Buying property is not everyone’s idea of retirement in Thailand or living in Thailand. Many expats opt to buy the property after having lived in the property for a few years. There is good reason for that. You might discover that twice a month they hold a disco outside the property or that the traffic on a Monday morning is not what you expected. If you bought then there is no way out and property leasing comes in as a solution.
Lease agreements in Thailand are either for a condo unit, villa or house. These can be a short rental or long term rental agreement. Note that the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand regulates these lease agreements. Most lease agreements in Thailand are for less than 3 years. These types of leases do not need to be registered with the Thai government. If the agreement is for a longer period then this would have to be properly drafted and registered against the property at the Land Department in Thailand. Note however that in Thailand the maximum lease can be 30 years. If it is industrial land then the maximum period is 50 years. Note also that the residential lease agreements for 30 years can be renewed for another two agreements which leaves you with a possible 90 year lease if you conclude your agreements back to back. That is not common in Thailand as most agreements tend to be for 20 years as these tend to be people who have retired in Thailand and only want the property until such time that they die.
Lease Agreements in Thailand
As the lease has been registered over the property, should the owner sell the property then the lease agreement and its conditions will still be in place. This is the primary purpose of registering the lease agreement longer than 3 years. This is so that the buyer of the property can read the agreement as well before buying the property. If you are placing the property in the name of your Thai wife then you might think that a lease agreement over the property would be a good guarantee in the event of a divorce. Speak to a property lawyer in Thailand for advice as guidance as there are a number of options such as a usufruct or a superficies over the property. Consider all your options before you consider a lease agreement.
There are many advantages to a lease agreement. You can take a lease agreement for 3 years and have it registered and place in the agreement an option to buy the property during or after the lease agreement expires. This is very common in Thailand. As stated above that if you don’t know the area and looking to buy then renting in the area first is a good idea rather than trying to sell the property again.
Speak to a lawyer in Phuket for sound advice and assistance while in Thailand. The money spent on a proper legal advice might save you headaches and litigation later.