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Published: 17/06/2009 at 12:00 AM
The real danger facing citizens of the Kingdom of Thailand regarding land ownership does not come from foreigners wishing to own property for retirement purposes. It comes from corporate interests, both foreign and domestic, seeking large tracts of land for industrial and agricultural purposes; from developers of resorts and condominiums, and from those who would profit from these interests through corrupt means.
District land departments throughout Thailand are reportedly riddled with corruption. Thousands of rai of land are stolen on an almost daily basis by the very people entrusted with its protection. Fearing no scrutiny, land officials are known to receive their bribe monies in public view.
Poor farmers in Isan will never be displaced by farangs dreaming of growing rice in their old age; rather it is the money lenders, middlemen and ''influential persons'' who regularly remove families from their land. This situation is an unmitigated disgrace.
If the government wishes to protect both public and private land for the benefit of the Thai people, I suggest a comprehensive effort be undertaken to establish the rule of law. Restricting foreign ownership is just a smokescreen put up to cloak the machinations of those whose callous greed undermines this nation's greatness.
Departing with the land
The Bangkok Post on June 15 devoted a full page of its Business section to the ongoing anger/confusion on land transfers to Thai spouses. Would any farang want to buy a house now for his Thai wife? Would any Thai man buy a house for his Thai wife if he faced the same rules or circumstances? Obviously a Thai woman has less rights than a Thai man.
The whole mess reminds me of a joke a Middle Eastern man told me one time: The interior minister came to the ruling sheikh of the country and reported that the country was in danger as foreigners were now buying land in the kingdom.
The sheikh listened gravely and asked for the minister of customs to come immediately. When the minister came, he told him what had been reported.
The sheikh then told the minister that if any foreigners were found to be trying to depart the country with land on them, they should be immediately arrested!
Where exactly can you take land you've purchased?
The above letter refers to this:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/eco ... -landmines
Found this on the same page.
By: KANANA KATHARANGSIPORN
Published: 15/06/2009 at 12:00 AM
No witch-hunt, says Land Department
The Lands Department does not have a policy to scrutinise acquisitions in which illegal use of Thai nominees on behalf of foreigners is suspected, says director-general Anuwat Maytheewibulwut.
Land ownership revocation cases mostly occur when a complaint or conflict is brought to the department's attention, he said.
"Each year there are 5.5 million land-related transactions handled by the department and we receive around 1,000 complaints," he said. "We have no time to check every transaction, but we will investigate when there's a complaint."
Mr Anuwat was responding after several sharp letters in the Bangkok Post over the past two weeks from readers who questioned the department's policy on land acquisition by foreigners. Some alleged it was xenophobic.
He said it was likely a misunderstanding that the department would scrutinise every transaction suspected to have a Thai nominee owning land for foreigners. In fact, an investigation will be initiated only if there is a complaint.
"There is nothing new in the Land Code for land acquisition by foreigners," he added.
"For purchases or transfers, we have some regulations and processes to investigate illegality, but not that many. We must respect individual rights and assume individuals will not give fake statements to officials."
According to the Land Code, a foreigner can legally acquire land by inheritance as a legal heir, and his or her land ownership must be approved by the Interior Ministry.
Alternatively, a foreigner must invest at least 40 million baht and maintain it for five years through investment in Thai government bonds, property mutual funds, or in share capital of a Board of Investment-promoted company.
Under these two criteria, a foreigner can purchase up to one rai of land for residential use. The department also allows foreign ownership up to 49% of saleable space in a condominium, said Mr Anuwat.
If a foreigner has a Thai spouse, either legitimate or common-law, and wants to buy land, the Thai spouse must give officials of the Lands Department a joint written confirmation that the money for the purchase is wholly separate property or the personal property of the Thai spouse, not jointly acquired property.
"If a foreigner has a conflict with his or her Thai spouse and makes a complaint on land ownership to the department, we will investigate," said Mr Anuwat. "If we find the ownership is illegal, we will ask them to transfer or sell that piece of land within 180 to 365 days."
If the transfer or sale cannot be made within a year, the department will use its authority to do it. Any legal dispute between the couple not involving land ownership must be resolved under civil law.
"Changing foreign land acquisition regulations such as an extension of the leasehold period to longer than 30 years or increasing foreigners' quotas to buy condominiums is a government matter. The department is always ready to carry out the government's policy," Mr Anuwat said.
