Property and Land Title Deeds in Thailand

In this article, I will break down the different property and land title deeds in Thailand and what their main features are. When buying a property in Thailand there is no replacement for a good lawyer, therefore this article is merely designed to give some insight as to the different types of Land Titles available to aid you and not as a replacement for legal advice, which should always be sorted before entering into any agreement.

If you’re anything like me, understanding the jargon is half the battle of any endeavor, and a little knowledge can go a long way. With this in mind, listed below are brief explanations covering the most common terms you will come across when purchasing land in Thailand, together with some of their key features. For those of you who are interested in owning property in Thailand I have also included information on Condominium Titles and Building Transfers.

Freehold Title Deeds in Thailand

Officially known as a Nor Sor 4, but more commonly referred to as a Chanote.

What type of title is this?

This deed grants full rights to the holder over the land making it the most secure form of deed available. However, as the most sort after form of title deed, it is notoriously hard to locate land with this type of deed.

What are the key features of the title?

The Chanote acts as a certificate of ownership, which can be presented to Government Authorities as evidence of your exclusive rights to the land.

This deed allows for the registration of any leases against the land such as usufructs, mortgages, or superficies in order to gain encumbrance.

Where can I apply for this title?

This type of deed is obtained from the Phuket Provisional Land Office who will accurately plot and survey the land boundaries.

Take a look at this article if you would like to know more about the options for foreigners to own property in Thailand.

Nor Sor 3 Gor Title Deeds in Thailand (NS3G)

What type of title is this?

This is the document granted to land ‘awaiting’ a full title (Chanote).

What are the key features of the title?

A Nor Sor 3 Gor has exact boundaries which are measured by the Land Department, although these are not as precise as a Chanote GPS survey, this still means the owner knows exactly what he owns.

As long as this land is ready to be a full title deed (see below) it can be mortgaged, sold, or transferred as land with a freehold deed (Chanote).

How do I change a Nor Sor 3 Gor to a freehold deed?

Applications requesting to change a Nor Sor 3 Gor to a Chanote must be filed at the Land Department. Please note the Land Department can only grant this request provided there are no objections to the application.

Nor Sor 3 Title Deeds in Thailand (NS3)

What type of title is this?

The name shown on the title is the person who has the right to the land and has the legal right to possess the land and use the benefit of the land as an owner (it is not actually full ownership).

What are the key features of this title?

Unlike the previously mentioned deeds, the land in this deed has not been measured by the Land Department. It is important to note that this can lead to neighbor disputes.

This deed can subsequently be changed to a Nor Sor 3 Gor and later a Chanote.

Sor Kor 1 Title Deeds in Thailand (SK1)

What type of title is this?

This document is a notification form of possession of a particular land and has little real rights associated with it.

What are the key features of this title?

It is not possible to register rights (sale, lease, usufruct, mortgage, etc.) over this type of land.

Depending on the land’s location, this document may be upgraded to a title deed Nor Sor 3, Nor Sor 3 Gor, or Chanote.

The Land Department has not issued any new Sor Kor 1 documents since 1972.

Possessory Right

What is this title?

This title has never been substantiated by Department and is only recognized by the Local Administrative Office through tax payments.

What are the key features of this title?

As the holder simply ‘possesses’ the land and the government are the real owners this is the least recommended of titles.

Examples of possessory rights are Por Bor Tor and Kor Sor.

Condominium Title

What is this title?

This is the title to part of a building or buildings with multiple owners and is also known as Or Chor 2.

What are the key features of this title?

A condominium title covers two things, first and foremost the condominium unit, and second the common property. (In addition to their condo unit, a condominium buyer also buys percentage ownership of common property.)

  • The condominium unit includes the interior volume of the condo unit and any partition walls.
  • The common property includes the land the building is built on, the exterior walls of the building, and common areas such as the lobby and stairways or common assets such as a swimming pool or gym.

What should be stated in this title?

In the case of the condominium itself, the title should state the floor area and dimensions of the unit, as well as identifying information such as the floor, room number, property name, or building.

Finally, the title lists the ownership ratio of common property. This is calculated by dividing the area of the condominium unit by the total combined area of all the units to be sold. This percentage also represents the voting interest in the condominium company or owners association.

Building Transfers

Other than condominium titles discussed above, other buildings have no form of title document, but their sale and lease can be registered at the District Land Office.

What are the key features of building transfers?

Proof of ownership must be established either through proof of construction or a sale and purchase document.

Transfer of a building, as separate from its land, requires a public notice period of 30 days, to allow for contestation of ownership.

It is a commonly unknown fact that although a foreigner cannot own land in Thailand, he can own the house or structure built thereon. Foreigners can register such a transfer of ownership into their names at the Local District Office or Amphoe.

Is this the same as a House License document?

Simply put NO! These two items should not be confused as a House License document is only the registration of the house occupants.

In Summary

To ensure your purchase is worth more than just the paper on which it is written, only consider buying land that comes with one of the following titles:

  • Chanote
  • Nor Sor 3 Gor
  • Nor Sor Gor

The above are the only titles over which a registerable right of proprietorship or rent can exist.

You cannot apply for or get an agreement to make improvements or build on land without one of the previously mentioned titles.

Land with these titles can be used as mortgage security, sold or leased, making them more valuable and, should you no longer wish to keep them, easier to move on.

Now that you're informed on the different title deeds, feel free to browse through our inventory of Phuket properties for sale, and do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.

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