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Posts Tagged ‘Thai Lease’

8th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has celebrated its 44th birthday. In order to provide further information on this story it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Channel News Asia, ChannelNewsAsia.com:

SINGAPORE: Singapore will mark the 44th anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) with a flag-raising ceremony at the Indonesian Embassy on 8 August. Indonesia is the current Chairman of ASEAN. Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said this year’s celebrations are particularly significant. It said this will be the first time that the ASEAN flag will be flown at all ASEAN member states’ diplomatic and consular missions in ASEAN countries and ASEAN’s dialogue partners and ASEAN Member States’ Missions where UN headquarters and offices are located…

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Frequent readers of this web log may recall that there have been significant discussions within ASEAN regarding issues such as a unified ASEAN visa, the exchange of University credits in an intra-ASEAN context, and a framework for dealing with issues pertaining to the South China Sea. As of yet, there has not been a full resolution regarding these issues, but the dialogue continues with many hopeful that ASEAN will be able to provide a strong platform for regional and global trade as well as business.

In news which is likely of more pertinence to those in Southeast Asia, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that there is further optimism regarding the Thai real estate markets. To quote directly from the official website of The Nation, NationMultimedia.com:

The property market will benefit from political stability and the government’s policy of boosting demand in the first-home market in the second half of this year, according to property experts. A survey of leading property firms by The Nation, seeking outlooks for the property market in the second half of 2011, found most believing that following the election, home-buyers will return to the market because of renewed confidence in political stability…

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Many foreign nationals in Thailand contemplate a Thailand property purchase either in the form of a Condo in Thailand or a house. In the case of a house in Thailand, it may be possible to enjoy the benefits of a Thai home notwithstanding restrictions placed upon foreign ownership of Thai land. In fact, through use of instruments such as Thai leases or Thai usufructs it may be possible to secure virtually total control over a home in Thailand. Some opt to secure their interest in a Thai house by bifurcating the title to the house from the title to the property (sometimes referred to as a Chanote). In any case, there may be ways in which a foreign national can enjoy the benefits of real estate in Thailand.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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5th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that Economic Ministers from the jurisdictions which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are set to meet in Indonesia over the upcoming weeks. Of especial importance, in this blogger’s opinion, is the fact that said meeting is set to include representatives from the United States of America and Russia. In order to shed further light upon these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of The Nation, NationMultimedia.com:

Free-trade partners of Asean, in addition to the United States and Russia, will join Asean economic ministers for a meeting in Manado, Indonesia, next week with the aim of tightening economic integration. Indonesia will host the Asean Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting from August 9-13. Yanyong Phuangrach, permanent secretary at the Commerce Ministry, who will lead the Thai delegation to the meeting, said the main agenda was to forge closer cooperation among Asean member states and trading partners, mainly with FTA partners and the two economic giants – the US and Russia…

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In recent months there have been many positive developments in the ASEAN region as discussions pertaining to a possible unified ASEAN visa have been broached. Meanwhile, discussions pertaining to the South China Sea appear to have lessened some of the tensions between ASEAN members nations and China. However, as of yet, a final framework for dealing with the South China Sea has yet to be developed. As the ASEAN region continues to show further economic potential it stands to reason that geo-politically dominant economies will show increasing interest in the Southeast Asian region.

In news specifically related to the Thai Real Estate and Property markets, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that Singaporean and international real estate developers have noted their optimism regarding the Thai property market. In order to provide further elucidation regarding these developments this blogger is compelled to quote directly from the PropertyShowrooms.com website:

A Singapore property development company has decided to invest in a series of condominium projects in Thailand over the coming year. Speaking to Property Report, business development manager at Dalvey Developments Noel Goh described the Thai real estate sector as “a very attractive market with high growth potential”. “Moreover, property prices remain low when compared to neighbouring countries,” Mr Goh added…According to one Asian real estate expert, buyers from Hong Kong are increasingly being drawn to high-end properties in the Thai capital. Executive director for investment and project marketing at CB Richard Ellis Rebecca Shum told the Bangkok Post that the city is a “top-two destination for lifestyle” from the point of view of Hong Kong investors. She added that a rise in optimism about Thailand’s political and economic conditions is helping boost the luxury property market in the nation.

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For many, the purchase of property in Thailand can be a cumbersome and somewhat confusing endeavor as Thai law on the subject has been described as rather complex and, in some cases, byzantine. This is especially true in cases involving foreigners wishing to purchase land in Thailand since there is virtually a de facto prohibition on foreign nationals purchasing Thai land. That stated, such a prohibition does not exist in the context of a Thai lease, Thai usufruct, or Thai condominium. In fact, pursuant to the Thailand Condominium Act, foreign nationals in Thailand may be permitted to purchase a Thai Condo so long as that proposed real estate holding comports with the relevant provisions of the Act. For this reason, and many more, some opt to retain the assistance of an attorney in Thailand to assist in conducting due diligence and conveyancing matters pertaining to Thai property.

For information related to legal services in the Kingdom of Thailand please see: Legal.

