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Misconceptions About Leases in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing leases in Thailand and a recent comment on our channel that came up when there was some back and forth on one of our videos that pertain to Real Property.  

I am just going to quote this comment, it is a little out of context and I will put it into perspective after I quote it. Quoting directly: "You can get long-term leases any length you like as long as all parties agree to the terms and conditions." So they were going back and forth about the various property or real estate options for foreigners. Not to get into all that, but that was one of the responses. 

Long story short, that is not strictly speaking correct. There are restrictions to the length of time a lease can be in Thailand. That is specifically stipulated in the Civil and Commercial Code in Thailand and it depends on the type of property. With respect to land, the general rule is 30 year leases for Real Property, specifically land, and the lease if it is over a length of 3 years, has to be registered at the Land Office. Now I have had this vetted by the Thai Attorneys here in the office. Again, I am not a Thai Attorney, I am not trying to speak out of school with respect to anything. This is for informational purposes only. Now bear in mind, there are specific exemptions to a number of different rules including this one that may pertain under a specific Act in Thailand, most notably certain industrial estate rules may contravene the rule of thumb. 

Long story short, it is not a good idea in my opinion to just presume that you can just lease property in Thailand indefinitely or effectively indefinitely; what we call in the common law system "99 year leasing" etc. where it is a lease but it is a lease of such a long duration that it is so far in the future that in the present, it is almost akin to ownership. That really does not exist in Thailand except under a very limited subset of circumstances. 

So those who are looking to do long-term leases in Thailand, it is a good idea to understand the formalities and the restrictions on leasing and it is probably a good idea to contact a legal professional in order to gain that insight and guidance.