Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: For those of you who read my article on obtaining Thai citizenship and aren’t going down that road, I promised to come back and write about the other ways of "buying" property in Thailand (click here for article).

The fact is you can go right ahead and pay for land here, but the law is clear that the land office will not be registering the title in a foreigner’s name. I am often asked by people in Phuket about how to secure the land under the property they wish to own, and in my normal line of work , I get to sit down with many people from various walks of life and hear what they have in fact done themselves.

Obviously purchasing a freehold condo is the most straightforward, although if your heirs are not Thai citizens they will have trouble inheriting it from you. Most of you, I would assume, are more interested in buying a house in paradise, and this is where things get much more tricky. Knowing what not to do is almost as important as knowing what to do in this case.

Many people simply find a Thai person they think they can trust and register the property in their name. Others set up shell companies to hold the title at the land office, and some actually form companies that in reality do some sort of business. Some people get a thirty year lease with the promise of multiple extensions. No one way is fool-proof, as I will explain below.

It should go without saying that if you trust putting the title into someone else’s name, you have no legal recourse should they decide to rip you off. I have recently heard about an expat likely losing his property because he put it into someone’s name and they borrowed against it to develop a property that didn’t exactly turn out as expected. Even your wife or mother in law, or maybe I should say especially your mother in law, may do unexpected things that could see your property taken away from you.

The government has continuously threatened to crack down on the practice of nominee shareholders and companies which are only set up to skirt property laws. It seems to me that the majority of people I have come across throughout the country use this method and the government has never made good on its promise to root them all out. It would still worry me personally that someday there may be a reckoning.

To me it seems that if you can actually have a "real" business here this is ideal and would be a legally acceptable means of owning a property, but of course then you have the risk that business goes bad.

The major problem with the lease method to me is that legally you have rented the property for thirty years. The land office will only register that bit of the contract, the rest of it is technically illegal and if the original seller decides not to give you the next thirty years, it is hard to know if that would stand up in court.

Also, if you die, the lease dies with you, and if the seller dies it is likely their heir could try to claim the property back after thirty years despite a contract for two additional thirty year extensions.

Since none of the methods are fool-proof on their own, I think a prudent thing to do is to mix them up. I would never get a 30-year lease from the seller, you could instead put the title into the name of a Thai person you think you can trust and then lease it from them.

Alternatively, you could start a company and then lease it back, giving you a second layer of protection securing your usage rights should something go wrong with the company.

Some use an offshore company to hold the Thai company so that they can pass shares on to their loved ones to avoid a taxable event in Thailand or any other scrutiny at death. Of course it may be overboard and a little expensive, but at least you can secure the right to use the property even if you can never technically own it.

This article first appeared in the current issue (July 13-19) of the hard-copy Phuket Gazette newspaper, now on sale at newsstands throughout the island. Digital subscribers may download the full issue, this week and every week, by clicking here.

Keep checking our online
Phuket Property pages for local and national property updates, and 'Like' us on our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter.

– David Mayes

1

Okay, from your last article you said you were getting Thai citizenship? So you are giving up your UK (or wherever you are from) citizenship? That just sounds so stupid to me just to buy a peice [sic] of property.

Posted by Dave July 17, 2013 03:30:01PM

Reply

0    0

2

Okay, from your last article you said you were getting Thai citizenship? So you are giving up your UK (or wherever you are from) citizenship? That just sounds so stupid to me just to buy a peice [sic] of property.

Posted by Dave

I guess Mr Dave (not David Mayes) thinks the UK has a better long term future than Thailand, and that investments in that country will appreciate at a better rate than here in Asia. LOL

Posted by Investor July 17, 2013 05:35:45PM

Reply

0    0

3

Okay, from your last article you said you were getting Thai citizenship? So you are giving up your UK (or wherever you are from) citizenship? That just sounds so stupid to me just to buy a peice [sic] of property.

Posted by Dave

I guess Mr Dave (not David Mayes) thinks the UK has a better long term future than Thailand, and that investments in that country will appreciate at a better rate than here in Asia. LOL

Posted by Investor

Perhaps he's from Blimey (Brixton? Liverpool? Stoke-On-Trent? Hull?) and prefers the LIFESTYLE over there :))

Posted by Amazed July 17, 2013 05:53:54PM

Reply

0    0

4

We'll u guys that is not what I said , I said why would u want to give up your citizenship to uk tor to were ever to buy a peice of land here . This article is about just buy land to build a house. because if it was about doing a delevopment u would not need Thai citizenship. And no I live here in Thailand for 6 years and no not from uk [This comment has been seen but not edited by the Phuket Gazette.]

Posted by Dave July 17, 2013 06:00:02PM

Reply

0    0

5

Why would you buy something that you will never own? Laws in Thailand are extremely Xenophobic to wards [sic] foreigners, I can name plenty of other places where you will be welcomed with open arms and not subjected to racist rhetoric. Better to keep you [sic] hard earney [sic] money in the bank preferably outside of Thailand where it's a lot safer.

Posted by reader July 17, 2013 07:11:24PM

Reply

0    0

6

Unless you're buying a cheap piece of land in Issarn that you can afford to lose, surely it's better to rent here and buy in a country you can own the property in and rent that out instead. It's not rocket science. You will be secure and when you want to leave you can.

Posted by Tony July 18, 2013 04:53:57AM

Reply

0    0

7

Why is there so much importance placed on owning property in Thailand? Is it ego driven? Just to be able to say, “I own it”? IMO, owning property is like being married to someone you don’t like. It’s a ball and chain. When your situation changes and you want to leave and cash out you’re stuck with an albatross around your neck. All your money is tied up and you may not be able to sell for years; one may even be forced to take a loss to liquidate. For me, it’s best to rent; no attachment. There are a plethora of homes available in various price ranges all over the island. Buying doesn’t make sense to me.

