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PHUKET: In the last three to four weeks, some changes occurred in the application process and consequently the approval of registration for companies to purchase land, long term land leases, usufruct, superficies and/or lifetime living rights for foreigners.

Depending on which land office one is applying for registration of certain rights, the current handling of such registration is not the same, even between different land offices in the same province.

For example, companies having foreign shareholder(s) and/or director(s) might be refused to take ownership of land. Long term land leases with automatic or optional extension rights mentioned in such cases are currently generally refused to be registered. Usufruct and/or superficies or lifetime usage rights agreements are also refused to be recorded at many land offices.

These changes of handling the registration process comes from the accused foreign control in properties in Thailand and any person that wishes to register such agreements or companies to purchase land will have to give evidence and proof that there is no foreigner behind the purchase of land and /or a hidden nominee situation from Thai Nationals (Natural or Juristic persons) holding land on a foreigner’s behalf.

It is solely the land officers decision to allow or not allow such registration if a nominee situation is alleged.

Therefore, the most important thing to know before entering into any such agreements is ultimately the decision from the land officer who is in charge of recording such agreements, if and under which circumstances such will allow the registration of your rights against the land title deed, as without such, any agreement signed will not be binding to third parties.

Naturally, as a foreigner, one does not have such problems on the purchase of a condominium (unit) and consequently the registration of such in the name of a foreigner – as long as the necessary 49 % total foreign ownership on the privately used portion of the condominium is not exceeded, and the evidence of payments are made as requested by the land office.

Showing the Foreign Exchange form or other evidence, the Juristic Condo Management does provide the list of foreign held percentage in the condominium and provides a letter certifying that such unit does not owe any fees to the Juristic Condo Management, the title is free from encumbrances and not frozen by any court order.

This article was written by International Law Office Patong Beach Co, Ltd., since 1995 a Phuket based law firm. case of enquiries, please contact Friedrich ‘Sam’ Fauma, Senior Partner and Consultant, by email: sam@ilo-phuket.com or phone +66-(0) 76-222 191-5.

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— Law Office Patong Beach Co. Ltd