Buying A Condominium In Thailand Legal Start

A condominium is an apartment building in Thailand is a multi unit building registered under the Thailand Condominium Act in which each unit is owned separately by the people living in it, but also containing shared common areas. Condos in Thailand are regulated in the Condominium Acts and registered with the Thailand Land Department. Each condominium unit has a condominium unit title deed. This document states the owner of the unit, the exact size, voting right in the condominium juristic person’s meeting and if there are any third party rights registered against the unit such as a lease or mortgage. The unit title deed is an important document officially administrated at the local land office where the condominium is located.

Foreigners are under the Thailand condominium act allowed to own condominium apartment units (condos) freehold in Thailand. There is however one restriction which aims to limit foreign freehold ownership of condos in Thailand; not more than 49% of the total floor area of all units in a condominium building combined can be foreign owned. In case of 100 equal units 49 can be foreign owned, the other 51 must be owned by Thai nationals.

The units in a condominium project exceeding the 49% foreign freehold ownership quota may be sold under a registered leasehold to foreigners. There is no restriction for foreigners renting or leasing real estate in Thailand. The contract for hire, lease or rental exceeding 3 years must be registered in the foreigner’s name on the condo unit title deed.

The main requirement under the Condominium Act for the purchase of a freehold condo by a foreigner (non resident) in Thailand is that the full purchase price for the condominium unit (which may not be less that the appraised value) for the condo unit must have been remitted into Thailand in foreign currency (see current exchange rates Bank of Thailand). The handling bank in Thailand must transfer the amount of foreign currency into Thai baht and will issue a Foreign Exchange Transaction form for amount exceeding 20,000 USD or for lesser amounts a credit note and confirmation letter of the transferred amounts on request. Without proof of remittance of the full purchase price into Thailand in foreign currency the land department cannot register ownership in the foreigner’s name.

Thai Condo Ownership And Inheritance By Foreigners

The Thailand Condominium Act divides foreign heirs of condos in qualified and unqualified for ownership of the inherited condominium unit. Unless the foreign heir or legatee is qualified for ownership under section 19 of the Condominium Act; any foreigner who acquires a condominium unit by inheritance in Thailand must dispose of the unit within one year of acquisition of the unit (section 19 septum Condominium Act). The fact of heirship, either under will or as a statutory heir, does not qualify the foreigner for registering of ownership at the Land Department. Under the Condominium Act the successors and assigns of a diseased foreign condominium owner must meet the same criteria as any other foreign purchaser (i.e. a foreigner must qualify under section 19 of the Condominium Act for ownership).
The following foreign natural or juristic persons are qualified to register ownership under section 19 of the Condominium Act:

(1) Aliens permitted to have residence in the Kingdom under the Immigration law;
(2) Aliens permitted to enter into the Kingdom under the investment promotion law;
(3) Juristic persons as provided in Section 97 and 98 of the Land Code and registered as juristic persons under Thai law;
(4) Juristic persons which are aliens under the Announcement of the National Executive Council No.281 dated November 24, B.E. 2515 and have obtained promotion certificate under investment promotion law;
(5) Aliens or juristic persons regarded by law as aliens who have brought in foreign currency into the Kingdom or withdraw money from Thai baht account of the person who have residence outside the Kingdom or withdraw money from a foreign currency account.

Only the above foreigners are eligible to register freehold ownership of a condominium unit in Thailand, as long as it remains within the 49% foreign ownership quota as specified in section 19 bis of the Condominium Act B.E.2522.
Generally foreign heirs are not eligible under section 19 of the Condominium Act and are required by law to dispose of the unit within 1 year of acquisition. It is not unusual for foreign heirs obtaining ownership of a condominium by inheritance to encounter problems having to deal with transferring ownership of the condominium at the Thailand Land Department or even selling the unit in time. Foreigners owning a condominium could prevent problems by planning succession of their unit in a Thai last will, and foreign heirs of a condo unit should obtain legal advice and assistance to have their rights and duties under the Thailand Condominium Act explained in an early stage of obtaining ownership of the unit by legal professionals familiar with condominium conveyancing procedures