- brian ramsden
Do You Own a Villa in Thailand?
Every week Lawyers for Expats Thailand are contacted by foreigners who thought that they owned their beautiful Villa in sunny Thailand when in truth they legally own nothing.
There are many situations where people have been deliberately separated from their money and property.
This has become so frequent we felt the need to post this blog to avoid further heartbreak and financial loss and to put confidence into the Thai property market and protect foreign buyers.
There is a safe and legal way to secure a property investment in Thailand.
The purpose is not to scare people but get them to wake up to the truth and take action to secure their homes and investments.
There are other situations where from not following the law and trying to circumnavigate it foreigners have in good faith purchased villas and land only to find out that the villa or land is owned by another company or individual who have put loans on it and in some cases sold it from under them.
If you have bought a villa in your name
and you are a foreigner YOU DO NOT legally own the villa !
We have had cases where foreigners were trying to buy a villa and when the due diligence was undertaken it shows that the person trying to sell it does not legally own it.
Here is the scenario no building permit for the villa was ever granted or even applied for the land was not split therefore no individual land title was made available and an unlawful contract was entered into by offering foreigners ownership by selling them shares into a company with the promise of ownership of the villa.
In reality all they have is 4.9 per cent of a company (there were 10 foreign investors) ,Foreigners can only have a maximum of 49 per cent shareholding in a Thai company.
It is illegal for a foreigner to set up a company for the sole purpose of trying to own property.
If the Thai company is set up correctly without using nominee shareholders who can prove that the capital for setting up the company was from their funds and the company is a genuine company trading and employing staff and paying taxes the company can own property.
But this does not make the property the ownership of the foreigner it is the ownership of the company.
Buying property in Thailand through a Company can therefore be illegal if you do not follow the law and is thwarted with many complications and dangers.
Who are the Thai 51 per cent shareholders?
Are they nominee shareholders? if so this is also illegal.
Have you bought leasehold? if so for a lease agreement over 3 years to be legal and enforceable it has to be registered at the land office with your name clearly on the back of the land title document.
Leasehold does not give you ownership rights just habitation rights and the right to sub let.
Check that your lease is real do you have a copy of the land title with your lease registered on the reverse?
If you do not, you do not have a legally binding lease.
Even with a registered lease this does not offer full protection and safety and certainly does not give you any legal ownership rights.
If you have purchased a villa (not condo) that will be covered by a different article check your paperwork.
You should have a registered lease registered on the back of the land title of the property.
If you only have an agreement with the seller not registered contact us for a free consultation we are here to assist.
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