He added that all foreigners who comply with the law will get full protection under the law.
"For anyone involved in land ownership on behalf of foreigners, what they should be sure of is concern for the nation, ethics and morality in applying the law to make sure they are good Thai citizens," he said.
Published: 15/06/2009 at 12:00 AM
From the business section:
Guidelines for officials
The following summary is translated from a handbook for Lands Department officials to consider land acquisitions by Thai individuals with foreign spouses. It was issued on Dec 22, 2005.
- Thai individuals having both legitimate and illegitimate foreign spouses can acquire unlimited sizes of land as personal property. The couple has to jointly certify in writing on the date of title deed transfer that the money spent to acquire the plot belongs solely to the Thai partner and is not a common matrimonial asset.
- If the foreign spouse is in another country, he/she needs to present to a Thai embassy or consular office a certified letter that the money spent to acquire the plot belongs solely to the Thai partner.
- In cases where a Thai individual with a foreign spouse acquired land after marriage but prior to March 23, 1999 and falsely indicated marital status as single, the couple can go to a Lands Department office and jointly certify in writing that the money spent belongs solely to the Thai partner.
- After the certification, the Thai partner who owns the land can mortgage it.
- A Thai woman buys a plot of land by reporting her marital status as single and withholding the fact of her marriage to a foreign husband. She fails to prove that the money spent was her personal asset. Therefore, officials assume the money was a common matrimonial asset and revoke her ownership. She needs to transfer the ownership to someone else within 180 and 365 days.
- A Thai woman with a common-law foreign husband buys a plot of land at an auction by the Legal Execution Department. The court informs the Lands Department to transfer ownership to the woman but the department finds that the money to be spent is a common matrimonial asset. The Lands Department recommends to the Interior Minister that the purchase be prohibited.
- The Supreme Court has ruled to revoke ownership of a Thai woman who has her name on the land title deed on behalf of her foreign husband. Therefore, the land must be transferred to someone else within 180 and 365 days. Otherwise the Lands Department director-general can order the land transferred with a fee of 5% of the selling price, on top of incurred charges and taxes.
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Of course, fear of this process being corrupted has so far slowed down such a system from emerging. (Unless you accept that condos for sale with virtually no financing is their first step) But as I see it, the market for property in Thailand is already rife with corruption as is and plenty of foreigners (not just farangs) with cooperation from Thais (officials and others) are already involved. The only problem is that much that goes on is not public knowledge and this is the core of the problem. Nobody wants to be accountable, for even an inch, for what they are doing.
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icedmercury wrote:Cannot believe how much mileage this topic gets, I have owned and sold more than 5 properties houses included. Never once did I have trouble paid the tax each year on the house like any other country. Just look at the link on this forum to the Phuket gasett right beside the artical on the land ownership is a number of adds for the sale of villas land included. This law that all the falang clowns keep referring to , is for the likes of you fool the thai government know all about the foreign ownership of land its a great earner in taxes and fees for the state and the professions. You see if they remove the restrictions people like me who have the ball to avail of the current circumstance will lose out to the meek and weak willed who can only do the right thing and not go outside the parameters set out. Boys cop-on you are going to die with nothing whether your thai bar girl gets the thai gov get it or your own government gets it. Start to enjoy life in the land of dreamd or gryt the hell out of there as I am sick the the teeth listening to you all in the bars when I got there to make money. Girls I love you all make as much money out of these guys as u can while you can.
Another foreign expert has spoken!
How much of the land did you own in your own name concerning this five “properties”? Not one inch!
I am married and have been living in Thailand for more than six years. My wife owns a lot of land, and properties in Thailand. I am not allowed to bye one M² of land.
I don't like your generalisation. I have never been to any bar in Thailand in the six years I have been living here, and I would never go to one either. “Land of the dreams”? I hate Thailand and all it stand for. The country is a nightmare, not a dream.
But if you are interested in buying some more land you can register in your own name, that you can say you own, just contact me, my wife have a lot of land for sale.
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I did hear that Phuket had a special administrative status in selling land to foreigners before the Tsunami and during the Thaksin administration, which was put under review or revoked during the Military Tribunal and thus far ongoing in limbo. If anyone else has new information about Phuket foreign land ownership laws please post...
OR.. as iced mercury said the purpose in buying the properties was for investment, buying and selling, this may have been possible in the case of buying and selling to thai people as a business, in which time you occupied those investment properties.
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