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25th March 2010

This author recently came across a discussion of the forecast of the Thailand property market in 2010. For those who are not up to speed on the Thai property market, the year 2009 was not a particularly buoyant year for those in the Thailand real estate sector. This may be due to the fact that the overall economy around the world was not particularly vibrant. That being said, there are optimists who believe that 2010 will be a better year for Thai property.

There has been some talk in and around government circles about reforming Thailand property law. Some believe that a reform of Thailand real estate law would provide more economic efficiency and make foreign buyers (particularly commercial buyers) more amenable to purchasing land in Thailand or other forms of property in the form of Thai condos or houses.

To quote the website ThailandPropertyNews.com:

“The initiative of this government to reform property and land taxation with a view to creating fairness sounds positive, but it will only be possible to determine the effect on the property market once the details of the proposed legislation have been finalised. “So long as the new tax legislation is on a fair basis and the tax rate not so excessively high as to discourage investment, CBRE sees this reform as beneficial for the market,“ Ms. Aliwassa Pathnadabutr, Managing Director of CBRE Thailand said. An additional measure that CBRE urges the government to consider is the extension of the long lease term from the current 30 years up to a maximum of 90 years. This will help improve the market mechanism and make large-scale commercial projects viable which would not be feasible if such developments were freehold due to the high land cost or if they were on a 30-year lease due to the limits on lease terms. The extension of the lease term will also have a direct benefit for resort destinations such as Phuket and Samui where the property markets are primarily driven by foreign demand.”

It is interesting to note that some feel that an easing of the legal restrictions placed upon Thai leases would be a net benefit to the Thai real estate market. Currently, the Thai Civil and Commercial Code places restrictions upon the length of time that a Thai lease will remain enforceable in Thailand. There are exceptions, but currently, the enforceability period is 30 years or less. Providing foreign buyers with the option of obtaining a 90 or 100 year lease might cause an increase in demand for Thai property. It will be interesting to see how the government deals with these issues and what impact any legislative changes will have upon the Thai real estate market.

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12th November 2009

For many people living in Thailand, the prospect of owning property would be considered highly beneficial. Unfortunately, Thai law places great restrictions upon foreign nationals who wish to purchase property. That being said, no such restrictions are placed upon those who wish to lease Thai real estate.

In Thailand, the Civil and Commercial Code provides for leases of varying lengths of time. A lease’s enforceability is based, in part, upon the length of the lease. For example, a common misconception among many foreigners is based upon the idea that a lease can be unrecorded and enforceable for a period exceeding 3 years. However, this is not the case as parties to a Thai lease exceeding 3 years must record the instrument upon the Chanote (Title Deed) in order for a subsequent court to enforce the provisions agreed therein.

In Thailand, the longest lease that one can practically obtain has a duration of 30 years. A novel approach to acquiring what amounts to a longer lease would utilize multiple 30 year leases in which the date of lease commencement coincides with the end of the prior lease. For example, one could acquire a 30 year Thai lease that begins in 2010. Then acquire another 30 year lease to the same property, only this lease does not come into effect until the day after the prior 30 year lease is expired in 2040. As a result of these efforts, the leasee would effectively have a lease that runs for sixty years, but in reality, the applicable Thai laws have been adhered to because the 60 year lease period is the product of two legal leases each for no more than 30 years.

Although this type of legal configuration may be possible in theory, these types of staggered lease agreements, like any legal construct in Thailand, may not be practically feasible as the officers at the Thai land department may not accept the documentation and thereby could preclude this legal instrument from being recorded on the Chanote. Each Thai land office interprets the rules and laws differently. Therefore, retaining experienced counsel in the form of a Thai attorney to assist in recording leases and other property instruments may be beneficial to a foreigner in Thailand as the attorney could assist in facilitating the recordation of a rarely seen legal instrument.

Another issue that may be of interest to foreigners is the use of a Thai usufruct. A usufruct allows a foreigner to retain lifetime rights of use in the underlying Thailand property. Therefore, this type of instrument can act as a sort of “lifetime Thai lease,” as the beneficiary of the usufruct could use the Thai property until his or her death. It should also be noted that different rules apply to those looking to purchase a Thai condo because it may be possible for a Foreign national to purchase a Thai Condo in freehold.

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27th August 2009

In recent news the Thailand property market has been placed under increased scrutiny for fear that foreigners are using Thai companies as a way of owning land and thereby circumventing the de facto prohibition placed upon non-Thai citizens seeking to buy Thai real estate. In some cases, the Thai government authorities are forcing companies which are not in compliance to sell their Thai property.

In a recent edition of the Bangkok Post, the aforementioned phenomenon was reported on at length:

“If the investigation [by the land department] reveals that the firm holding the land have an illegal shareholding structure, the Lands Department will ask it to transfer the plots within 180 to 365 days.Recently, the Lands Department found a company in Phuket whose foreign ownership exceeded the legal limit. The firm had formerly registered with a legal ownership – with foreigners holding a 49% stake and Thais the balance. However, it later increased its capital, with foreign nationals taking up all new shares, making it ineligible to own land. After the department learned about this case, it took action to have the firm transfer the land it owned.”

