Some countries have a completely open policy when it comes to land ownership; as long as you have the money, you can buy whatever property you like! Unfortunately, Thailand is not one of those nations; it is against the law for foreigners to own land, which you might think ridiculous, yet Thailand is a developing country and in the early 20th century, Japanese businessmen wanted to acquire huge chunks of Bangkok, so the government decided to prohibit non-Thais from owning land. There have been rumours for years about a positive change to this law to allow foreign retirees to own a small plot of land for residential purposes, but nothing has changed as of writing this article.
What are the options?
Of course, there are options for those who wish to build their dream home for their retirement years; you can lease the plot of land for 30 years, with a further 30-year option. This means you legally own the house you built, but not the land it sits on and with a legally binding lease, you are protected. In the very unlikely event that you wish to sell up and move on, you can sell the house to the landowner, so it’s a win-win!
A foreigner is allowed to purchase a condo unit, providing at least 51% of the development is owned by Thais and this is the route most retirees take; as you age, your living space requirements are not the same and living on a luxury condo development gives you the following facilities:
- Swimming pool & fitness centre
- Secure parking
- 24/7 security
- Attractive gardens
- Convenience stores & restaurants
The grounds are maintained by a contractor, ensuring the complex always looks neat and tidy’ owners pay a monthly maintenance fee to cover all costs. If you are looking to live in Pattaya, property for sale can be found with a simple online search and there are studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units available.
This is one way to secure a property/plot of land; create a Thai limited company, with you holding 49% of shares and a Thai(s) owning the remaining 51%. The company can acquire real estate, but be warned if the Thai government feel that the business entity was set up solely for buying land, they could confiscate the assets. If said company is trading and has accounts, this would be fine. Many expats use their Thai partner as the major shareholder and they hold the other 49%. There could be issues in the event the relationship ends; talk to a Thai lawyer about this and he/she will explain and advise accordingly. Click here for the dos and don’ts of buying a vacant plot of land.
If you are looking to settle in Pattaya and are on the hunt for the perfect condo, start with a Google search to locate established real estate agents, where you will find many condo units for sale or rent. Take a look at the Tourism Authority of Thailand website and learn more about the various regions and we hope that you find the perfect place to retire.