Ownership of land in Thailand is governed by the Land Code BE 2497 (1954), the Civil and Commercial Code, Land Reform for Agriculture Act BE 2518 (1975) and the regulations set forth by the Ministry of the Interior.
Although Thai law stipulates that a foreigner may not own land in Thailand in his name, he has the right of ownership of buildings only. If a foreigner wishes to purchase land in Thailand to build a property, he has 2 options:
1. The land is purchased on a 30-year leasehold with an option to extend the lease for further 30 year periods. Possession of the land is assured by virtue of the fact that property occupies the land. The lessor cannot seize the property upon expiration of the lease, as the property is separate from the land.
In order to be enforceable, any lease for a period longer than three years must be registered at the Land Department, which involves payment of a registration fee and stamp duty based on a percentage of the rental fee for the whole lease term. The original registered lease remains in force and effect even if the property is sold. Both parties can contractually agree to renewals, but this right can’t be registered at the Land Department.
2. If a foreigner is going to operate a business in Thailand then he may purchase the freehold of the land through his Thai Limited Company. The land will be owned by the Thai Company, not by the individual.