Suspension of the Incentives for Owning Lands by Foreigners in Thailand
On 21 January 2022, it is official that the incentives for foreigners owning the lands and real estates in Thailand has been halted. It was previously controversial that the governmental body for economy drive under the Covid-19 situation is deliberating the additional incentives for foreigners to own the lands and real estates in Thailand (the “New Incentives”).
Prior to the deliberation on the New Incentives, foreigners, mostly individuals, are not permitted to own the lands in Thailand under general circumstances. Foreigners residing in Thailand are permitted to own only residential units in apartments or condominium with the regulated ratio that the foreign ownership in any specific condominium must not exceed 49% of the total space. The leasehold up to 30 years is also another option permitted by the laws.
Until late 2021, the economy driving body has proposed to deliberate on the New Incentives with details as follows:
- Lifting 49% restriction foreign ownership in condominium – this incentive is later halted due to the requirement to amend the Building Control Act B.E.2522. The amendment process will take approximately 1 year which will not be a swift action to tackle to economic crisis;
- Extending the leasehold from 30 years to 50 years – this incentive is not practicable. The 30-year leasehold is currently legitimated under the Thai Civil Commercial Code. The extension of the leasehold by foreigners to 50 years may require amending on Civil Commercial Code or passing a new act with a specific purpose to extend the timing limit of the leasehold by foreigners. This is not the swift response to spontaneous economic crisis; and
- Permitting foreigners to own the land for a space not more 1 rai (approximately 1,600 sq.m) – the responsibilities lie upon Department of Lands to work on the legitimation and the existing land laws of this incentive. As it is a sensitive issue, this incentive is now also suspended.
The ownership of lands/real estates by foreigners in Thailand for residential purpose is still under the existing options stated above. For the business and commercial purpose, the land ownership by foreigners is based on the similar principles. It is however can be slightly different depending on the type of business which require specific consultations with competent bodies and authorities.