Condominium is defined as a building where persons are able to hold ownership separately according to the unit whereby each unit consists of personal ownership in the property and joint ownership in common property.
The most popular choice in purchasing real estate in Thailand is a condominium as any foreigner who can enter Thailand legally can buy a condominium. Condominium ownership is one of the few immovable property rights that foreign nationals are granted in Thailand.
Foreigners may purchase condo units in condo buildings throughout Thailand, as long as their purchase would not cause the foreign ownership ratio of combined units in the building to exceed 49% of the total floor area. Certain condo buildings in Bangkok and Pattaya may not be subject to the 49% foreign ownership ratio restriction.
For foreign nationals to buy a condominium in Thailand, laws and legal parameters that govern the real estate sector in the nation needs to be taken into account.
Purchase of condominium unit by an alien is governed by Condominium Act B.E. 2522 (1979):
“foreign nationals who have legally entered Thailand may be freehold owners (100% owner) of condo units, in buildings where not more than 49% of the unit floor space is owned by foreigners, with some exceptions in Pattaya and Bangkok.”
This first Act about condominiums in Thailand was made to resolve conflicts about ownership and property rights.
Section 19 bis of the Condominium Act:
Ownership by aliens in each condominium under Section 19 shall not exceed 49% of the total area of such condominium which was registered under Section 6. Some alternatives in these cases where 49% is already owned by foreigners are to make a lease (30 years with option to renew) or to set up a Thai limited company.
Further amendments to Condominium Act encourage foreign investment and protect owners:
Condominium Act No. 2 B.E. 2534 (1981):
These modifications on the Condominium Act were done to allow foreigners and foreign entities to buy condominium in order to support foreign investments. The same is published in Government Gazette No. 2534/171 /1por/30 dated September 1991.
Condominium Act No. 3 B.E. 2542 (1999):
The government wanted to change the method of owning condominium units by foreigners or foreign entities in order to be adapted to the Foreign Currency Control Act, regulating and controlling imported foreign currency. The percentage of ownership held by aliens in the condominium was also modified to help the sales and to strengthen the investment in real estate sector. The same is published in the Government Gazette No. 2542/31 Kor 1/ dd. 27 April 1999.
Ministerial Regulation No. 8 (B.E. 2543) issued by the virtue of the Condominium Act B.E. 2522 (1979):
This Ministerial Regulation classifies Pattaya City as another local government zone apart from Bangkok Metropolis and other municipal jurisdictions to allow foreigners and foreign entities to possess condominium exceeding the limit of 49% of the entire area of the condominium building. In addition, the Section 19 bis paragraph two of the Condominium Act B.E. 2522 was amended by the Condominium Act No. 3 B.E. 2542 on setting other government zones. The same is published in the Government Gazette No. 117 dated 4 October 2000.
Condominium Act No. 4 B.E. 2551 (2008):
The condominium law was further strengthened recently by Condominium Act (No. 4), B.E. 2551 (2008), which was adopted to provide further protection for purchasers of condominium units from developers, by making developers responsible for the truth of their marketing materials, by making developers responsible for paying the ratable portion of fees and expenses for unsold units and by providing that contracts of sale had to conform to a form established by the Ministry of the Interior.
Meanwhile, additional protection for buyers of condominium units is being now provided through the enactment of the Escrow Act, B.E. 2551 (2008). Although the provisions of the Escrow Act are optional for condominium purchases, it does provide a way for a potential purchaser to protect deposits for condominium purchases from being used (and potentially lost) by a developer when short of funds.
See also Buying A Condominium in Thailand.