Land Laws in Thailand
A crackdown on foreigners who own land in Phuket is imminent following the Land Department’s findings that the majority of the land in the province is held by foreigners through Thai nominees. Moreover, the Land Department is looking to implement harsher penalties to both foreigners and their Thai nominees if found guilty.
The penalties include confiscation of the property in question and deportation of the foreigner while the Thai nominees can face imprisonment and exorbitant fines.
Foreigners are not allowed to own land in Thailand but there are alternative ownership options provided by the law so they may be able use a piece of land at least for residential purposes. Among the most popular approach towards land ownership in Thailand is through a Thai company. A Thai company is majority Thai owned therefore it can buy the land although foreigners own shares in the company. The land of course will be bought through the company’s name. The problem starts when the company uses a nominee shareholder or a dummy shareholder to be able to form the company and buy a piece of land.