Thai Nominees and PropertyJan 19, 2012
It has been established that foreign nationals are not allowed to own land in Thailand and this led some of them to circumvent the law and have Thai nominees to own land in their behalf. While this practice has been going on for some time, recent crackdowns and the prescription of the law itself should deter any foreigners from practicing it as this could lead to them to pay a fine or to be imprisoned or both.
To define, a nominee is an entity and not necessarily a person who holds ownership of a property on behalf of a foreign national and such entity does not have the capacity to own or has no concrete interest on the property. A Thai nominee, therefore, acts as a front for a foreign national.
With this, Thai shareholders of a company with some degree of foreign ownership and Thai spouses of foreign nationals must be able to support their ownership over a property by means of bank records and other supporting documents reiterating their capacity and capability to own them.
Furthermore, Thai spouses and their foreign partners must also execute a joint declaration that the finances used to purchase the properties are coursed from the Thai spouses’ accounts and none coming from the foreigners’.
There are several ways to secure properties, lands included, in Thailand by foreigners without needing to enlist Thai nominees or actually owning them. Foreigners can secure these properties through long term leases or other several structures.
Nonetheless, even if they secure properties without Thai nominees, they should still do so in accordance to the procedures and laws in place. To be sure that everything would be done to the letter, consulting with reputable Thai lawyers and attorneys would be ideal.