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Further Reading:

Sor. Por. Gor. Titles and US style Condos

Brian, living in Karon asked "Could you please explain what is a Sortorgor Title ? Can it be sold to me or can a power of attorney be put in my name giving me control over the land? Can a Falang hold a Pof A on this type of land or any type of land."

Sor Por Kor 401 is a title right given to an otherwise landless agricultural use occupier of degraded forest land. The issuance of titles of this type which had been ongoing for several years, on a province by province issuance program, was ended in 1995 amidst a political scandal related to issuance of such titles to the rich and wealthy, that culminated in the defeat of Chuan Lekpais's first democrat government.

The Sor Por Kor is a full title deed in that it is accurately surveyed, denoted by numbered pegs in the ground and can be developed and even mortgaged in just the same way as a Chanott title, but it has significant restriction in that it is a title granted as a personal right to the original holder and he/she MAY NOT SELL or LEASE that land. It can only be transferred to heirs under last will and testament.

As such securing any meaningful long term control over such land is not really possible and at best very risky. I have heard of cases of people trying to do deals over land of this type by drawing up civil commercial contracts, but as with all issues related to land if the rights are not registered (not possible with these titles) enforcement in the event of dispute or problem could be near to impossible. I suggest that you look for titled land that you can clearly lease in your own name.

As a general issue relating to any type of titled land, trying to secure interest to ownership on the basis of a power of attorney (for anything other than a very short term) is highly inadvisable. Powers of Attorney can always be revoked - and even if not revoked the certifying documents attached to them (copies of house licenses and Identity cards, most definitely have expiry dates - without future replacement of which, the power of attorney would be rendered useless). As noted above any long term right over land must be registered if it is to be secure.

My name is Alan Calhoun, I am a real estate broker in California, and I have a question for you. "As I understand it, foreigners can have fee simple ownership of certain condominiums in Thailand. My question is: Are all of these condos the high rise type, or are there condos available that are detached structures within a complex"?

For a building or multiple buildings to qualify as a condominium. All the buildings must have units such that there are at least one common wall and one common roof/floor. This in theory means that one or more two story house (type structures) with a self contained unit occupying part of the lower floor could be registered as a condominium. In practice however the smallest condominiums that we are seeing in Phuket have three floors and about 12 units per building.

There are probably two reasons that we are not seeing very small units being registered as condominiums. The first relates to the complexity, costs and bureaucracy involved in getting a building certified and then registered as a condominium. The second relates to the qualifications for 100% foreign ownership of a condo. Under the amended condo laws a development on less than 5 rai of land with more than 40 units located in a municipal area can qualify for 100% foreign ownership. If these requirements are not met, foreign ownership is restricted to 49%. It would be difficult to design a low density multiple building condominium within these constraints, and hard to sell the remaining low density units to Thai's (who would not be restricted from buying a house directly). I therefore see it as unlikely that we will see many low density north American style condos in Phuket.