Land Title Deeds
Rights of Possession
There are two main types of land ownership in Thailand which I should explain. Firstly there is the right of possession, for example, land that has been used by a family for generations to the benefit of the land and they have possession rights of the land under the civil and commercial code. Such titles are Sor Kor 1, Tor Bor 5, 6 or Sor Por Gor 4. These titles basically are only family possession rights and generally only used for farming. These titles can not be bought or sold and no building rights or legal acts would be allowed on the land. I do know of cases where families being in possession of certain pieces of land for generations have been able to upgrade them to regular land title deeds but this is not generally the case and any serious investor would not normally give any credibility to these titles of possession.
Rights of Ownership
Usually you are looking for land title deeds giving rights of ownership not possession. Here there are basically three deeds: Chanote, Nor Gor 3 and Nor Sor 3 Gor. The most sought after titles are Chanote and Nor Sor 3 Gor as both these titles have legal documents of Rights of Ownership and can be sub-divided into smaller plots and planning permission and any such legal acts is can be carried out immediately on the land. The only difference with the Nor Sor 3 is that although legal documents are issued for the land is has not been accurately surveyed which can lead to problems in verifying actual land area. And if any legal act is to take place on this land must be published for at least 30 days. As I have been saying all the way through if it is not clear 100%, seek the advice of a legal professional in this field, as there are also many other issues that are important to consider such as servitude, access and rights of way.
Land Measurement and Survey
Land in Thailand is measured in Rai, Ngan and Talang Wah.
- 1 Wah = 4 sqm
- 1 Ngan = 100 Wah or 400 sqm
- 4 Ngan = 1 Rai or 600 sqm
In comparison to Western Standards:
- 2.50 Rai = 1 Acre
- 6.25 Rai = 1 Hectare
True land title deeds are officially called Nor Sor 4 Jor or more commonly Chanote. This is a certificate for the ownership of land and can be used as evidence confirming the right to government authorities. It is issued by the Phuket Provincial Land Office using GPS to accurately plot and survey the boundaries of the land. This is the most secure type of land title but land with a Chanote can often be hard to find.
Nor Sor 3
The Nor Sor 3 is a document certifying the use of land issued and maintained by the District Land Office to the proprietor of the land but is not a possessory title. That is to say the person holding the Nor Sor 3 has the legal right to possess the land in question and can use it as a legal document. Nor Sor 3 is a floating map with no parcel points issued for a specific plot of land and not connected to other land plots, but its boundaries are recorded according to its neighbouring plots. Therefore, it may cause some problems in verifying boundaries due to lack of accurate surveys. Any change in ownership of the land must be publicised for 30 days before it can be registered.
Nor Sor 3 Gor
The Nor Sor 3 Gor has the same legal basis as the Nor Sor 3, with the difference being that in general Nor Sor 3 Gor has parcel points on the map of the land area set by using an aerial survey with a scale of 1:5000. It is a more accurately surveyed title as each plot is crossed referenced to a master survey of the land area and a corresponding aerial photograph. Therefore, it is possible to verify the boundaries of the land. However, it is still less accurately surveyed compared to a Chanote.