Thailand Land Owning Laws

In the beginning, i.e. the Sukhothai era, most of the land in Thailand was in the possession of the people, who reserved the right to individually use said land and to transfer it to their heirs. Later, in the Ayutthaya and Ratanakosin era, the land was owned by the kings.

The people had to request a royal grant in order to obtain land. At present, the possession of land has to be in accordance with the principle land administration laws. There is the supervising Land Department and some land is still controlled by other governmental authorities, such as the Forestry Department, which is responsible for the management of land in forest zones, [Sor Por Gor] is responsible for land in reformed land zones, District Offices and Municipalities [Or Bor Tor] look after public land zones.

All land under the control of these government departments have no effect as to the rights of people who owned land before the government appointed the land as a forest, public or reformed zone. The law has no retrospective effect on the individual’s rights to land under the law before it became a forest zone. That individual person still maintains its rights to the land.

There are two types of rights to private land:
The first is the right of possession (Possessory right), i.e. people who possess and use the benefit of land will have the right to possess such land under the Civil and Commercial Code. The second is ownership by a person who has a title deed and documents concerning the land.

[Sor Kor 1]
is a notification form of possessed land. There is a certificate to show the right to the land. This maintains existing rights. Notification of [Sor Kor 1]; on December 1st 1954, the government advised all land proprietors to notify such possession to the government as per form [Sor Kor 1]. After it was proven that such a proprietor had possessed the land legally and used the benefit of the land, then the government would issue [Nor Sor 3] or [Nor Sor 3 Gor] as evidence.

[Nor Sor 3] and [Nor Sor 3 Gor]
are legal certificates provided that any name shown on the title is a person who has the right to the land (according to the principle law). This right will be recognized by the law and can be used as evidence in any dispute with an ordinary person or the government.

[Por Bor Tor 6]
Is evidenced by the issuance of a tax number for the purpose of paying tax for using the benefit of the land. Such land has not yet been assessed as to the person’s right to possess such land. In the event that there is no title for the land, then it may be land in a conserved forest, public land or land which existed under [Sor Kor 1], [Nor Sor 3], [Nor Sor 3 Gor] or a title deed.
Any of these titles must have a [Por Bor Tor 6] as tax must be paid, the same as any land without a title. Purchase of such land is possible by handing over the possession of the land to the buyer along with the tax number. The right to land under [Por Bor Tor 6] can not be used as evidence in any dispute with authorities.

[Sor Por Gor 4-01]
is an allotment of land from the land reformative committee, and under no circumstances may this land be bought or sold. It may be transferred to heirs only.

[Nor Sor 3]
is an instrument certifying the use of land issued by the government to the proprietor of land not a possessory title, i.e. it is confirmed by law that a person holding [Nor Sor 3] has the legal right to possess the land.
This land title can be used as a legal document or to use the benefit of the land as an owner. [Nor Sor 3] is a floating map with no parcel points. It is issued for a specific plot of land and is not connected to other land plots. This causes problems in verifying the land area. Any legal acts must be publicized for 30 days.

[Nor Sor 3 Gor]
is a legal land title with the same legal basis as [Nor Sor 3]. The difference being that [Nor Sor 3 Gor] has parcel points on the map, and is set by using an aerial survey to set the points and the land area. It is possible to verify a nearby land area. It always uses the same scale of 1:5000. There is no need to publicize any legal acts, and it is possible to partition (divide) the land into smaller plots.

[Land Title Deed]
is a certificate for ownership of land. A person having their name shown on the deed has the legal right to the land, and can use it as evidence to confirm the right to government authorities. The title deed has been issued by using GPS to set the area and boundaries of the land, which is a very accurate method. Any legal acts may be done immediately, as per the right of ownership. Land partition of more than 9 plots must be carried out according to the Land Allotment Law, Section 286.

[Condominiums]
May be used as drafted.

[Buildings on Land]
Foreigners have the right to ownership of buildings only, where land is not included. Legal acts are unlimited. A suggestion for foreigners is to lease the land for 30 years with an option to an extension of the lease, then purchase ownership of the house built on the land.
Certainty of possession of land and house is assured, by being the owner of the house. The ownership of the land shall be leased out. If arranged as stated above, then the house will be separate from the land, and will not be a component part under the Civil Law. Ownership of buildings can be confirmed, and the lessor cannot seize the house upon expiration the lease.