Real Estate laws in Thailand makes it difficult for a foreign national to acquire real estate property in general. However, because of its successful tourism industry that contributed to the rapid growth of its economy, a foreigner may be able to own a condominium unit in Thailand.
Foreign ownership of condominium units in Thailand is regulated by the Condominium Act of Thailand which defined condominium as a building that can be separated into units for individual ownership which include personal and common properties. Under Section 19 of the same act, the following foreign nationals are permitted to own a condominium in Thailand:
An alien who is a permitted to reside in Thailand under its immigration laws;
Immigrants, when they are permitted to enter Thailand under the BOI laws;
Registered alien juristic person of Section 97 and 98 of the Registered Land Code who will become Thai juristic person;
Alien juristic person which has been qualified under the Announcement of the Revolution Committee No 281;
Alien or Alien Juristic person who brought foreign currency in Thailand or aliens who withdraw their money from their bank accounts in Baht currency or aliens.
The same section also provides that the aforementioned foreigners can only acquire 49% of the total space of apartments of the condominium. However, ownership beyond 49% is permitted in limited circumstances. Such condominiums must be located within the Bangkok Metropolis or municipalities or other administrative local areas and subject to the provisions of the Ministerial Regulations such as: that the condominium has no less than 40 units, registered for not less than one year prior to the day the foreigner applied for the transfer of ownership of the condominium and the same is not located in a military zone.
Condominiums can also be transferred by Thai nationals to foreign nationals, provided that the former report the name of the latter or alien juristic person to the registration official. The Thai national is also required to report the percentage of ownership the alien will hold. Evidence such as documents showing that the alien possess the qualifications stated in Section 19 of the Condominium Act must be presented to the registration official.
A foreigner who acquired a condominium unit through succession or inheritance as a statutory heir, legatee or devisee must report the acquisition to the registration official within 60 days from the date he or she received the property and must sell the same within one year form such acquisition. Also, where a foreigner acquires a condominium unit that exceeds the percentage of limitation for foreign ownership of condominium units, or when his or her permission to reside in Thailand has been cancelled, or in case his or her residential right in Thailand has been revoked, or if he or she was ordered to be expelled in the country, the condominium must be disposed within one year from the date the above-mentioned causes occur.
Foreign ownership of condominium unit in Thailand is evidenced by a certificate issued to the foreigner. After issuance of the certificate, it must be registered by bringing the same certificate to the Registrar. Thailand government permits foreign ownership of condominium to encourage investment in the country.