All real estate transactions ultimately revolve around land, land ownership and title deeds.
In Thailand, there are a wide range of official documents that are used to show land ownership. Some of these can be used to lease or sell land and some do not allow any kind of sale or lease.
The most obvious type of document is the 'land title deed' or 'Chanote'. It shows ownership rights of the land and any registered encumbrances, such as mortgages or long-term leases.
There are a few other types of property titles in Thailand that may be worth considering. However, they are less popular and have a higher risk of legal complications.
Possessory Right Documents
The least favoured of all Thai land title deeds, a possessory right document is issued as proof of possession of a claim for land that has never been substantiated or measured by the authorities. It is usually a small parcel of land that is surrounded by larger plots and this is often sold to local farmers for farming.
This type of land title is rarely of interest to foreigners and most commonly found in rural areas of Thailand. Moreover, the amount of land that can be owned under this type of document is very limited which makes it an unattractive investment choice for foreigners.
The condominium is a special type of property in Thailand that has a special form of title which comprises of the individual unit's title, together with co-ownership of common property. In order for a condominium to be able to register its land under this particular type of land title, it must be owned by both Thai nationals and foreigners as per the law.
A typical condominium is a development of a group of private apartments and a share of ownership in the common property. The ownership share of any foreigner in a condominium development must not exceed 49% of the total registrable area.
Chanote and Nor Sor Saam Gor
The most common type of land title in Thailand is the 'Chanote' (Nor Sor 4) or 'Chanote' document which shows ownership rights of the land and any registered ownership encumbrances, such as a mortgage. It also shows the boundaries of the land plots and can be subdivided, sold, transferred, assigned, rented, or mortgaged in any manner that abides by Thai laws for real estate purposes.
In order for a land title to be registered under this type of document, it must be accurately surveyed and GPS plotted according to a national survey grid and marked by unique number marker posts that have been set in the ground. This allows a developer to construct condominium buildings onto this type of land title.
There are many types of land titles in Thailand but the most preferred is a 'Chanote' or 'Nor Sor 4" title, which allows for full ownership of the land and can be subdivided into smaller parcels, sold, leased, or mortgaged as per Thai laws.