Back to Basics - Condominium and other Titles
Last month I discussed the main types of land title existing
in Phuket. I will continue with a coverage of lower grade land claims
before moving on to Condominium title and building ownership.
Below the Chanott and N.S.3.. title there are a host of other forms of land claim document such as the Sor. Kor. Nung (S.K.1)., the Tor. Bor. Tor. Hoc. (T.B.T.6) and the Tor. Bor. Tor. Ha.(T.B.T.5.). These rights are essentially a form of squatter or settlers claim which has been filed with the district office and upon which a small fee has been paid. Unlike the Chanott and N.S.3.. it is neither possible to register a sale or lease over these land rights, nor will a bank accept them for collateral and most importantly you cannot apply for (or obtain approval to) build on such land.
In certain circumstances based on the length of the claim and the use to which the land has been put, it is possible to upgrade these land claims (to N.S.3. or Chanott title). The steps involved in such an application and the number of government department required to approve such an application (where such approval is often discretionary) is however quite daunting and most definitely not recommended to anyone without the best of connections at the district, provincial and (in many cases) national level.
The relatively recently issued Sor. Bor Kor. titles about which there was such a political scandal (1996 in Phuket) are a very different to the above claims. These are true title deeds, accurately surveyed and pegged (like a Chanott). They may be mortgaged, planning permission for development may be sought and granted. The one significant thing that may not happen with a Sor. Bor Kor, is that it may not be leased, sold or transferred (except under last will and testament). Many of those who claimed and received these titles (and in a few notable cases - had them rescinded), expect that this limitation will change in time or that the titles can be quickly upgraded to a full Chanott . This is not my interpretation of the intention of the new titles and I can't see that happening any time soon.
A condominium title (first established under the condominium act of 1979) is a title to a part of a building or buildings with multiple owners, and a fractional interest in the land (always a Chanott) and other common assets (such as a swimming pool) and common parts of the building (such as the stair well or lobby).
The title will state the floor area of the private apartment, the ground area of the common land and the percentage interest which that apartment has in the common property. This percentage also represents the value of the voting interest in the condominium company or owners association.
Subsequent to an amendment to the condominium act in 1999, aliens (that's non Thai's !!) may also own subject to certain important qualifications, 49% of all condominiums (it was 40%) and up to 100% in a few qualifying buildings, of the units in a registered condominium
The qualification most likely to enable an alien to purchase a freehold condominium is providing evidence that the funds used for the purchase of the unit have come from abroad. Before making any large transfer relating to a condo purchase be sure to check with the vendor, your lawyer or a local bank the correct procedure for remitting funds so that you receive the appropriate currency exchange forms or you may not qualify for foreign freehold.
Buildings other than condominiums do not have any form of title document, but their sale or long lease can be registered at the Ampher (district) land office. Proof of ownership, must be established either from proof of construction or document showing previous sale-purchase (do not confuse this with the House License document, which is only a register of the houses occupants). Transfer of a building as distinct from it's land requires the posting of 30 days public notice (to see if anyone wishes to contest the ownership). Foreign nationals (aliens) may own a building (as distinct from it's land) and may register such transfer of ownership into their names at the local district office.
I think that about covers titles. Any Questions?