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    How difficult is the property purchase process in Thailand?

    How difficult is the property purchase process in Thailand?

    Foreigners cannot buy land in Thailand, only condominium units and apartments. Foreigners cannot make up more than 40% of the condominium’s unit-owners. However, a foreigner can buy a whole building, minus the land on which it is built.

    In recent years, minor changes in Thai law have allowed nonresidents to explore the Thai real estate market. A foreigner can have a 30-year renewable lease, under which the buyer registers at the Land Office an option to renew the lease contract indefinitely, for further 30-year periods.

    There are serious drawbacks, however. Lease renewals cannot be registered, and are not effective against a purchaser of the property. And the lessee cannot (without the lessor’s consent) sublease, sell or transfer his or her interest.

    Another option is to set up a private limited company with mixed Thai and foreign ownership, the foreign ownership being 49% or less. Companies are allowed to own land. The foreign national can control the company by using a legal power of attorney from the Thai shareholders, handing control to the foreign directors, or through assigning greater voting rights to the foreigner partner/s. This is an effective and time-tested route, most commonly taken by foreigners. The help of a lawyer is very important.

    Foreigners can also invest at least THB40 million (US$1,142,857) in a Board of Investment approved project. They will then be allowed to purchase up to 1 Rai (1,600 square meters) of land.

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