How are rights on land evidenced in Thailand? Now this is a tricky question because land documents such as NS-4 (Chanote), NS-3K (Nor. Sor. Sam Kor.) or NS-3 (Nor. Sor. Sam), which we discussed in the previous posts, only serve to evidence rights to land and contain no mention of the structures built on the land (if any).
In other words land titles may not serve as evidence of ownership of the buildings built on the land.
Is the Tabian Baan a proof of ownership of a building?
Secondly and contrary to a popular belief, the “Tabian Baan” or “Census Registration”, also known as the “Blue Book”, is not a direct proof of ownership to a building.
The “Tabian Baan” is an official document issued by the government that is evidence of a household and of the registered address of the persons living in a building. It will also contain information, such as house location, house configuration, house number; details of the people living in the house i.e. name, surname, ID card number, original domicile, mother’s name, father’s name, and date of birth.
The “Tabian Baan” also indicates who the chief of the household is. There are two types of “Tabian Baan”:
(1) The census registration (Tor. Ror. 14) blue book is used to record the details of persons of Thai nationality or foreigners who have resident permits (Resident means resident status under the Immigration Act).
(2) The yellow census registration (Tor. Ror. 13) book is used to record the details of foreigners who legally reside in Thailand, but do not yet have residency permit status (Resident means resident status under the Immigration Act) .
The “Tabian Baan” may eventually create a presumption that the chief of a household is the owner of a building, but is not absolute proof of ownership.
If the title deed or the Tabien Baan are not proof of ownership of a building then what then?
What is accession?
A legal principle called “accession” rules that the accessory follows the principal. Applied to real estate, this principle means, among other things, that the ownership of a building follows “in principle” the ownership of the land on which this building is build.
In Thailand, this principle is mentioned by section 139 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code that stipulates, “Immovable property denotes land and things fixed permanently to land forming a body therewith. It includes real rights connected with land or things fixed to or forming a body with land.”
In the principle of accession absolute?
Does the principle of accession mean that the owner of the land rights is always the owner of the building? Of course not, otherwise it would be too easy.
Now the fact is that the principle of accession is not absolute; and section 146 of the Thai Civil and Commercial code also rules that “Things temporarily fixed to land or to a building do not become component parts of the land or building. The same rule applies to a building or other structure which, in the exercise of a right over another person’s land, has been fixed to the land by the person who has such right.”
Furthermore, Thai Supreme Court has long ago acknowledged that buildings are a form of immovable property that can be owned separately from the land.
Therefore, a careful buyer who wants to purchase both land and building should not assume the owner of the land is also the owner of the house build on that land, because it is possible to dissociate the ownership of land and any buildings constructed on the land.
In tomorrow post we shall discuss how to determine who the owner of a building is?
Note: This post is an excerpt of Rene Philippe Dubout first book: “How to Purchase Real Estate Offshore Safely: The Case of Thailand” published in february 2009. Second edition to be published in October 2009 under the title “How to Safely Purchase Real Estate in Thailand”
About the Author:
The author Rene-Philippe DUBOUT is a lawyer since 1990 when he was admitted to Geneva bar (Switzerland). He practiced as a litigator there for 10 years until he moved to Thailand in 1999. In 2002 he founded with a group of Thai lawyers Rene Philippe & Partners Ltd a local law firm that specialized in Cross Borders Investments and Real Estate. He has been lecturing in several Thai Universities and a speaker to numerous conferences and seminars. He is the author of a must read book:”How to Purchase Real Estate Offshore Safely: The Case of Thailand”.
© Copyrights 2009 – Rene Philippe Dubout – This article may be reprinted if information about the author, the websites, and the URLs remain intact.
Originally posted 2009-09-21 04:06:25.