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Title Deed and Land Documents in Thailand

Last updated: 7 Jul 2024
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Title Deed and Land Documents in Thailand

There are 5 common types of land documents in Thailand


1. FREEHOLD TITLE DEED (CHANOTE)
A freehold title deed is referred to in Thai as a “Chanote”. This document serves as proof of ownership, indicating that the person named in the title deed is presumed to be the rightful owner of the land. If anyone else claims ownership, they bear the burden of proof. With a Chanote, the holder has complete ownership and control over the land. As the most secure form of land ownership in Thailand, a Chanote provides the holder with the freedom to use the land as they see fit. This includes selling, leasing, or building a house on the property. Due to the permanent and absolute nature of this type of title deed, it is high in value and the most recommended title deed.

The most recent and commonly used type of freehold title deed in Thailand is the Nor. Sor. 4 Jor. (N.S. 4 Jor.). This type of deed is easily recognizable by the red Garuda, which is Thailand’s national emblem, located at the top-middle of the document. Additionally, the official document code, “Nor. Sor. 4 Jor.” (N.S. 4 Jor.) is marked on the top right-hand corner of the deed. The title deed includes a map of the land and its approximate area, with the exact boundaries of the land being marked by numbered concrete pegs that are pinned to the ground. On the back of the deed, there is a table that describes the various types of transactions that have been conducted on the land, such as sales, gifts, or mortgages. Most importantly, it includes the name of the most recent owner. Older versions of this freehold title deed include N.S. 4 Gor., N.S. 4 Kor., and N.S. 4 Ngor. Although these older versions are no longer issued, they bear the same title as N.S. 4 Jor.

In order to transfer ownership, both the transferor and transferee are required to register the transfer at the land office that has jurisdiction over the land’s location. Any internal transfers without proper registration are considered invalid, and the seller retains the right to reclaim the land at any time.

2. CERTIFICATE OF UTILIZATION
A certificate of utilization is issued by the authority as evidence that the land has been utilized by the possessor. Land that possesses a certificate of utilization grants only possessory rights to the holder. There are three types of certificates of utilization:

• An N.S.3, also known as Nor. Sor. 3, is issued for land that does not have exact boundaries marked by boundary pegs pinned to the ground. N.S.3 Land cannot be transferred or mortgaged until its exact boundaries are defined.
• An N.S.3 Kor. is similar to an N.S.3 in that it does not have exact boundaries, but it is issued by a land officer instead of a Chief District Officer.
• An N.S.3 Gor. is the second most credible title deed after the freehold title deed. Unlike an N.S.3, an N.S.3 Gor. has exact boundaries as the land has already been measured and can be freely transferred. It can also be changed to a freehold title deed by submitting an application with a relevant land office.

3. S.K.1
An S.K.1 form is not a title deed but rather a document that an individual submits to the DOL to inform that they have utilized the land. Since an S.K.1 is not issued by the authority, there is no need to register the transfer. The transfer can be done by simply handing over the land, and the transferee can occupy the land. This type of land only has possessory rights, which means that it can be squatted easily within one year if the owner does not expel the squatter. An S.K.1 can be upgraded to a freehold title deed or a certificate of utilization. 4. S.P.K.4-01

4. S.P.K.4-01
An S.P.K. 4-01 may look like a freehold title deed, but it has a different title and only grants possessory right to the land. As agriculture is one of the main industries in Thailand, this type of land is reserved for farmers who do not own land to farm, and as such, it provides them with an opportunity to engage in farming. S.P.K. land cannot be transferred except through inheritance. It cannot be upgraded to any other type of title deed either. On the back of an S.P.K., there will be a red text that prohibits the sub-division or transfer of the land. The farmer who receives an S.P.K. must use at least 20% of the land for growing crops.

5. PRE-EMPTION CERTIFICATE
A pre-empted land is owned by the state, but the state allows individuals to temporarily reserve and utilize the land by issuing a pre-emption certificate, also known as “Nor. Sor. 2 (N.S.2).” or “Bai Jong” as commonly called. Once obtained, the certificate holder must begin utilization within 6 months and use at least 75% of the land. Pre-emption certificate holders cannot transfer the land by sale, exchange, or gift, except through inheritance. Possessory rights are the only rights provided for pre-empted land. However, if the holder has utilized the land and meets the authority’s requirements, they can apply for a certificate of utilization or a freehold title deed for full ownership. The transfer of ownership of a certificate of utilization or a freehold title deed originating from a pre-emption certificate is prohibited for ten years, except by inheritance.    

In conclusion, Thailand has numerous types of land title deeds, which may appear similar but actually provide different entitlements. Therefore, it is crucial to do your due diligence and seek legal advice when dealing with title deeds in Thailand.

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