As a buyer you need to be aware of the various land title deeds which exist to understand what you are being offered. A large percentage of the land in Phuket is not titled or even accurately surveyed. Actually, it is because there is a lack of complete surveys that comprehensive titling does not exist.
As a foreigner buying land in Thailand, you should only consider land that comes with a Chanote, Nor Sor 3 or Nor Sor 3 Gor. These can be sold, leased and used as mortgage collateral and are the only titles over which a registerable right of ownership or lease can exist. "More importantly, you cannot apply for or obtain approval to build on such land without one of the aforementioned titles. In any event, make sure you have a good lawyer look over the paperwork before you commit to anything.
True land title deeds are officially called Nor Sor 4 Jor or more commonly Chanote. This is a certificate for the ownership of land and can be used as evidence confirming the right to government authorities. It is issued by the Phuket Provincial Land Office using GPS to accurately plot and survey the boundaries of the land. This is the most secure type of land title but land with a Chanote can often be hard to find.
Nor Sor 3
The Nor Sor 3 is a document certifying the use of land issued and maintained by the District Land Office to the proprietor of the land but is not a possessory title. That is to say the person holding the Nor Sor 3 has the legal right to possess the land in question and can use it as a legal document. Nor Sor 3 is a floating map with no parcel points issued for a specific plot of land and not connected to other land plots, but its boundaries are recorded according to its neighbouring plots. Therefore, it may cause some problems in verifying boundaries due to lack of accurate surveys. Any change in ownership of the land must be publicised for 30 days before it can be registered.
Nor Sor 3 Gor
The Nor Sor 3 Gor has the same legal basis as the Nor Sor 3, with the difference being that in generalNor Sor 3 Gor has parcel points on the map of the land area set by using an aerial survey with a scale of 1:5000. It is a more accurately surveyed title as each plot is crossed referenced to a master survey of the land area and a corresponding aerial photograph. Therefore, it is possible to verify the boundaries of the land. However, it is still less accurately surveyed compared to a Chanote.
Sor Kor 1
Sor Kor 1 is a notification form of possessed land, which shows and maintains the existing rights to the particular land. On December 1st 1954, the government advised all land proprietors to notify their possession of land to the government using a 'Sor Kor 1' form. After it was proven that such a proprietor had possessed and used the benefit of the land legally, the government would then issue 'Nor Sor 3' or 'Nor Sor 3 Gor' as an evidence, which are legal certificates stating the owner's name that they have the right to such land according to the principle land administration law. This right will be protected by the law and can be used as evidence in any dispute with a private individual or the government.
A condominium title is a title to a part of a building or buildings with multiple owners, a fractional interest in the land, other common assets (such as a swimming pool) and common parts of the building (such as the stairwell or lobby). The title will state the floor area of the private apartment, the ground area of the common land and the percentage interest, in which that apartment has in the common property. This percentage also represents the voting interest in the condominium company or owners association.
Buildings other than condominiums do not have any form of title document, but their sale or long lease can be registered at the District Land Office. Proof of ownership must be established either from proof of construction or a document showing sale and purchase. Do not confuse this with the House License document, which is only a registration of the house occupants. Transfer of a building, as distinct from its land, requires the posting of 30 days public notice, to see if anyone wishes to contest the ownership. Foreigners may own a building distinct from its land and register such transfer of ownership into their names at the Local District Office or Amphoe.
Thailand has its very own units of measurements when dealing with land, which can be a little confusing at first. The units you will come across most often are talang wah and rai. Talang means squared, so 1 talang mett is 1 sqm. Metric units are used when dealing with buildings.
Thai to Metric
1 Wah = 2 m
1 Talang Wah = 4 sqm
1 Rai = 1600 sqm
1 Rai = 400 Talang Wah
1 Rai = 0.40 Acre (approx.)
1 Rai = 0.16 Hectare
1 Ngan = 100 Talang Wah
Metric to Thai
1 m = 0.5 Wah
1 sqm = 0.25 Talang Wah
1 Acre = 2.53 Rai
1 Hectare = 6.25 Rai