Leasing Property in Thailand
If you are determined to buy a condo in a building that has reached the foreign ownership limit, you have two options. One option is to arrange a long-term lease. Leases in Thailand can last for up to 30 years, and can be renewed for another 30 years. Many developers will tell you that the leases can be renewed in perpetuity-this is false. When you buy a long term lease, plan on it only being valid for 30 years. Although a lease can contain a renewal clause that is valid for one renewal, a renewal clause will only be effective if the landlord cooperates. Check to confirm that the party you are leasing from is the actual owner of the property, or has the owner's power of attorney.
You can also sublease from another renter, but only if their lease specifically allows them to sublet. Make sure your lease specifically gives you the option of subleasing the unit to others, or you will be locked in for 30 years. A long-term lease is only valid if it is registered at the Land Department, so insist on officially registering the lease.
In the past, it has been relatively common for foreigners to own property in Thailand by setting up a dummy corporation. The foreigner gives money to Thai friends who set up a Thai corporation to buy the land. Although the Thai citizens own the shares of the company on paper, they are actually nominees or sit-ins for the true foreign owners. This practice is illegal, and recently there has been increased enforcement. Thai citizens who are caught acting as nominees face criminal penalties and stiff fines. Another downside is that corporations owning land must pay a annual tax of 12.5% of the estimated rental annual rental value.