The situation described above is the classic case of a scenario in which those operating the Thai company opted for the expedient route without making certain that the legalities were respected. There are ways in which Thai companies can own land, but they must be carefully structured in order to comport to the laws of the Kingdom of Thailand. That being said, one should not try to set up any type of corporate device purely for the purpose of getting around the laws of the Kingdom of Thailand.

It remains to be seen whether this increased scrutiny will continue, but those wishing to acquire property in Thailand ought to be aware that there are other perfectly legal methods of acquiring interest in Thai real estate. Long term Thailand leases can be a benefit to those wishing to acquire a leasehold. For those who insist upon obtaining a freehold title to a piece of Thai property, foreigners are entitled to take freehold title to a Thai condo. However, there have been regulations passed recently which place more restrictive legal definitions upon what is considered a “condo.”

There is also a very specialized property instrument known as a usufruct, which allows the usufructuary to hold a lifetime usage right in the structures located upon a designated piece of property. Some people opt to split the title to a house from the title to the land. This can be very difficult, but has been done when executed by professionals.

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17th August 2009

Thailand Real Estate law is a complex area of jurisprudence. Many people, particularly foreigners, have misconceptions regarding what type of property rights can be accrued by non-Thais living in Thailand. First there is the mistaken belief that foreigners cannot own land. In reality, there is merely a de facto prohibition regarding foreign land ownership. A foreigner can own land in Thailand, but he or she must obtain approval from the Thai Minister of the Interior which can be a difficult proposition.

Another slightly incorrect idea circulating in the Thailand expat community is that one cannot obtain a lifetime right of use in any type of Thai real estate. However, it may be possible to acquire a usufruct which would give the person holding the usufruct the right to use the land or the structures thereon for their lifetime.

A 30 year Thai lease can also be acquired for Thai property, but it must be properly registered with the local land office. Another common misconception is the idea that one can have a 3 year “automatically renewing” lease in Thailand. This mistake would seem to stem from the fact that an unregistered Thai lease is enforceable for up to 3 years, but one needs to continually get a new lease from the land owner in order for the lease to rollover.

Recording a Thai mortgage is one method often employed by foreigners resident in Thailand who finance the purchase of property in a spouse or loved one’s name. If the foreign national ever wishes to retrieve their interest in the equity of the property, then all they need to do is foreclose on the property in order to re-acquire their funds.

There are some issues when it comes to recording these types of property interests where a third party has encumbered the Thai property by recording a mortgage at the land office. Thai banks often provide mortgages on Thai property and in order to obtain some sort of property interest in the encumered real estate one must first obtain permission from the bank. Therefore if one wishes to obtain a 30 year lease or a lifetime usufruct on the encumbered real estate owned by another, then it may be wise to contact the bank which holds the mortgage and inquire as to their position on recording leases on property they have an interest in. Sometimes, retaining the services of a competent Thailand property lawyer can be beneficial in such matters particularly as an experienced Thai real estate attorney can predict the likelihood of bank acquiesence.

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25th July 2009

Many Expatriates resident in the Kingdom of Thailand eventually come to the point where they wish to purchase property. In many cases, particularly in Bangkok, a Thai Condo will suit their needs perfectly. However, there are many people who do not wish to live in a Thai Condominium. These people often opt to purchase some form of Thai Real Estate.

One of the major problems that comes with purchasing Real Estate in Thailand is the de facto prohibition on foreign ownership of land in Thailand. Some people decide to use a Thai company to own land. This is possible although one needs to carefully construct the corporation so as not to violate the relevant laws regarding Thai “nominee shareholders.” Other less advisable methods are employed by foreigners to enjoy the benefits of property in Thailand. In some cases, a Thai spouse will put her name on the “Chanote” (Title Deed) while the foreign spouse actually pays for the property. This can be very disadvantageous because in transactions such as this the Thai Land Department will often require that the foreign spouse sign an affidavit explaining that the Thai property in question was not purchased with money provided by the foreign spouse and as a result the foreign spouse shall have no claim to the Thai property.

These type of disadvantageous scenarios create a situation where the foreigner’s interests must be protected while also remaining legal pursuant to the provisions of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code. In cases such as this, some foreign nationals opt to record a Thai lease. This instrument would provide property enjoyment rights for a maximum of 30 years. Another method that could be employed by a foreigner is the recording of a Thai Mortgage. This method would have the benefit of securing the foreigner’s monetary interest in the property. However, in many cases, the foreigner simply wants to have his interests in his home protected.  If this is the case then it may be best to bifurcate (split) the Title of the Real Estate.

Under Thailand Property Law there are ways of splitting the Thai Title Deed of a residential property. Basically, the foreign national could be designated as the Title holder of the physical residence (house) while the Title to the land remains in the name of a Thai national. By bifurcating the Title in such a way, the foreigner’s interests are better protected. That being said, it would probably be wise to contact a Thailand property lawyer to assist with creating the proper legal instruments as bifurcating Thai Title can be quite complicated and requires dealing with the Land Department of Thailand.

For more information please see property lawyer thailand or bangkok lawyer

(Please be aware: this piece is not legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed by reading this blog post.)

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