There are 3 different types of property ownership in by foreigners in Thailand. Foreign Freehold, Leasehold and Thai Freehold.
Under the Condominium Act in Thailand, a certain number of units in an apartment complex having a Condominium License (a number not exceeding 49% of the total space of all units in that complex) may be sold directly to foreigners who meet certain requirements. This is known as Foreign Freehold.
In the situation above, once the allotted number of Foreign Freehold units has been sold, foreigners have the option of buying a unit through a registered Thai company in which the foreigner is a shareholder and director. This is known as Thai Freehold.

Such a company consists of a minimum of three shareholders. At least two of them must be Thai nationals, one of them can be a foreigner. The way the company is set up, the foreign shareholder and director can own up to 49% of the shares and is in control of the company. This, of course, involves the large additional costs of company registration and legal fees, as well as ongoing costs of accounting and “shareholder dividends”.

In conclusion, as a foreigner, buying a unit in an apartment complex that has a Condominium License is good for some and not so good for others.
Another way to buy/own property in Thailand is leasehold. This is a common form of foreign ownership of apartments and villas. Under the current laws in Thailand there is an initial lease period of thirty years and the lease can be extended for two further periods of thirty years, making a total lease period of ninety years. The developer will register the lease at the Provincial Land Office, giving the buyer legal ownership of the property for the period of the lease.
Apartments at Sawara Residence are for sale leasehold. As the developer, we at Greenbrook Phuket Co. Ltd. decided that leasehold ownership offers buyers not only 100% legal ownership but is also treats all buyers equally and fairly.

• See below for inclusions in the Sawara Lease and also the flexibility that leasehold ownership can offer.

The consensus of opinion is that Thailand will soon offer longer leaseholds on apartments and villas to foreign owners, although full freehold ownership is less certain.
One the possibilities is that the initial lease registration would include two consecutive thirty-year periods, extending the initial lease period to sixty years.
Another possibility is that there would only one lease period of ninety or ninety-nine years.

The following are inclusions in the Sawara Lease that guarantee the rights of the buyer:

2.1 The total term of the Agreement under clause one is 90 (ninety) years according to the maximum term permitted under the applicable law of Thailand, comprising an initial registered lease term of 30 (thirty) years and two additional terms of 30 (thirty) years registered after the termination of the previous term of agreement.

2.2 In the case of modification of the law of the Kingdom of Thailand in the future, if the said law grants permission to have a term of the lease agreement for more than a 30-year period or without time limit, then, at the request of the Lessee, this Lease Agreement shall be modified to take effect for the maximum lease term allowed by the new law or to take effect without limitation of time respectively.

2.3 In the case of modification of the law of the Kingdom of Thailand in the future that allows individual freehold title, then, at the request of the Lessee, a Freehold Title Agreement shall be made in accordance with the new law to replace the Leasehold Agreement.

2.4 In the case of a change in the lease period as defined in Clause 2.2, or freehold title as defined in Clause 2.3, the Lessee agrees to pay whatever expenses arise from the said change.

2.5 The 1st 30 (thirty) year lease term for the Property under clause commences on the date of …………….., 2013 and expires on the date of …………….., 2043. The second 30 (thirty) year lease term will commence on expiry of the date of 1st term, and the 3rd 30 (thirty) year lease term will commence on the date of expiry of the 2nd term

2.6 The Lessor agrees to present this lease agreement for registration at the authority office, to cover the 1st lease term until the expiration date, no later than 30 days after final payment.
At the request of the buyer, the developer of Sawara Residence, Greenbrook Phuket Co. Ltd. will undertake any of the following:
  • If the owner at any time wishes to pass on ownership to a partner or relative, we will cancel the existing lease and register a new lease creating a new 90-year period.
  • If the owner at any time wishes to sell the apartment to another person, we will cancel the existing lease and register a new lease creating a new 90-year period.
  • Leases can be registered in multiple names allowing group ownership and private time share arrangements.
Should you have any questions related to leasehold ownership or Thai law, please contact our legal representative for a free consultation.