The Bangkok Post is reporting that the Thai government is again considering opening up land ownership to foreigners in Thailand. Foreigners are generally prohibited from owning land in Thailand, and this often comes as a surprise to foreigners from more open and developed jurisdictions where there are no such restrictions. Not surprisingly, this is generating controversy and cynicism about what, if any, changes will actually occur.
According to the Bangkok Post, “[the] policy is in line with the government’s plan to woo affluent foreigners for lengthy stays to shore up the economy.” There are also plans to relax Thailand’s stringent visa and work permit laws. Some of those plans are coming to fruition. There appears to more cynicism about plans to allow foreign ownership of land. This will be quickly evident from reading the comments on this Bangkok Post article. This is not the first that this sort of proposal was announced (we remember).
In practice, foreigners wanting something akin to ownership of land in Thailand often have long-term leases coupled with other mechanisms, such as ownership of the improvements on the land subject to the lease. We have substantial experience handling such matters. We can also advise on Thai property laws. Equally important we can advise on zoning and building restrictions. Unfortunately, however, there are less scrupulous property agents and advisors that tend to skip over such matters.