Why is land ownership restricted to Thai nationals?

Property ownership and Leasehold

One of the things that needs to be considered when building a house in Thailand is the subject of ownership. A foreigner can own a car, a condominium or apartment… a house even. What he cannot own is the land underneath it. That has to be owned by a Thai national or a company.

This might be a very important situation for some considering a house build project in Thailand. There are ways to mitigate for this and I will expand on this below.

The situation may seem ‘unfair’ but it is necessary, and not just in Thailand. With differing economies, lifestyles, salaries and wealth between nations, if the restriction was not in place a situation could arise where another country or even a number of individuals, could come in and literally ‘buy’ Thailand. Such a situation could be disastrous for the country, with land prices rocketed out of reach of the Thai people, vast areas of the country under foreign control, animosity and conflict leading to unrest.

By limiting ownership to nationals only, all of the downside is removed, apart from, of course, the foreign purchaser not actually owning the land.

In our case the solution was simple – my wife bought the land, and I put the house on it. It was lucky she had family money to make the purchase, or else I might have been forced to help her out with that purchase, if you know what I mean…

There are ways to ‘own’ the land though. One way is to form a ‘limited company’ to hold the land. 51% of the company must owned by Thai nationals, but silent Thai partners who pass back their voting rights get round the laws of Thailand. Note: ‘’get round’’.  This is a fix to circumvent the law. Sooner or later this loophole will be closed so probably best to not rely on this way long term.

Another way is to invest. Invest a minimum 20 million Baht to be accurate, as of 2020. Do that and the investor can purchase 1 rai of land and own it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *