The rights of Superficies in Thailand

Foreigners can gain the use of land by being granted a right of Superficies in Thailand. It is particularly useful for foreigners who wish to develop property in Thailand. Here we take a look at what the right is, what the benefits are, and the laws regarding the agreement.

Table of Contents
  1. What is the right of superficies?
  2. The terms of the right of superficies in Thailand
  3. The benefits of the right of Superficies

What is the right of superficies?

A superficies is the right to build on another person’s land and that right gives property investors the ability to register their own house on land separately from the land itself.

The person (the superficiary) who benefits from this right is expected to keep the land in good condition and, once the superficies has expired, the land is expected to be in the same condition as it was before the superficies was granted.

The right is granted for up to 30 years, or for the lifetime of either party involved in the transaction. If upon expiration of the superficies the landowner wishes to buy any building on the land at the current market price, the superficiary is obliged to grant the sale.

For a real estate investor, a right of Superficies means they automatically own anything that they build on the land. The superficiary has the right to transfer the superficies by way of inheritance, and the superficies does not become void if the owner of the land dies.

This differs from lease agreements in Thai law, where the agreement is considered an agreement between the parties and not tied to the land.

The terms of the right of superficies in Thailand

The terms of superficies can be for a set period of time, or until the death of the landowner or the superficiary.

If the superficies is to be granted for a set period of time, the maximum length of time permitted is 30 years. The superficies can be granted again, but the landowner is under no obligation to do so. Superficies can also be registered in combination with a land lease, or separately. Upon their death, the superficies can be passed on to heirs and the superficies will remain intact, provided the superficies was granted for a set period.

The laws that cover the right of Superficies in Thailand are found in the civil and commercial code.

The sections are listed below:

  • Section 1410: The landowner can grant the right to another person to build on the land.
  • Section 1411: The superficies can be transferred by inheritance.
  • Section 1412: The superficies can be granted for a set period of time, or until the end of the life of the superficiary or the landowner.
  • Section 1413: The superficies can be terminated if it was not granted under a set period of time.
  • Section 1414: The superficies may be terminated if the rent was not paid for two consecutive years, or if the superficiary defaults on other conditions stated when the superficies agreement was created.
  • Section 1415: The superficies is not invalidated by the destruction of buildings on the property.
  • Section 1416: The superficiary is permitted to remove structures from the land, provided the land is left in good condition. Alternatively, the landowner can offer to purchase structures at market price, and the superficiary must agree.

The benefits of the right of Superficies

One of the main benefits of the right of Superficies in Thailand is that the superficiary is granted permission to construct buildings on the property. This makes it suitable for developers and people who want to build a home of their own.

Another key benefit is that, if the agreement is for a set period of time, it is not cancelled in the case of the landowner dying.

The ability to create an agreement until the end of the life of the superficiary is another benefit for people looking for long-term options. This is ideal for foreigners in Thailand who want a permanent home in the country.

Once the agreement is over, the superficiary is also permitted to remove the constructions that belong to them. They can also sell the buildings to the landowner, if the landowner agrees to purchase them.