Foreign Property Ownership | What can Foreigners Buy?
There is a general perception that Thai property law is complicated. Actually, the opposite is true: the laws relating to foreign property ownership is Thailand are quite clear. Foreigners buy and can own "freehold condominiums". Only 49% of the condominium building can be sold as "freehold condominium". Foreigners can take a 30 year lease on a property, registered at the land office.
Where things get complicated is in the methods and legal structures employed by lawyers on behalf of foreign clients to "get around" the rules on foreign ownership of land in Thailand. The most common of these is the use of Thai companies by foreigners to buy land. These methods and legal structures are legal, though they might not be in the true spirit of the law intended.
The ownership laws together with the legal structures used to circumvent them appear to provide a balance of convienence for both sides: foreigners get to buy properties in Thailand and Thailand benefits from purchase money coming into the country, increased employment in the construction industry and increased tourist revenue from visiting property owners especially in the retirement segment. These legal structures have been used in various forms for many years.