Property Title Search
Importance of Property Title Search
Before you buy a property in Thailand, it is important to make sure you know what you are purchasing. A title search is "highly advised" before purchasing any kind of real property whether it is a piece of land or a condominium. These are the reasons a title search is a "must":
- A title search is done to determine whether the person selling you the property is the true owner of the property and free to sell it to you.
- It also will determine if there are any registered encumbrances on the property such as a loan, lien, or mortgage.
- A title search traces title to the land back to the original property holder. In Thailand, all land originally belonged to the king.
Thailand began issuing deeds to private real estate when the Department of Land was established in 1901. Over the years, numerous land reform initiatives have resulted in some confusion over who owns what. A wide variety of official documents are used to show land ownership, some of which do not allow for the sale or lease of the land.
Different Types of Claim on Land and Property
The Land Code defines title deed as a document showing ownership of the land and includes land title deed with a map, pre-emption title deed, and pre-emption certificate stamped "Already Put to Use". It also shows the registered encumbrances such as mortgages and leases.
- The Por Tor Bor 5, Bai Jong (NS-2), and Sor Kor 1 (SK-1)
Used to establish a claim to the land. Land ownership which is only evidenced by one of these documents cannot be leased or sold. But as the claim matures, the Land Department may eventually grant a real title to land-based on these claim certificates.
Por Bor Tor 5 is an evidence showing that the occupant of a plot of land has been issued a tax number and has paid tax for the use and benefit of the land. The occupant has no official rights over the land.
Nor Sor 2 is a consent letter issued by the Land Department to the holder. This document entitles the holder to occupy and use the land for a temporary period of time.
Sor Kor 1 is a land document that is a notification form of possession of the land and the holder possesses real rights to occupy and use the land. This land may be sold and transferred by inheritance. However, it is not possible to register rights such as lease, usufruct, or mortgage.
- Nor Sor Sam (NS-3), Nor Sor Sam Gor (NS-3K), and Chanote (NS-4)
A higher class of documents used for land claims that have at least been 'partially or fully documented' by the Land title office. Parcels represented by these title documents can be mortgaged, leased, and sold. The deed with the highest credibility is the Chanote.
Nor Sor 3 is a title deed which shows a person’s right to possess a specific plot of land, however, the boundaries must still be confirmed with the neighboring plots. The holder of this title has the legal right to possess and use the land. This right is recognized by law and can be used as evidence in any dispute.
Nor Sor 3 Gor has the same legal effect as the Nor Sor 3, however, the former’s boundaries are defined and accurately surveyed. This type of title allows the holder of the right to subdivide the land into smaller plots.
The Chanote is a certificate of real ownership of the land. Lands having a Chanote are accurately surveyed and marked by numbered posts. The holder of a Chanote grants full ownership and title to the land and the owner can use and dispose the land without restrictions.
- Or Chor 2 - Condominium Title
Buying a condominium is the easiest way for a foreigner to buy real property in Thailand.
Unlike land titles, the Condominium Title shows ownership of a condo unit, not a parcel of land. The land the condo development is built on has its own separate title. Condominium titles are originally issued in the name of the property developer.
The Or Chor 2, or Condominium Title, establishes condominium ownership. It lists the location and deed number of the plot of land the condominium is built on.
The title also includes a sketch of the condo unit, its dimensions, and area, and identifying information such as the unit name, number, floor, and building.
It also lists the ownership ratio of common property.
See also the types of Title Deed in Thailand.
Land Department Revokes the Title
Section 61 of the Land Code provides that in a case where there appears an inaccuracy or illegality in the issuance of the Title Deed or the Utilization Certificate, the registration of rights and juristic acts for the immovable property, or the record making of the list of registered immovable properties, the Land Department shall have the power to order the annulment or amendment thereof.
This happens when the Land Department discovers the original land which the title was based on was fraudulently or unlawfully claimed government land.
These errors may persist for decades before they are discovered and the title is revoked.
Although the errors are usually not the fault of the present landowner, the landowner does not receive compensation when their title is revoked.
The title search is very important to detect these faults before the title may be revoked.
Our Title Search Report
Once we complete your title search, our Thailand property lawyer will provide you with a full report and a copy of the title deed in English along with the original Thai. The title search report will give the specific description of the land or property that you are purchasing, specific dimensions of the land, verifying the type of title deed, and verifying the title's history for all previous and current owners.
If you have legal questions related to property title search, please feel free to contact us.