areas that border on the land in question.
Nor Sor Saam Khor (N.S.3.K)
The N.S.3.K is similar to the N.S.3.G but without the parcel points set by an aerial survey. Any land sold with the N.S.3.K and not the Chanote are subject to a 30-day public notice period. A person with the Nor Sor Saam Khor can send a petition to the Land Department in order to change it to a full Chanote title deed. If there is no opposition, the government can grant this request. Any land with the N.S.3.K can be sold, transferred, leased, or mortgaged.
Nor Sor Song (N.S.2)
Simply put, the Nor. Sor. Song (N.S.2) is just a consent letter issued by the Land Department to the holder of the document. This consent letter can be used to occupy and use a parcel of land for a temporary period of time. Landholders with this document cannot sell or transfer except through inheritance. Although this document can be upgraded to an N.S or N.S.3 Gor or even a Chanote, the land in question still cannot be sold or transferred.
Sor Kor Nung (S.K.1)
The S.K.1 is simply a notification form for possession of land. This means that there are no real rights nor ownership with this document. The document holder can occupy and utilise the land and this is generally given for farming purposes. Holders of this document can legally transfer their right to utilise the land through inheritance. Those who have this document cannot sell, lease, mortgage or own the land.
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