What are Thailand Villas?
Although they may be categorized as houses, villas are different in that they connote a sense of exclusivity and class. Villas are usually located in a gated complex and on a separate plot of their own; whereas houses are not.
Foreign Ownership of Immovable Property in Thailand
Under Thai law, foreigners cannot own land in Thailand. However, they are allowed to lease land under a land lease agreement registered with the Land Department and consequently build a structure or own a house on the leased land.
To expand their rights as land lessees, foreigners must acquire the correct legal ownership of the structure. The term of the land lease for foreigners invariably relates to the ownership by possession or the right given to them to use and possess the land. This could be established by obtaining either of the following from the local land office:
- A building permit, issued under the foreigner's name
- The Thai script sale agreement
Foreign ownership of the villa must also be made in writing and must be registered by the local land office. This is in accordance to the Civil Code Section 456 under the Thai Contract Law.
See Leases in Thailand for more information on property leases in Thailand.
Transfer of Ownership Process
The process of transferring the ownership of a villa to a foreigner involves the following:
- Announcement of the sale. This requires the presence of both the foreigner and the seller at the local land office.
- Issuance of notification form for the sale. This is a 30-day public notice by the local land office to see if anyone will contest ownership of the villa structure.
- Completion of the sale by the local land office.
Documents required for the transferring of ownership are as follows:
- Building permit or sale agreement
- Ta Bian Baan
- Tor-Dor 21 or power of attorney form from the local land office (if applicable)
When a Thai villa sale agreement is offered, transfer fees and taxes are charged to the foreigner in the process as described above. Factors that determine the rates for property transfer fees and taxes include the actual sale price and the government appraised value of the house.