Thailand50 - Land Documents

To rightly own property in Thailand you will need to have the correct documents in your name (Company or Nominee name) and in your possession.

In Thailand the Title Deed is know officially as Nor Sor 4 Jor or more commonly as the "Chanote". Another ownership document is the "Confirmed Certificate of Use" known as "Ngor Sor Saam Gor" in the Thai language.

Confirmed Certificate of Use (Ngor Sor Saam Gor)

This document certifies the right to use land and is often issued pending title deed. Transfer of the certificate is mainly completed at the District Land Office or Branch District level, as the case may be. Look for a green colored crest at the head of the certificate.

The Title Deed

The Title Deed (Chanote) is the purest form of land ownership. It ensures easy transfer, one original set is kept in the District Land Office where the registration of land transfer takes place, and the other original set is given to the owner of the land. Look for the red colored crest at the head of the certificate.

Apart from Condominium ownership and erecting buildings on land not owned (both covered below), land titling can be quite complicated. There are various levels of land titling - from a simple right of possession through to a full title as we know it in the Western world.

This full land title deed is called a "Chanot" and is backed up by being recorded by the government, using GPS to record both the area and its boundaries. The Chanot paper itself is normally of a few pages and shows a surveyed plan of the land, various registration numbers, previous owners and mortgage history. Beware of photocopies and make sure that official chops, notations and the Garuda (the official Government authority crest) are all clear and readable. This is an extremely valuable document - just like title deeds in Europe and losing it will give all sorts of problems.

Fortunately, most land and property has a Chanot title. However, there will still be cases where a lesser title is only available - such as Nor Sor Saam and Nor Sor Saam Gor - usually in undeveloped areas in the countryside. This may still be acceptable and it is often possible to upgrade to Chanot over time. However, we are getting into a very specialized area and it is essential to seek legal advice in these cases. Although land prices may well be lower for these lesser titles, it may well be prudent to discount any property without Chanot title.

Buying land for subdivision is also a specialized area and involves many local and central government departments, building codes and suchlike. There are waiting periods before titles may be issued. We are currently hearing some disturbing stories about the authorities clamping down on land subdivisions. Any scent of foreign ownership in the overall development might well mean that the issuance of eventual titles to individual owners is a problem. One precaution that an end-purchaser might take is to have some sort of break clause covering any problem in the issuance of the individual end titles.

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