There are about 10 forms of land ownership title in Thailand. For each of them, the Land Department issues its own type of document. Each type can be upgraded to the next level, which allows for increased land use rights.
The lowest-level title can be obtained by a Thai citizen simply by building a temporary dwelling on the land, for example, a bamboo hut, and notifying the authorities about it. If the land is vacant, not owned by someone, is not national park territory, is not used by the government and there are no claims from third parties, the authorities allow the citizen to reside on this land. In a few years, the owner can apply for an official address. With the receipt of the address and the documentation of its certification, the owner also receives the right to transfer the land by inheritance, but no more.
A simple title that allows Thai citizens to sell and rent out land is known as Nor Sor (3) Sam. This right of ownership title is granted on the basis of long-term ownership. This certificate is issued for plots with boundaries that are not officially defined and are not registered at the Land Department. When selling this type of land, you must make a public notice period of 30 days before the planned date of the transaction. During the 30-day period, disputes may arise with the owners of neighboring plots, since there is no land documentation. On a plot that has the title Nor Sor (3) Sam, with the permission of the authorities, it is possible to build a certain type of building.
Nor Sor Sam Gor is the second-most secure title deed after Chanote. This is a type of document certifying the ownership of land. A piece of land with this title can be sold and leased, handed down and divided into smaller parcels. The boundaries of this section are clearly defined by aerial survey, and there is no need for public notification of the intention to make a deal. This title also gives the owner the right to raise the document level to Chanote, as soon as the area where the plot is located will enter the Chanote zone. In fact, this type of document is a transitional formality between Nor Sor (3) Sam and Chanote.
The main title that confirms the ownership of land is called a Chanote. The boundaries of the plot with a Chanote are clearly marked with GPS and are registered in the national cadastral system. The territory is marked by an authorized representative using special pillars (pegs); each of them has a specific government number. This type of document gives 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 transferal through inheritance or donation, sale, or lease. According to the law, land can be leased to foreigners or sold to a Thai company that has a majority of shareholders with Thai nationality.
The size of land plots is indicated by the following the Thai measurements:
1 Wah = 4 square meters
1 Ngan = 100 Wah = 400 square meters
1 Rai = 4 Ngan = 400 Wah = 1,600 square meters