If you are foreigner who is planning to purchase land in Thailand, you must understand that normally, you are not allowed to own land under Thai law. The term used here is “normally” because there is an avenue wherein a foreigner can own up to 1600 square meters (10 Rai) of land in specific residential areas and you have to satisfy the Board of Investment criteria that you will invest at least 40 million Baht and be approved by the Ministry of Interior. Yet, this option is like passing through an eye of a needle and the land, if successfully acquired, is not transferable by inheritance, therefore, it is not viable nor practical for you. Even then, foreigners should know about title documents in Thailand can be divided into four (4) categories. You can determine what type of title document you are looking at through the color of the Garuda, a mythical bird creature, which is used as the national symbol of Thailand and being printed on Thailand title deeds. Note that before you buy property in Thailand to always consult a lawyer. Always ensure that you have a due diligence report in your hand before you sign any agreement to ensure that you get what it is that you are wanting as property scams are not uncommon.
If the document has a red garuda then you are actually looking at a Chanote title deed, the freehold title deed and easily the best title document to hold.
The following are the Title Deeds, their descriptions and highlights:
- Chanote (Nor Sor 4) or Freehold Title Deed
- It is considered as the most reliable title deed in the Thai Titling System as it represents full ownership right of the piece of land. A red Garuda (official seal of the Thai government) appears on the Chanote title deed.
- It means the land has been fully surveyed, correlated to the national survey grid and satellite photographs by the Land Department. Original copies of the Chanote are kept at the Provincial Land Department.
- The Chanote contains: lists the position of the land, total area, title number and survey information and sketch that shows the land parcel’s relation to surrounding parcels.
- Under the law, squatters living inside a titled land can claim ownership if the owner of the land does not evict them within 10 years.
- It is almost as good as the Chanote title deed.
- The black Garuda appears on the Confirmed Certificate of Use.
- Land parcels represented by the Nor Sor Sam Gor have been unofficially surveyed by the Land Department but have been correlated with the master surveys and satellite photographs. Owners may petition the Land Department to officially survey the land and upgrade the title to a Chanote title deed.
- The certificate includes the total area of the parcel, location information, survey information, and a sketch property. It also has attachments of full ownership and rental records.
- Landowners who own land with a Confirmed Certificate of Use have one year to remove squatters.
- It is the least definite Thai land title.
- A green Garuda appears on the certificate.
- The owner is granted with rights of possession but such rights are yet to be officially confirmed. Transactions such as sale or mortgage of this land must be published at the Land Department for 30 days and without any opposing party before it can be registered.
- Lands with this type of certificate may have been surveyed against adjacent plots but these surveys have not been correlated with the master survey or satellite photo.
- This may have an inaccurate parcel deed.
- Includes information on parcel size, location and ownership records.
- Owners only have 1 year to remove the squatters.
- The following documents may be used to refute/disprove claims of other individuals on the lands in question but these may not be used as evidence against claims of the state. On the other hand, these claims can be transferred by inheritance and are restricted in its use as collateral for loans.
- Sor Kor 1 (SK-1) – Claim Certificate
- Only establishes a claim to the land.
- Documents such as these are normally products of the land reform initiatives.
- Farmers can obtain such certificate after occupying the land for six (6) months and publish it for 30 days at the Land Department without counterclaims from other parties. If approved, the farmer will be given the right to continue occupying the land.
- Boundaries of these lands can be as vague as you may expect. Instead of points like those you can see on sketches of surveyed properties, they only have descriptions using trees, water systems and other distinct visual/physical feature of the area as boundaries.
- However, this claim may be upgraded to Certificate of Use or even to a Chanote only that claimant can prove that the property was possessed legally and that it was utilized in a good way.
- This certificate grants a person the temporary right to occupy a piece of land.
- This certificate was issued as authorized by the 1936 Land Act with the understanding they would be upgraded to Certificates of Use in the future.
- Only certifies that the occupier of the land has paid taxes for it. It provides no valid claim of ownership but it can be used to prove possession against private parties.
- Often, the government is the actual owner of such land.
If you have any questions about the title deed system in Thailand then contact us by email, toll-free number or simply walk into any of our offices located in Thailand. With offices in all the main cities of Thailand, we are best able to assist you with your property purchase while in Thailand.