The most comon solution to own a property or land.
Owning a property in your own name (Freehold) implies that non-Thai Nationals (foreigners) can own an apartment in their own name. Up to a total area of 49% for apartments in a condominium complex can be owned in a foreign name – the remaining 51% of apartments are to be owned by Thai Nationals or a Thai Company and can be used by non-Thai Nationals through leasehold arrangements.
Houses (buildings) can be owned in your own name if you are not a Thai National. The land on which the house is built, must be owned by a Thai National or Thai Company, hence a non Thai National (foreigner) cannot legally own land in Thailand. However, a foreigner can marry a Thai National and then purchase land as a couple.
A common solution for land usage in Thailand is through a leasehold arrangement. A non Thai National (foreigner) can lease land in Thailand for up to 30 years and the lease is renewable. A Leasehold Contract is officially registered at a Thai Government Land Office.
Land in Thailand can be owned by a registered Thai Company. Non Thai Nationals (foreigners) are able to administer up to 49% shareholding in a Thai Company, hence can maintain the major shareholding and control of the business with minor shareholdings being divided amongst others (Thai Company Law specifies that Thai Nationals must be included as shareholders of a Thai Company) . This solution is suitable if you have an actively trading Company with operations in Thailand, but simply registering a Thai Company to just own land is an illegal activity.
Leasehold Co., Ltd.
An increasingly common solution when signing a Leasehold Contract is that you as the Lessee also have the major shareholding in the Thai Company. You have the legal right of usage of the owners land for the period of the Leasehold Contract directly through the major shareholding that you maintain in the Thai Company and can negotiate and renew future lease periods.
Please contact us for more information regarding Freehold and Leasehold arrangements of property and land in Thailand.
Further reading on Thai Property Law is available from