A long-term, 30-year lease is a popular option among foreigners in Thailand who desire the benefits of owning property. The advantage of a lease option over Thai usufruct, superficies or setting up a Thai company, is its relative simplicity. Contrary to a common misunderstanding, 30 years is the limit for a lease under Thai law. Although a lease agreement may include a renewal clause, automatic renewal is not permitted. The renewal must be made prior to the expiration of the lease agreement. For a Thai lease agreement of more than three years to be valid, a Thai language version must be endorsed on the owner’s land title deed, and entered on record at the local Land Department office. This is a legal requirement but also protects the lessee’s interest in the property as following registration, the name of the lessee and particulars of the lease are attached to the title deed and retained at the Land Department Office. To be legally enforceable, a Thai lease agreement must be in writing.
Notably, these leases are valid despite the death of the lessor or in circumstances where the land is sold; however, leases cannot be transferred to a third party (in whole or in part) or sublet without the permission of the lessor. In the event that the lessee transfers their rights or sublets without permission, the lease may be terminated by the lessor.
Thai leases are easy to understand, but still need to follow legal formalities. Proper legal representation, when entering into a lease, is always recommended.