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Land purchase via Thai spouse forbidden

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rexall View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rexall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Land purchase via Thai spouse forbidden
    Posted: 28 May 09 at 11:15
Thu 28 May 09, 9:10 am
 
Hi All,
 
As always, this sort of thing needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and it is prudent to wait for more information before inflaming oneself.  However, the following potentially could have serious impact on any falang who lives in a house purchased by his Thai wife with money he gave or loaned to her to make the purchase.  It seems absurd on the face of it, but as it has such potentially serious impact, it should not be dismissed out of hand either.
 
Aloha,
 
Rex
 
*****************************
Thu 28 May 09, 9:09 am
 
Land purchase through Thai spouse forbidden: Land Dept

PHUKET CITY: The director general of the Land Department has reiterated that foreigners using Thai nominees to buy land anywhere in the country will have their land title deeds revoked if caught – even if the nominee in question is a lawfully wedded spouse.

Land Department Director Anuwat Meteewiboonwut made the comments during a recent stop in Phuket as part of a nationwide inspection tour of 30 provinces.

The tour is aimed at improving public services by land officials in three areas: dress, conduct when dealing with the public and working harder to eliminate a backlog of work.

Many members of the public have complained that it takes up to a year to complete a transaction that should only take one day, he said.

Mr Anuwat, a former governor of both Phang Nga and Samut Prakan provinces, said he was satisfied on the first two points, but rated the general level of success among land officials nationwide at speeding up their work rate at “only 30%”.

The next round of inspection tours will come in July, after which time personnel changes will be considered if service does not improve, he said.

“We have to keep pressure on them, otherwise the work will not get done,” he said.

As for foreigners seeking to buy homes in Phuket, they can do so through the Condominium Act, which allows foreign ownership of up to 49% of any project, he said.


Foreigners cannot use a Thai spouse as a nominee to buy property in Thailand, however.

“If the Thai spouse has enough money to buy the house that is fine, but if the Thai has no money and uses money given to him or her by a foreigner to acquire property, that is against the law. If we check and find out later that a Thai person has been using money from a foreigner to buy land anywhere in Thailand, we will revoke title deeds,” he said.

Mr Anuwat said the provisions of [Ministry of Interior] ministerial order 43 makes it difficult to issue land documents quickly, as it requires action from a number of different agencies. Desire for land on the island has also led to encroachment problems here, he said.

As a key market for property companies, Phuket is a constant source of problems and complaints to the director general’s office, he admitted.

“We will try to resolve these problems and develop our personnel continuously in order to provide high quality services. Fortunately the governor of Phuket used to work in the Land Department, so he understands the procedures and can help co-ordinate all the agencies involved,” he said.

Mr Anuwat was speaking of Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop, who served as Land Office director in Nakhon Pathom in 1997 and as deputy director of the Land Department nationwide in 2003.
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Vicco View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vicco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 09 at 11:38
The director general of the Land Department has reiterated that foreigners using Thai nominees to buy land anywhere in the country will have their land title deeds revoked if caught – even if the nominee in question is a lawfully wedded spouse.

“If the Thai spouse has enough money to buy the house that is fine, but if the Thai has no money and uses money given to him or her by a foreigner to acquire property, that is against the law. If we check and find out later that a Thai person has been using money from a foreigner to buy land anywhere in Thailand, we will revoke title deeds,” he said.

I'm confused.  I thought that foreigners could not hold title to land anyway???  The title would have to be in the Thai spouse's name.......so how can they "revoke" it because the money came from a falang if the falang can not "own" the land anyway.  Then just to make it ever more confusing the second para above says
“If the Thai spouse has enough money to buy the house that is fine" The Thai spouse could argue that the money was a gift.....used to buy land.....Ermm....don't know what the "house" has to do with it?
Not to dismiss it by any means but it does sound like another one of those rules that would not be (has not been)  enforced in practice........we hope...Unhappy  ???

I read this on Thai Visa earlier today.....as usual everyone there is leaving Thailand on the next plane...Clap

Vicco



"The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it." - George Bernard Shaw
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rexall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 09 at 12:53

Thu 28 May 09, 10:41 am

It is pretty ridiculous . . . but I don't suppose it is all that impossible to enforce if that is the intent.  A spouse could be made to prove the source of the income for making a home purchase.  If the money is  from her hubby, I suppose they "could say", you can buy cars or recreational drugs with that money, but you cannot buy a house.  While such a law would be patently unfair and crazy, I am not so sure that it would be improper from within the Thai legal system, nor all that difficult to enforce, again, if they were intent enough upon it.   All kinds of governments demand that citizens demonstrate the source of income,  and/or that the income was not obtained improperly.
 
