Land titles: ownership and claims of use or possession
Land titles for private use can be issued by the Land Department or other government departments in Thailand. The title allows certain private use and grants certain rights to use, possess, own or transfer rights to a specified area of land in Thailand. Only the Chanote or Nor Sor 4 Jor is a true ownership land title deed in Thailand.
Land Titles issued by the Land Department are divided into 6 main categories as follows:
Sor Kor 1 (S.K. 1), is a notification form of possession of land. This document entitles the holder to occupy and utilize the S.K. 1 land, SK. 1 land may be sold or transferred to the other if the holder abandons the intention to possess the land and delivers S.K. 1 land to the transferee, it also may be passed on by inheritance. Depending on the land’s location, this document may be upgraded to Nor. Sor. 3, Nor. Sor. 3 Gor or Nor. Sor. 4 (Chanote). Sor. Kor. 1 has never been issued since 1972 and the time to upgrade this notification or apply for a proper title at the Land Department has expired, February 2010 (read bangkokpost or if this link does not work try samuiforsale). Upgrading from now on only possible through a Court procedure.
Nor Sor 2 (N.S. 2) is a consent letter issued by the Land Department to the holder. This document entitles the holder to occupy and utilize the land for a temporary period, the holder has to commence occupation and utilization on the N.S. 2 land within 6 months and have to complete the utilization on the N.S. 2 land within 3 years from the receipt of N. S. 2. N.S. 2 land may not be sold or transferred except for inheritance. Depending on the land’s location, this document may be upgraded to Sor. 3, Nor. Sor. 3 Gor or Nor. Sor. 4 (Chanote), however, after upgrade the prohibition for sale or transfer is still effective in full force.
Nor Sor 3 (N.S. 3), is an instrument which signifies the land occupier’s right to possess the land, but without conferring actual possession. The borders of the land must be confirmed by neighbors and by a ground survey before the document is issued. There are no “parcel points” i.e. numbered concrete posts which are hammered to mark the boundaries of the land. This may cause problems in verifying the land area. There are no restriction regarding the use of the land (provided that the use does not contravene any height restrictions, environment protection laws, etc.) the land may be sold subject to a 30- days notice period. This document issued by district officer (Land Office).
Nor Sor 3 Gor (N.S. 3 G.), is an instrument with the same legal basis as Nor. Sor. 3, the difference being that Nor. Sor. 3 Gor has the land area parcel points set by using the aerial survey. There is no need to publicize any legal acts, and it is possible to partition (divide) the land into smaller plots. This document issued by district officer.
Nor Sor 3 Khor (N.S. 3 K.), is an instrument with the same legal basis as Nor. Sor. 3 Gor, the difference being that Nor. Sor. 3 Khor issued in the area which has no parcel points set by using the aerial survey. There is no need to publicize any legal acts, and it is possible to partition (divide) the land into smaller plots. This document issued by land officer.
Nor Sor 5 (N.S. 5) is a document showing the verification in the right of the holder in the N.S. 5 land, if the holder has N.S. 5 land along with utilization certificate, it indicate that the district officer has confirmed the utilization on such N.S. 5 land, so this N.S. 5 land with the utilization certificate can be sold or transfer to other person by registration at the land office, however, if the holder have N.S. 5 with S.K. 1 or have only N.S. 5 without any other supporting evidence, it indicate that the district officer has not yet confirmed the utilization on such N.S. 5 land and this N.S. 5 may not be sold or transferred except for inheritance.
Nor Sor 4 Jor (N.S. 4 J.) or Chanote title deed is the only document which can be described as a land freehold title deed, because it is the only one confirming the ownership of the land. The land is accurately surveyed and its area and boundaries are determined by using GPS. There is no need to publicize any legal acts, and it is possible to partition (divide) the land into smaller plots. This document issued by land officer.
Land Title documents issued by other government departments (other than the land department) are divided into 5 main categories as follows:
Sor Por Gor 4-01 (S.P.G.. 4-01), is an allotment of land from the Land Reformative Committee, and under no circumstance may this land be bought or sold. It confers the right to occupy only and be transferred only by inheritance. It seems that the land may be used for agriculture only.
Sor Tor Gor (S.T.G.), is an instrument issued only in the zone of national reserved forest, the holder of this title document have the right to reside and live on the STG. land. STG. land is prohibited for sale, however, the right of the holder to reside and live on the STG. land can be passed on heir by inheritance. This document issued by the Forest Department.
Por Bor Tor 5 (P.B.T. 5), is an evidence showing that the occupier of a plot of land has been issued a tax number and has paid tax for using the benefit of the land. This confers no right at all but was formerly used to establish that the holder was occupying a plot of land and could apply for a Sor Kor 1.
In practice only viable land titles for long term registered rent (lease) or purchase are the ones issued by the Land Department, and from the land title Nor Sor Sam up to Nor Sor 4 Jor (Chanote) are the only serious and interesting land titles as rights of sale and lease can be registered by the competent authority (i.e. the Land Department) and offer confirmed rights of possession or ownership.
Land Measurements in Thailand (rai, ngan, wah). Land prices are usually expressed in baht per rai or (for smaller plots) baht per wah. For building the decimal system of units based on the meter as a unit length is used in Thailand.
1 Rai 4 Ngan (or 1600 Sq.m.)
1 Ngan 100 Wah (or 400 Sq.m.)
1 Wah 4 Sq.m.
1 Acre 2.5 Rai (approx.)
1 Hectare 6.25 Rai (approx.)