Ownership of a condominium apartment in Thailand


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Author: Robert M. Spelde

Foreigners who comply with the provisions of the Thailand Condominium Act (either natural and juristic persons) may own a unit freehold in their own name. Note that not all apartment building are registered under the Condominium Act and only in condominiums registered under the Condominium Act the apartment units offer individual freehold ownership.
Condominium Ownership Document

The main document of ownership of an apartment unit is the condominium unit title deed issued and administrated by the local land office. The front side of the document gives the details of the unit and the back of the document gives the history and if any encumbrances are registered against the unit.
Are there any third party rights such as lease, mortgages, right of redemption, etc. registered against the condo?
Condo House Book (Tabien Baan)

The unit title deed is proof of ownership and shows the percentage of ownership in the common property of the condominium and voting rights in the condo meetings. Proof of ownership document should not be confused with a 'house book' or Ta.Bian.Baan, which is the official document issued by the Local Amphur or Local Administrative Office and contains the full address and the occupants of an apartment. Also apartment buildings not registered under the Condominium Act may have a separate Thai 'house books' for each apartment.
Unregistered Apartment Buildings

Registered licensed condominiums in Thailand have a whole fixed legal system built around individual unit ownership and joint ownership in the common areas and managed of the building. Before a condominium project can be licensed under the condominium act B.E. 2522 the developer must comply with the condominium legal structure and minimum contracts standards as set by law.
Apartment buildings which are not registered under the Condominium Act are like any other buildings, they have an owner who can rent out parts of his building and create his own contract structure. There is no individual ownership, no fixed legal structure nor minimum consumer protection as is offered under the Condominium Act. The contracts need close scrutiny as buyers do not find the protection as is offered in a licensed condominium project.
Registered under the Condominium Act

Not registered under the Condominium Act

  • the land must have a full ownership title 'chanote'
  • legally recognized individual ownership title deeds
  • under the Condo Act co-ownership in the common areas, including the land
  • under the Condo Act management lies with the unit owners
  • legally set democratic voting right system by the owners on how the condo is managed
  • land can be only confirmed right of possession
  • individual leases in parts of the building
  • if any, ownership in the building and land must be created separately
  • management of the building lies with the developer or landlord
  • lessees or tenants have to comply with rules and management as set by the developer
Condominium in Thailand Condo ownership title deed

The main restrictions or requirements for ownership of an apartment unit in the foreigner's name under the Condominium Act is that only up to 49% of the total floor area in a condominium or apartment complex can be foreign owned. The remaining 51% in floor area must be owned by Thai persons. Simply, in case of 100 equal apartments in a condominium complex 49 can be foreign-owned. In addition the Condominium Act stipulates that a foreigner must qualify for ownership under section 19 of the Condominium Act.
Foreign Exchange Transaction from foreign currency to baht

Usually a foreigner qualifies for ownership under the Condominium Act by having brought foreign currency into Thailand. In this case at least an amount equal to the total purchase price must have been brought into Thailand as foreign currency. The handling bank in Thailand will issue a FET-form or Foreign Exchange Transaction form or Credit Note and bank letter of guarantee for smaller amounts. Without proof of remittance of foreign currency into Thailand the land department official cannot register the apartment unit in the foreigner's name (unless the foreigner qualifies on another ground under section 19 of the Condominium Act). The foreign purchaser must be registered as the sender or receiver (or both) of the money on the documents.

As in all property investments (especially in a foreign country where you are not always aware of the pitfalls) it is important to be careful. Hire the service of a reputable lawyer or trusted real estate agent who can advice and assist you in the purchase and who makes sure that everything is checked out and in the condo is correctly registered into your name.
Lease of condominium apartment

In case the quota for foreign freehold ownership in a condominium project is sold out the remaining units may be leased under a registered leasehold arrangement. Normal lease laws, as for land or house, apply on condominiums. There is no separate law issued regulating the lease of condominium units by foreigners as opposed to buying a condominium freehold in Thailand. Apartment units not registered under the Condominium Act can only be leased as part of the building and any long term rent (over 3 years) over such unit must be registered at the Land Department.

In case of registration of ownership in the name of a Thai national who is married to a foreigner (e.g. if ownership registration of the condominium in the foreign spouse's name is not possible) the same rules apply as for land purchase in the spouse's name


Nice info, thanks. I will surely navigate back here if I decide to move to Thailand.