Some conservative people from every country sometimes become livid when the feel that people are "getting around" the law, and become even more livid dealing the reality that sometimes you cannot make things happen or prevent things from happening by passing laws.  This sounds like one of those sort of adult temper tantrums.  In countries such as Thailand that do not have relaxed home ownership policies, the prospect of people form other countries owning (or controlling) real estate is positively terrifying.  It's a pity because foreign investment is usually a positive economic force in the countries which permit it.
 
Aloha,
 
Rex 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gdhm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 09 at 15:01
I think the important word is "nominee"
 
My understanding, legal advice and personal experience is:
 
There is no problem or anything to worry about where the land has been purchased by a wife with money 100% GIFTED to the wife by a foreign husband AND the husband has also signed with the land purchase deeds  that he has no, and never will have any financial interest in the land (whether owned or sold in the future).
 
Leases and Usufructs are a totally different issue as the foreign husband can have these as he is never the land owner and never can be of his wife's Thai land.
 
Thailand ONLY seeks to avoid Thai land foreign ownership and possble future foreign financial gain from sale of Thai land (unless you invest 40 million + Baht in Thailand I believe).  Thailand I understand has no concern of foreigners lawful use of Thai land if 100% owned by Thais, be they a spouse or not.  One must remember the ownership of Thai land is pretty watertight as in a divorce settlement the land owned by the Thai wife cannot be counted in any divorce financial split as it is considered 100% hers and outside the couples joint finances.
 
Dave 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dogeater Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 09 at 19:18
For normal everyday properties it's gonna be no same as usual. This law is for places like Phuket where people play w/ large sums of money speculating on land.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vicco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 09 at 23:56
Originally posted by Gdhm Gdhm wrote:

I think the important word is "nominee"
 
My understanding, legal advice and personal experience is:
 
There is no problem or anything to worry about where the land has been purchased by a wife with money 100% GIFTED to the wife by a foreign husband AND the husband has also signed with the land purchase deeds  that he has no, and never will have any financial interest in the land (whether owned or sold in the future).
 
Leases and Usufructs are a totally different issue as the foreign husband can have these as he is never the land owner and never can be of his wife's Thai land.
 
Thailand ONLY seeks to avoid Thai land foreign ownership and possble future foreign financial gain from sale of Thai land (unless you invest 40 million + Baht in Thailand I believe).  Thailand I understand has no concern of foreigners lawful use of Thai land if 100% owned by Thais, be they a spouse or not.  One must remember the ownership of Thai land is pretty watertight as in a divorce settlement the land owned by the Thai wife cannot be counted in any divorce financial split as it is considered 100% hers and outside the couples joint finances.
 
Dave 
 


That is exactly my understanding of the situation as well.  It has always been my understanding that I could not "own" (have clear title) to land in LOS but my wife can own as much land as she can get her hands on (she already owns 20+ rai and a house, purchased long before I showed up)
It is also my understanding that if we decide to build a house (another house) on her land and I fork over a couple of million to build it......I can "own" the house (or at least 50% of it)  but of course she will always be 100% owner of the land.  It is also my understanding that we could arrange a lease/usufruct agreement which would protect my financial interest by granting me "use/occupancy" of the land for a period up to 30 years maximum......but never ownership.

I think Doggie has a point.....these "remarks" were made in Phuket where as he says there has been rampant real estate speculation.....much of it by pretty unsavoury characters....much of the money being laundered.....people getting shot thought the head over "business" deals etc.
(and that 40 million rule is part of the problem because 40 million baht is pocket change to some of the people who have been playing in the Phuket market)...another example of greedy rich falang "investors" (speculators!!)  making the rest of us look bad...Angry  (some greedy rich Asian (non-Thai) speculators too)

The very fact that someone in this position would come out and say something like this makes me hesitate though.....rules change.....get re-intrepreted......ya just never know.



Vicco



"The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it." - George Bernard Shaw
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gdhm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 09 at 02:12
Vicco,
 
Lease 30 years (possible renewal).
Usufruct sole rights of use of land for your life be it 1 day or 60 years. You may even have a clause to be able to lease it for 30 years (which would be unbreakable even if you died the day after the lease was registered.
 
I think you can Usufruct land and house (but I only needed to usufruct land as a house was to be built on it and not already there). 
 
