When buying property in Thailand it is very important to perform a Title Deed Search. This search will determine if the property has any liens, if the seller has ownership rights, and the type of property documentation.
What are the Thai land title deeds, and what ownership rights do they confer?
There are broadly four types of Land Title in Thailand that are used as common evidence of land ownership, possession rights, and other interests in land.
Chanote (Title Deed)
A Chanote is a certificate for ownership of land. A person with 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.
A Chanote title deed shows the official government land survey points using the very accurate GPS survey method to set the area and boundaries of the land. It is the long term goal of the Land Department that all land in Thailand will be covered under the Chanote title system. This is the most secure type of land title and is highly recommended.
Nor Sor 3 Kor (also pronounced Nor Sor Sarm Kor) Confirmed Certificate of Use
This certifies that the person named on the corticated has the confirmed right to use the land implying that all requirements to issue the title deed have been met and that the issue of the title deed is pending. Land with a Nor Sor 3 Kor title deed may be sold, leased, used as mortgage collateral and so on. The holder of this certificate cannot leave the land unattended for more than 12 years.
The Chanote and Nor Sor 3 Kor are the only titles over which register able right of ownership or lease can exist and are as such the only ones that a prudent foreigner should consider.
Nor Sor Sam (Cerificate of Use)
Similar to the above this is a Confirmed Certificate of Use except that not all of the formalities to certify the right to use have been performed. Before a transfer can be made, a notice of intent must be posted and then 30 days public notice is necessary before any change of status over the land can be registered.
Sor Kor Nung (Certificate of Possession)
This recognizes that a person is in possession of land but the Certificate does not imply that there are any rights associated with the possession. It is not transferable, but a person in possession may transfer physical possession and the new possessor may apply for a new Certificate of Possession. Not recommended for foreigners buying property, as you will have no rights to the property even if you pay for the certificate.
You should always ask your lawyer to check the front and back of the property title deed. A faithful translation of this will show you who the current owner is; if the property has any endorsements or liens; the shape, area and orientation of the property and border to a public property (such as a road, stream or the ocean). If the lawyer’s report is negative and there are problems with the deed certificate, you should not continue with the purchase.
What is a Tor Thor Sarm (3)
When you transfer money into Thailand to buy property you should instruct the bank here to issue a Foreign Currency Exchange Transaction Certificate (or Tor. Thor. 3 as it is commonly called) to show that you are importing funds to buy a condo, or as partial capital investment, or as a partial loan to establish a company to acquire land, or land and house.
A Tor Tor Sarm (3) is an official bank document issued by the receiving bank upon the receipt of foreign currency into your bank account in Thailand. You must request a Tor Thor Sarm from your bank when you are remitting funds to Thailand for the purpose of purchasing a condominium, and the Tor Thor Sarm must specify that the remittance is to be used solely for purchasing a property under Code 5.22.
Funds for setting up a corporation to acquire/buy property will be normally split into equity (registered capital) injection and debt arrangement (shareholder’s loan). This certificate will enable you to smoothly repatriate the brought in money out of Thailand in the future.
1. The buyer is responsible for all liabilities once the title has been transferred to his/her name.
2. This is the minimum due diligence you should perform if you wish to avoid legal problems in Thailand.
3. Most people would never think of buying a house or condo, in their own country without legal advice. Some however have done this in a foreign
country like Thailand and have had problems. Understandably, as in Thailand all laws and official documents are in Thai language. What you
understand is just what you have been told. What someone tells you about Thai laws should be carefully considered.