A number of readers have asked us to explain the mechanism for a foreigner to register title to a house in Thailand in his or her name.
Remember, a foreigner may register title to a house in Thailand. Because of the Thai land laws, a foreigner normally can't put the land on which the house sits in his or her name.
The foreigner can have title to the house put in his or her name and a 30-year land lease to the foreigner is later registered on the title deed to the land.
As we explained last week, if the house is in the name of the foreigner, the foreigner has the right and obligation to move or destroy it before the end of the lease. Since it's unlikely that the plot of land under the house is worth much without the house, it's likely that the landlord or the landlord's heirs will renew the lease, because the landlord will at least receive the rent for the new 30-year term. Of course, if the landlord forces the tenant to destroy the house, it is unlikely that the landlord will receive any payment at all.
But what's the procedure to put the house in the foreigner's name? Well, the basic way to do this is called the 30 day notice under Ministerial Regulation No7 (AD 1954) issued under the Land Code of the same year. Under this regulation, when the building's purchase will be conducted without the transfer of ownership of the land on which the building is constructed, the buyer and seller have to post notices at:
- The district office;
- the village chief's house, if there is one in the area;
- the location of the land; and
- the municipality office.
The notices must be posted more than 30 days before the transfer. The idea is that this gives notice to any other interested person who may have a claim on the house.
If there is some objection from the public, a land officer may attempt to get the parties to agree through compromise. If the parties can't reach an agreement, they can file a lawsuit.
If there is no objection to the 30-day notice, the land office will record the registration of the house along with the contract of sale of the house. Though there is no title deed for this, these recorded documents are official proof of ownership.
There's another way that title to a house may be placed in a foreigner's name. If the buyer is a foreigner and the house is not yet built, the building permit can be put in the foreigner's name. Then the application for the blue book is put in the foreigner's name, too.
Having a blue book, by the way, means only that the address is registered with the local authorities and is not evidence of ownership by anybody.
But we'll talk about this in a later column.
If both the building permit and the application for the blue book (tor ror 900) are in the foreigner's name, some land offices accept this as ownership of title to the house. To get the documentation from the land office that the title to the house is in the name of the foreigner, the 30 day notice mentioned above must also be given.
With either of the above registration procedures, after the registration of the house, the registration of the lease on the land takes place separately and is recorded on the title deed to the land.
James Finch of Chavalit Finch and Partners (email@example.com) and
Nilobon Tangprasit of Siam City Law Offices Ltd (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Researchers: Arnon Rungthanakarn and Sitra Horsinchai.
For more information visit www.chavalitfinchlaw.com.
Questions? Contact us at the email addresses above.
About the author
Writer: James Finch & Nilobon Tangprasit