Posted by Get Realtor July 18, 2013 07:22:17AM

Reply

0    0

8

Unless you're buying a cheap piece of land in Issarn that you can afford to lose, surely it's better to rent here and buy in a country you can own the property in and rent that out instead. It's not rocket science. You will be secure and when you want to leave you can.

Posted by Tony

Yes, rental prices in Thailand seem to be phenomenally low now, by world standards. And property values would appear to have fallen back to something close to pre-year-2000 levels – influenced by the world slump of course, but also, in Thailand's particular case, corruption and a lack of trust in government and 'fair playing field'.

Posted by Paul Morgan July 18, 2013 10:37:16AM

Reply

0    0

9

Why is there so much importance placed on owning property in Thailand? Is it ego driven? Just to be able to say, “I own it”? IMO, owning property is like being married to someone you don’t like. It’s a ball and chain. When your situation changes and you want to leave and cash out you’re stuck with an albatross around your neck. All your money is tied up and you may not be able to sell for years; one may even be forced to take a loss to liquidate. For me, it’s best to rent; no attachment. There are a plethora of homes available in various price ranges all over the island. Buying doesn’t make sense to me.

Posted by Get Realtor

"Buying doesn't make any sense to me"? At ANY price?

Posted by Mantis July 18, 2013 10:40:08AM

Reply

0    0

9

Why is there so much importance placed on owning property in Thailand? Is it ego driven? Just to be able to say, “I own it”? IMO, owning property is like being married to someone you don’t like. It’s a ball and chain. When your situation changes and you want to leave and cash out you’re stuck with an albatross around your neck. All your money is tied up and you may not be able to sell for years; one may even be forced to take a loss to liquidate. For me, it’s best to rent; no attachment. There are a plethora of homes available in various price ranges all over the island. Buying doesn’t make sense to me.

Posted by Get Realtor

"Buying doesn't make any sense to me"? At ANY price?

Posted by Mantis July 18, 2013 10:40:08AM

Reply

0    0

8

Unless you're buying a cheap piece of land in Issarn that you can afford to lose, surely it's better to rent here and buy in a country you can own the property in and rent that out instead. It's not rocket science. You will be secure and when you want to leave you can.

Posted by Tony

Yes, rental prices in Thailand seem to be phenomenally low now, by world standards. And property values would appear to have fallen back to something close to pre-year-2000 levels – influenced by the world slump of course, but also, in Thailand's particular case, corruption and a lack of trust in government and 'fair playing field'.

Posted by Paul Morgan July 18, 2013 10:37:16AM

Reply

0    0

7

Why is there so much importance placed on owning property in Thailand? Is it ego driven? Just to be able to say, “I own it”? IMO, owning property is like being married to someone you don’t like. It’s a ball and chain. When your situation changes and you want to leave and cash out you’re stuck with an albatross around your neck. All your money is tied up and you may not be able to sell for years; one may even be forced to take a loss to liquidate. For me, it’s best to rent; no attachment. There are a plethora of homes available in various price ranges all over the island. Buying doesn’t make sense to me.

Posted by Get Realtor July 18, 2013 07:22:17AM

Reply

0    0

6

Unless you're buying a cheap piece of land in Issarn that you can afford to lose, surely it's better to rent here and buy in a country you can own the property in and rent that out instead. It's not rocket science. You will be secure and when you want to leave you can.

Posted by Tony July 18, 2013 04:53:57AM

Reply

0    0

5

Why would you buy something that you will never own? Laws in Thailand are extremely Xenophobic to wards [sic] foreigners, I can name plenty of other places where you will be welcomed with open arms and not subjected to racist rhetoric. Better to keep you [sic] hard earney [sic] money in the bank preferably outside of Thailand where it's a lot safer.

Posted by reader July 17, 2013 07:11:24PM

Reply

0    0

4

We'll u guys that is not what I said , I said why would u want to give up your citizenship to uk tor to were ever to buy a peice of land here . This article is about just buy land to build a house. because if it was about doing a delevopment u would not need Thai citizenship. And no I live here in Thailand for 6 years and no not from uk [This comment has been seen but not edited by the Phuket Gazette.]

Posted by Dave July 17, 2013 06:00:02PM

Reply

0    0

3

Okay, from your last article you said you were getting Thai citizenship? So you are giving up your UK (or wherever you are from) citizenship? That just sounds so stupid to me just to buy a peice [sic] of property.

Posted by Dave

I guess Mr Dave (not David Mayes) thinks the UK has a better long term future than Thailand, and that investments in that country will appreciate at a better rate than here in Asia. LOL

Posted by Investor

Perhaps he's from Blimey (Brixton? Liverpool? Stoke-On-Trent? Hull?) and prefers the LIFESTYLE over there :))

Posted by Amazed July 17, 2013 05:53:54PM

Reply

0    0

2

Okay, from your last article you said you were getting Thai citizenship? So you are giving up your UK (or wherever you are from) citizenship? That just sounds so stupid to me just to buy a peice [sic] of property.

Posted by Dave

I guess Mr Dave (not David Mayes) thinks the UK has a better long term future than Thailand, and that investments in that country will appreciate at a better rate than here in Asia. LOL

Posted by Investor July 17, 2013 05:35:45PM

Reply

0    0

1

Okay, from your last article you said you were getting Thai citizenship? So you are giving up your UK (or wherever you are from) citizenship? That just sounds so stupid to me just to buy a peice [sic] of property.

Posted by Dave July 17, 2013 03:30:01PM

Reply

0    0

Right push panel.

Close
© 2017 The Phuket Gazette Co Ltd | Desktop Version