You can legally own 100% of your house on the land you have a usufruct (or lease).
 
In my case I have a Usufruct for my wife's land (I gifted  the purchase price to her) and I own 100% the house built on it and all aspect of the house are in my name.   Of course I have no ownership or financial rights on the land. But I do have 100% control of it for the rest of my life, if I so desire. I can chose to cancel the Usufruct at any time, but my wife cannot) .
 
As I see it I have a home and place to live for the rest of my life and in a failed marriage situation (which I see no likelihood in my case) a good bargaining tool for a joint sale of house and land together (if desired by both) as the land is of little use to the wife if she cannot use, have access to it or sell it until ex hubby dies.  Equally the hubby cannot the house without ownership of the land it rests upon. 
 
If they agree to sell then wife of course would get 100% value of the land and hubby could  get 100% of the house value or whatever was agreed.  
 
Dave
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vicco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 09 at 02:31
Thanks Dave.....I know you have some real life experience of this so that is some comfort.
The question still remains......what is Mr. Anuwat Meteewiboonwut talking about?
The entire statement is confusing----which is not that unique in the world of political statements...Confused
My wife is no gold digger. She was the one who told me about these things just to let me know that despite the fact that she would be 100% owner of any land under Thai law.....I would be protected if she ran off with a fatter richer falang..Big smile  So far so good.......................
Vicco



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gdhm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 09 at 20:55
Vicco,
 
My guess is  Mr. Anuwat Meteewiboonwut is talking about where money is SUPPOSEDLY 100% gifted  to a Thai spouse or other Thai by a foreigner but BEHIND the scenes it was not really a gift but a pretence and that there may be agreements which gave the foreigner a financial interest in the land or its subsequent sale.  Maybe the money is in reality unofficially lent.
 
I note there is not mention of where a foreign spouse has signed the official document held by the registering Dept.  declaring and accepting he has no current or future financial interest in the land.  I was given this legal formal form by the Registration Dept. the sign my agreement. If I had not my understanding was that they would not have allowed the sale of land to my wife.  I already knew all about this requirement as it has been around a very long time). When I transferred the money for the land purchase to Thailand form my UK Bank account I specifically transferred to my wife's account (declaring on the SWIFT transfer instruction) it was fort my wife's land purchase.  This way the money was hers immediately it hit her Thai Bank account and if she had been a "bad 'un" she could have just kept it and not bought the land.  This transfer to her account was not necessary but it did make the monies being hers and the land purchase from money in her account more solid and transparent. 
 
As has been said in the above comments in this thread I think this is all about stopping abuses by the back door in tourist areas where deals and land abuses have been rife (i.e. there was a Khon Samui scandal  or 2 years ago and investigations and charges I believe are still ongoing). 
 
People declaring officially and legally they have NO interest or ownership of Thai land are not those that the authorities are seeking to control, but those using nominee Thai land owners. 
My wife, and no doubt yours, is/will not be nominees but 100% land owners and sole beneficiaries from any future land sale.
 
Additionally, Lease or Usufruct I/you will never have any aspect of ownership of the land or interest in the lands other than use of under the terms of the lease/Usufruct periods which are legal and acceptable in Thai law.  
 
Nor are Leases or Usufructs anything to do with the loophole of land being bought by companies (set up essentially for the sole purpose of buying land with no real business being carried out by the company) where the foreigner holds a majority of shares which essentially means the foreigner has circumvented the buying of land, yet retains 100% control of the company land and as a founding majority shareholder would benefit from the company selling the land maybe 100% if written into the company shareholder terms and conditions.
 
The Thai authorities have been trying to close this legal loophole for several years (not sure where it stands now).
 
I am not a legal expert but this is my interpretation and understanding of Thai Land ownership concerns.
 
Dave
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rexall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 09 at 21:32

Fri 29 May 09, 7:22 pm

The various interpretations here are certainly logically compelling.  But they may or may not be correct. This excerpt seems very unequivocal to me and  stipulates "anywhere in Thailand."  Without clarification from Mr. Anuwat, or some other official interpretation, I am included to think that the man meant what he said.  That fact that so much of this stuff turns out to be a tempest in a teapot is another issue entirely.
 
Quote If the Thai spouse has enough money to buy the house that is fine, but if the Thai has no money and uses money given to him or her by a foreigner to acquire property, that is against the law. If we check and find out later that a Thai person has been using money from a foreigner to buy land anywhere in Thailand, we will revoke title deeds,” Mr. Anuwat said.


 
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