It is generally known that Foreigners cannot have Ownership of Land because it is forbidden by law, but they can have Ownership of a Building on the Land because there is no provision of law to clearly prevent this, therefore, to buy Property in Thailand it is often advised by a Lawyer or the Seller that Foreigners buy a Leasehold for Land and Freehold for House together. The evidence of Land Ownership is legally shown by the Land Title Deed which is issued by the competent Land Office, as provided by the Land Code. With regard to the House there is No Official Evidence, as provided by law, which has been issued by any Government Department, e.g. Title Deed, Certificate etc.
This matter leads to legal problems of what is legal evidence of Ownership for the House or Building. In practice many different kinds of documents have been used to show Ownership of the House e.g. Blue Book / Yellow Book / Construction Permit / House Construction Contract / House Purchasing Contract / and Court Order, but which one of these can be legally used? Blue Book and Yellow Book – There is a misunderstanding that the Blue and Yellow Books are Evidence of House Ownership, but in reality it is actually not evidence. This document is only evidence of the Official House Address and a list of people living there.
The Blue Book is for Thai Nationals and the Yellow Book is for Foreigners, therefore, the Blue Book and Yellow Book are not to be used as Evidence of the House Ownership. Construction Permit – This type of document is issued by the Local Official under the Construction Control Law because before the construction of any Building / House the Owner or the Contractor must apply for Permission to Build and submit the Architectural and Engineering Drawings of the House to the Authorities to prove that the House will be constructed following to the Engineering Standards, then the Authority may issue the Permit to construct and will make an inspection of the construction to ensure compliance with the Drawings. The said Construction Permit is not actually the evidence of the House Ownership but in such a document the House Owner is named and it is issued by the Local Officer so that the Holder of that document can use this as the evidence of House Ownership. Occasionally when applying for such permission, the House Owner does not submit the Application himself, he appoints his Construction Contractor / his Lawyer / Agent / etc to do this on his behalf, and the appointed person applies for the Construction Permit in his name as the Applicant and not the Owner.
The Local Office occasionally issues the Permit in the name of the Applicant as the Owner and not the actual House Owner. When the house is constructed such person claims that they have Ownership of the House because they were named in the Construction Permit, in this matter the Contractor / Lawyer / etc cannot claim that they have Ownership of the House because the real Owner is the Employer, as defined in the Construction Contract, therefore, the real Owner is legally able to correct the Construction Permit at a later date. It is important that the Application for the Construction Permit needs is made correct from the beginning to prevent the legal issue of the House Ownership. House Construction Contract – This is the document made between the Employer and the Contractor. The House and its Ownership which is constructed under this document belongs to the Employer by law because he built his own House and did not buy or receive the House from anyone, therefore, this kind of House Ownership acquisition is not subject to Registration / Tax or any Fee the same as purchasing a House. The House Construction Contract is one of the best documents for legal evidence for House Ownership.
House Purchasing Contract – This is a direct evidence of House Ownership because you bought it. The House is an immovable property and when buying or selling the Purchasing Contract will be void unless it is made in writing and its Ownership Transfer must be registered with the competent Registrar (Land Office), paying Tax and Transfer Fees as provided by law. For the First Transfer of Ownership of the House, the Land Office always asks the Seller to submit the House Construction Permit as the evidence of House Ownership for his consideration before approval. For Subsequent Transfers of House Ownership the Seller/s can refer to the evidence of the previous registration of transfer/s. Court Order – In case there are many people who claim Ownership of one House e.g.
Mr A claims that he has Ownership of the House according to the Construction Permit, and Mr B claims he has Ownership of the House via the Construction Contract, then they can take this matter to the Court for a decision. The Court decision, which is made in favour of any Party, is the evidence of House Ownership, binding to the Parties involved and also any Third Person as provided by the Civil Procedure Code. Hopefully this article will give you some insight into the actual Ownership of your House. Any reader who is suspicious regarding the acquisition of Ownership of their house can refer to the above.