In general, Thai law prohibits individual foreigners from owning Thai land exclusively. However, foreign investors can purchase land under the Investment Promotion Act if they are engaged in industries encouraged by the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI). At the same time, expatriates can set up joint ventures in Thailand to legally buy properties with plots of land and villas in Thailand.
Thailand's Land Code also stipulates that a foreigner who brings in an investment of not less than 40 million baht from abroad may, upon procedural application and approval by the Thai authorities, have full ownership of not more than 1 rai (approximately 2.4 acres, 1,600 square meters) of land for residential purposes; the land shall be located in the Bangkok metropolitan area, Pattaya or other areas specified in the Town Planning Law, and the business must be beneficial to Thailand and the capital invested must be retained in Thailand for at least three years.
In addition, Thailand's Building Control Act stipulates that foreigners can purchase Thai apartments in their personal name with a passport, have freehold property rights, and are protected by Thai law, generally not exceeding 49% of the total area of the entire apartment building. In an apartment building with 100 rooms, for example, only 49 of them can be sold to foreigners, while the other 51 must be held by Thai people or Thai companies.
However, foreigners may own more than 49 percent of the area of an apartment building if they apply before 27 April 2004, if the building is located in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area or within the prefectural or district boundaries prescribed by the regulations of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and if the total land area of the building does not exceed 5 rai.