Thailand Title Deeds and Land Titles
As a buyer you need to be aware of the various title deeds and land titles in Thailand to better understand what you are being offered. Land titles are the most common evidence to prove land ownership, rights of possession and other interests in land. In Thailand, there are various types of land title and each provides a different level of security for the owner.
Remember, property title is proof of ownership; therefore the quality of the land title determines that fundamental security of your investment.
As a foreigner buying land in Thailand, you should only consider land that comes with a Chanote, Nor Sor 3 or Nor Sor 3 Gor. These titles can be sold, leased and used as mortgage collateral. They are the only titles over which can be registered for right of ownership and or lease to exist.
Checking land titles is a matter for lawyers. It is strongly advised not to buy land without full due diligence and title investigation being carried out on the land by a competent Thai law firm.
The most secure type of land title in Thailand is called Chanote. This is a true land title deed and officially called Nor Sor (4) or more commonly referred to as Chanote. This is land that has been accurately surveyed using a global positioning system (GPS) to set the area and boundaries of the land and plot them against the national land survey grid. A common sign of Chanote titled land is the existence of numbered concrete posts in the ground marking the boundaries.
A person with their name shown on a Chanote title deed has the legal right to the land and can use the deed to confirm this right to government authorities. Still a large percentage of the land in Phuket has yet to be surveyed. For this reason, Chanote titled land can often be hard to find and thus commands a premium.
Nor Sor (3) Gor
The second most secure land title is Nor Sor (3)Gor, and is also commonly marked out with marker posts against the national survey. This land title can be used to prove ownership and possession. This type of land title certifies that the person on the certificate has a confirmed right to use the land. It implies that all requirements to issue the title deed have been met and that the title deed is pending.
Nor Sor (3)
The third level of land title is called Nor Sor (3) or certificate of use. This is basically the same as Nor Sor (3) Gor (confirmed certificate of use), except not all formalities required for certifying the right to use the land have been performed. Therefore, before any change in ownership of this land a public notice of intent must be posted for 30 days before it can be sold, leased or transferred to another party.
Sor Gor (1)
Sor Gor (1) is a notification form of possessed land, which shows and maintains the existing rights to the particular land. In the 1950’s, the government advised all land proprietors to notify their possession of land to the government using a Sor Gor (1) form. After it was proven that such a proprietor had possessed and used the benefit of the land legally, the government would then issue Nor Sor (3) as evidence. This right will be protected by the law and can be used as evidence in any dispute with a private individual or the government. While Sor Gor (1) is potentially upgradeable, until then the owner does not have the right to build on this land.
A condominium comprises title to a private condominium unit, together with co-ownership of common property. Due to the fact that condominiums are a special form of property that foreigners can own, many aspects of condominiums are governed by legislation contained in The Condominium Act, which clarifies the law for property developers and provides a degree of “consumer protection” for buyers.
Only 49% of the registrable area of a condominium development can be allocated to foreign buyers but this is one of the easiest ways for foreigners to acquire direct property ownership in Thailand, and it is the most clear, straightforward and unambiguous ownership type.