Buying Land in Thailand

Many expats and foreign investors are always asking about buying land in Thailand and how best to obtain land in the Kingdom. Our best advice is to speak to one of our real estate attorneys as there are many options.

The Thai government does not really allow ownership of land in Thailand. You are allowed by law to own a small piece of land  and here we are now talking about less than 1 Rai of land. This can be achieved in two ways. The first is an investment scheme and investing at least 40 million Baht in Thailand. The is just over a million US dollars which many find to costly for such a small piece of land. The other method is by inheritance. This is however again limited to 1 Rai which is very small.

The best option which people do find is to make use of a usufruct. You don’t own the land however you do have the right to work the land so to speak. A usufruct is a legal agreement which is limited by time or by death of the usufruct holder. As an example you which to buy 20 hectares of land in Thailand however this is not possible. The best option for you is to ‘lease’ the land by way of a usufruct. The agreement allows you to rent out the property, work the land (note that foreigners are not allowed to farm in Thailand) or to receive income from the property. As a holder of the usufruct you are not allowed to destroy the property or to dispose of the property. Most usufructs are for agricultural land where someone wants to invest in say a palm oil plantation or rubber plantation. The usufruct allows you to sell the ‘fruits’ of the land so even though you don’t own the land you can derive income from the land.

If you are only looking for a place to retire then a ‘right of habitation’ might be easier to obtain in a residential area. Usufructs hold a better advantage over a normal rental agreement as rentals are only allowed to run for a 30 year period. Sure you can try and daisy chain 2 agreements however once the first agreement is done and the owner does not wish to sign a new one, then it becomes a legal mess as you would then have to look at a court order which is not only a lengthy process but expensive. If you are looking at land in Thailand for more than 30 years, obtain a usufruct.

Speak to any of our real estate attorneys in Thailand with regards to land rights, usufructs and the right of habitation. Also speak to us about starting a business and leaving the land in the name of the business. With offices in all the major cities in Thailand we are best able to assist you even out in Kohn Kaen.

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