Real estate rights in Thailand – Part II


In our previous column, we explained the different types of property ownership, including the Chanote full title, which does confer actual ownership of property, as well as three basic types of possessory – in other words, not true ownership – right documents for land still in use in Thailand.

This week we take a look at other forms of property possessory rights available under the law in Thailand.


Land, structures and any part of either may be leased. The maximum lease term is 30 years and the Civil and Commercial Code provides for an additional renewal lease term of up to 30 years.

Leases for industrial or commercial purposes have a term of up to 50 years. This again is renewable for a period of 50 years. However, the availability of industrial or commercial leases is significantly limited.

The Civil and Commercial Code provides that any extant lease is enforceable against a new owner of the property who becomes the new lessor under the original lease terms. However, because any additional lease term is a “renewal” (and not an “extension”) a clause providing for a renewal term is enforceable as against the original lessor but not against a new lessor.

Any lease of more than three years must be registered or it will not be enforceable for any term beyond three years.


A usufruct gives the grantee the right to possess, manage and exploit a property. It can be either for the life of the grantee or a period of time up to 30 years with the possibility to renew it for up to another 30 years. The rights of a usufruct may be transferred. However, in any case a usufruct ends with death of the original grantee.



A habitation is a right to occupy a building for either the life of the grantee or up to 30 years with a possible renewal term of up to 30 years. Unless otherwise prohibited, the grantee’s family may occupy the building with the grantee. However, a habitation is not transferrable in any way.


A superficies is the right to own freehold title deed to a building on someone else’s land. A superficies may be granted for the life of the grantee or up to 30 years with the possibility of a renewal term of up to 30 years. Unless prohibited by the act creating it, a superficies is fully transferrable by the grantee.


A servitude binds the owner of a “servient” property to suffer certain acts or refrain from certain rights inherent in his ownership for the benefit of another “dominant” property. This right commonly granted for purposes of physical or utilities, access or for both. The rights and obligations of the dominant and servient property owners travel with the two property deeds in perpetuity.


A charge is similar to a servitude, however, it is a personal right which gives the grantee a specified use or enjoyment of the property (such as access across the land). A charge may be granted for the life of the grantee or up to 30 years with the possibility of a renewal term of up to 30 years. A charge is only transferrable if so specified by the act creating it.

To read last week’s column “Phuket Law: Real estate rights in Thailand – Part I”, click here.

DUENSING KIPPEN is an international law firm specializing in business transaction and dispute resolution matters, with offices in Bangkok and Phuket, Thailand and affiliated offices in over 50 other countries. Visit them at:

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on February 10, 2018

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