If you are not going to buy a condo in Thailand and are considering buying a house or building a house, then you need to ensure that you have the correct building permits. Building a house is controlled by the Building Control Act and the Town and City Planning Act. Also ensure that you check the land for superficies, usufructs and servitudes. The zoning is also important so do a due diligence report on the property first.
Always ensure that a property lawyer in Thailand checks your building contract as well if you are not going to leave this to Thai family members to build. You can read more on building contracts in Thailand on this website which gives you the basic overlay of the contract and what to watch for. Indemnity is very important as well as extensions in time which is always a problem if you are building during the monsoon season. Defects is another major issue as cracks might develop later or certain work might not have been done to standard. This is why it is important to find a reputable small builder and you can ask on the Thai forums for advice and direction on finding a proper builder.
Buying Land and Building a House
As a foreigner it is very difficult to own land in Thailand – not impossible but very difficult. What normally get done is that someone will buy land and register the land in his Thai wife’s name. They will then proceed to register a superficies over the property. The concept is that you cannot own the land however you can own the buildings on the land and this needs to be registered at the Land Office as it is registered against the Thai title deed. Note however that there is a time limit of 30 years when it comes to this. Consult a property lawyer in Thailand for more information on this process as there are other options such as a usufruct over the property.
In order to avoid legal problems, you must ensure that you have a building permit for build your house on the property. This is to ensure that the local building regulations have been met and that you are allowed to build the property on the land. The building Control Act can issue heavy fines for breaking the law and they have the right to issue a stop-work order. The building permits in Thailand is issued in the name of the builder’s name or land owner’s name. If this has been issued you can change it to your name by applying for a change of name. Since you don’t own the land you can change the name on the building permit to yours as the house is separate from the land. The Or.Bor.Tor can refuse this change if you documents are not correct. Most people who build their homes in Thailand tend to leave it in the name of the builder or land owner (his Thai wife) and then change it later. The change is normally done during the building process. You will need the following documents:
- – Copy -Title deed
- – Copy of the (Tabien Baan) house registration book of the land owner (Your Thai wife)
- – Copy of the ID card’s passports of the parties
- – Copy of written agreement for the construction signed by both parties.
Why do they do this? The building permit is proof that the house and the land are separate and there are also issues with tax liabilities later down the line if you are selling the property. Your rights are now more entrenched as the building permit is in your name and it also lowers property tax liabilities.