Land ownership by a foreigner in Thailand is prohibited except for certain exception. However, there is a law that allows the foreigners to the rights of the structures constructed over the land such as buildings, houses, plantations, etc. This Thai law is termed as superficies.
To make this law effective, a contract is to be made between the owner of the land and the foreigner, who is the grantee or the superficiary in this case. The contract must include all the details regarding the grant of the property, and it must be registered in the Land Office. Leasing a property is another common form of enjoying property rights by a foreigner, but superficies is definitely more beneficial law in Thailand. This is because of the fact that a lease agreement allows a foreigner to enjoy the rights of the property for the maximum period of thirty years. However, in case of superficies, the foreigner can enjoy the rights for the lifetime of the owner or the grantee, if both parties make such agreement. There is no need to renew the agreement as the grantee can enjoy the rights for a lifetime.
There is another arrangement of s agreement and this arrangement is created for a certain time period. If the land owner and the grantee decide to take on this form of superficies Thai law, then the agreed time period cannot be more than thirty years and after that, if the parties wish, they can again renew the term for another thirty years. This sounds similar to lease agreement and this is what makes this arrangement of superficies a bit confusing. Superficies is transferable by inheritance and that means that means the foreigners are never the real owners of the property. There is an option that may transfer the ownership of land from one generation of foreigner grantee to another generation by getting into a renewable 99 year or more period of agreement.
How the superficies in Thailand can be terminated? There are several instances for the termination of this agreement. If any party, whether the grantee or the land lord dies, then the agreement can be terminated; When the agreed period of time gets over, superficies gets terminated; If the grantee fails to pay rent for consecutive two years, then the owner can terminate the agreement; and if there is any breach of contract for either party, then also the superficies agreement can be terminated.
As it is not possible for a foreigner to own a property in Thailand, superficies gives the most essential benefits that the foreigner can enjoy over the property. If you want to know more about the rights that you can enjoy by entering into a superficies, then you should contact a law firm. We can help you to explore all the possibilities of enjoying the rights of a property as per Thai laws.