If you are looking to purchase a land, you need to be conversant with the several land title deeds that are in existence. This is to enable you have a better understanding of what exactly you are being offered. A large majority of the landed properties in Thailand are not titled or properly surveyed. This is as a result of the fact that complete surveys and detailed titling procedures are still being developed.
For foreigners intending to purchase a land in Thailand, it is always advisable you consider only landed properties that come together with a Chanote or Nor Sor 3 Gor. This is because these lands can be sold, leased and used for mortgage collateral in obtaining loans. In addition, there are the only titles that can be documented for right of ownership or which a lease can exist for. The most important thing to be made aware of is that you cannot apply or obtain approval to develop such landed properties without any of the previously mentioned document titles. Notwithstanding, it is always advisable you have a lawyer on hand to review the documents before making any commitment.
True land title deeds are officially known as Nor Sor 4 Jor, or commonly referred to as Chanote. The Chanote is a certificate presented for the ownership of the land and it can also be used as evidence in confirming rights of the land to government authorities. It is issued by the Phuket Provincial Land Office. It makes use of GPS to provide accurate data in plotting and survey of the land boundaries. The Chanote is the most secure type of land title, although it is very difficult to access.
Nor Sor 3
The Nor Sor 3 is a land document that certifies the use of any land by the owner of the land. It is issued and maintained by the District Land Office. The downside is that this does not serve as a possessory title. In simple terms, this goes to say that the person in possession of the Nor Sor 3 has the legal right to claim ownership of the land and can present it as a legal document. The downside to the Nor Sor 3 is that it is a floating map without parcel points issued to a specific plot of land which is unconnected to other plots. Although, its boundaries are recorded in accordance with its neighboring plots. This may lead to problems in verifying its boundaries due to inaccurate surveys. It also requires publicizing change of land ownership 30 days prior to registration.
Nor Sor 3 Gor
The legal basis of the Nor Sor 3 Gor is quite similar to the Nor Sor 3, the only difference being that Nor Sor 3 Gor comes with parcel points on the map indicating the area of the land. This is set by using an aerial survey usually with a scale of about 1:5000. This is a better surveyed title, as there is a cross reference between the master survey of the land area and the corresponding aerial photograph. This makes it possible to verify the boundaries of the land. It should be noted that this is still not as accurate as the survey of a Chanote.
Sor Kor 1
The Sor Kor 1 is a notification form which indicates and displays the existing right to the land in question. This was first introduced on 1st December 1954, when the government advised all land owners to notify the government of their possession of land using the Sor Kor 1 form. After which the government carries out its investigations and verifies that the land was obtained legally and is being put to proper use, it then issues the Nor Sor 3 or Nor Sor 3 Gor to serve as evidence. These are legal certificates siting the owner’s name certifying that the owner has a right to such land in accordance with the principle land administration law.
Buildings which are different from condominiums usually do not have any form of title document, although their sale or long term lease can be registered with the District Land Office. There must be an established proof of ownership, either in the form of proof of construction or any document that shows the sale of purchase of such building. It is also pertinent to point out that the House License document should not be confused with building transfers, as the House license document is for registration of house inhabitants. Building transfers also require a 30 days public posting notice, this to give time to allow anyone who intends to contest the ownership of said property. Foreigners are allowed to own a building different from its land and also register such transfer of ownership to their names at the Local District Office.