Thailand land titles
All real estate transactions ultimately relate to land, land ownership and title deeds.
👉 SUNWAY comment
Even when it comes to condominiums - seemingly non-landed property - the 49% foreign quota restriction comes from the fact that the condominium as a legal entity overall should remain under majorly Thai ownership so that it can own the land plot it stands on.
Land title deeds are the documents issued by Thai government that shows rights to land (in case of Chanote - ownership rights), as well as list any registered encumbrances, such as mortgage of long-term lease.
In general, if you deal with land or house purchase you would (and probably should) be dealing with Chanote - as it’s the only land title that gives true full ownership of the land; occasionally Nor Sor 3 titles are acceptable - they indicate confirmed possession rights of the land, similar to ownership. However, for academic purposes let’s consider all the main land title documents.
Sor Kor Nung (SK1)
SK1 is a notification of possession of land, which shows and maintains existing property rights over a particular land. It allows the owner to occupy and use the land (generally for agricultural purposes).
This form originates from 1954, when the government urged all land proprietors to notify their possession of land by issuing Sor Kor Nung notification form, with the intention to later legally prove this ownership and for government to issue 'Nor Sor 3' or 'Nor Sor 3 Gor’ forms.
This form gives the right to sell or transfer it via inheritance, however the act of transfer here would not amount to more than passing over SK1 and factual possession of land from one person to another. It’s not possible to register any rights (sale, lease, mortgage, etc) over this type of land.
In general most of rights in case of SK1 land come from the actual occupation of land, and not the form itself.
No new Sor Kor Nung forms have been issued since 1972, and it’s not been possible to upgrade it to the Nor Sor or Chanote form since 2010.
Nor Sor Song (NS2)
NS2 is a consent letter issued by land department to give someone rights to temporarily occupy and use a land plot. Such person must occupy and start using land no later than 6 months and complete utilization of land no later that 3 years after NS2 has been issued. The land cannot be sold or transferred except by inheritance. Depending on land’s location, NS2 can be upgraded to Nor Sor 3, Nor Sor 3 Gor or Chanote, however the prohibition on sale or transfer of the land will still remain in effect.
Nor Sor Saam (NS3)
NS3 shows persons rights to possess certain plot of land, however the boundaries must be confirmed with neighboring plots. It means that the land has not been yet officially measure and parcel points (numbered concrete posts marking boundaries of the land) has not been set.
Land under NS3 can be sold, leased or developed (as long as the building on it complies with relevant regulations, naturally). Such transactions, as well as any encumbrance can be registered with land department.
Sale or mortgage of land under NS3 are subject to 30 days public notice period: information must be published at Land Department, and, if no objections are raised over 30 days period, the transaction can be registered.
NS3 gives the person, whose name is on the form, legal rights to possess and use the benefits of the land as an owner, however it is not actual ownership.
NS3 can later be switched to Nor Sor Saam Gor and subsequently upgraded to full Chanote.
Nor Sor Saam Gor (NS3G)
NS3G is basically upgraded NS3, in which the boundaries of land have been inspected and confirmed accurately surveyed in relation to neighboring plots, and parcel points have been set using an aerial survey. The possession rights have been, as such, confirmed and transaction regarding the plot don’t need to be published anymore. Rights against the land can be registered, and land can be subdivided into smaller plots.
Nor Sor Saam Khor (NS3K)
NS3K is an analogue of Nor Sor Saam Gor, however issued without parcel points having been set by aerial survey.
Nor Sor Si Jor (NS4J), also known as Chanote
Officially called Nor Sor 4, but more commonly referred to as Chanote. This is the only true ownership land title deed. Land plots under Chanote have been accurately surveyed and GPS plotted according to a national survey grid and marked by unique numbered marker posts set in the ground. There is no general restrictions on the use of the land, the land can be subdivided into smaller plots. Legal acts regarding the land do not have to be published.
If you are planning to buy land in Thailand, you will mostly be dealing with land under Chanote title.