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Passing on your condo – Phuket Property Legal

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Pursuant to the current Condominium Act of Thailand, and per the common practices used at the Thai land offices, the transfer of ownership of your freehold condominium unit to your spouse or children, in whole or in part, can pose a problem to those who wish to make such a transfer.

Section 19 of the Condominium Act of Thailand states:

A foreigner can acquire ownership of a condominium unit through one of five ways, able to show sufficient proof that he/she qualifies. The five ways are:

(1)
He/she shows evidence of a permit to hold residency in the Kingdom under the laws on immigration; or,

(2)
He/she shows evidence of a permit to enter the kingdom under the laws on promotion of investment; or,

(3)
He/she shows evidence of having a registered company under Thai laws; or,

(4)
He/she shows evidence of being a holder of a promotion certificate under the laws on promotion of investment; or,

(5)
He/she shows evidence of having imported foreign currency into the Kingdom for the specific purpose of acquiring the condominium unit, or he must present evidence of withdrawal from a deposit account in a Thai Bank and which account is held in the name of person having residence abroad; or he may present evidence of withdrawal from a deposit account of foreign currency in the amount of not less than the price of the unit to be purchased.

In the situation where a deceased owner of a condominium unit bequeaths by will the freehold ownership of the unit to a foreigner, or if the foreigner inherits such unit through inheritance laws, the inheritor must meet one of the five criteria indicated above to hold permanent ownership of the unit. If the inheritor fails to meet any one of the five criteria, then they must dispose of the inherited condominium unit within one year.

In addition, any person who inherits a condominium unit through a will or otherwise must report the inheritance. Section 19 (7) of the Condominium Act proscribes that an alien or a juristic person which the law treats as an alien, except one prescribed under Section 19, which has acquired a condominium unit through inheritance as legitimate heir or legatee of a will or through any other means, as the case may be, shall give written notice to the competent official within 60 days from the date of ownership of the condominium unit and [if he does not qualify to own] he shall dispose of that unit within a period of not more than one year from the date of acquiring possession of the unit. If it is not disposed of within such period of time, the provisions of Section 19 (5), paragraph four, shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Simply put: The provision of Section 19 (5) paragraph four means that the Director General of the land Department shall have the authority to dispose of the condominium unit, and the provisions relating to enforcement of the disposal of land under Chapter of the Land Code and Ministerial Regulations issued under the code shall apply mutatis mutandis to the disposal of the condominium unit.

So, you can pass on your condominium unit to your heirs, but if they cannot keep ownership themselves, they would have to sell the unit within one year or show evidence of funding to re-purchase the unit as mentioned above.

Upon sale to a third party, past experiences has shown us that the transfer of funds generated from such sales can be sent out of Thailand to the legal heirs without any problem.

A simple solution to these problems, that may be used in appropriate cases, is to initially register ownership of the condominium unit in mutual names (wife, children), or to use an offshore corporate identity for such purchase in place of registered ownership in a buyer’s personal name.

This article was written by International Law Office Patong Beach Co, Ltd., since 1995 a Phuket based law firm. case of enquiries, please contact Friedrich ‘Sam’ Fauma, Senior Partner and Consultant, by email: sam@ilo-phuket.com or phone +66-(0) 76-222 191-5.


Keep checking our online Phuket Property pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest local and national property news updates.

— International Law Office

 

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