There are many types of land classifications in Thailand (defined historically or by the type of survey), but the ones that are most likely to be encountered in Krabi today are:
Land Title Deed
A Chanote (Nor Sor4Jor) is a freehold land title deed issued by the provincial office of the Thai Land Department which gives the owner full rights of possession. Chanote titled land may be sold, leased, or used as mortgage collateral. Ownership is protected by the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand. Owners of a condominium will be issued a Chanote deed once all legal work is completed. The Chanote will only include space included within the main structure. It may not include balconies, and will not cover any ground floor land or facilities (like a swimming pool) that go beyond the building footprint.
A Chanote is only issued once an entire geographic area undergoes a specific type of GPS survey where the land is plotted in on a national survey grid and is marked by unique numbered marker posts. Many areas of Thailand are still undergoing this survey process.
As such, there are areas and
districts in Thailand where Chanotes are not yet issued, mostly in
undeveloped rural areas. Krabi is currently going through a process of
re-surveying land area by area so that some areas are now issuing Chanotes
and some of the more rural areas are not.
A Chanote allows for
development of the land within the parameters of local district, provincial,
and/or national zoning and building regulations. In addition, Chanote
land may be left 'unattended'.
When a Chanote is issued,
restrictions, limitations or liens, may be noted on the back side. For example,
it is practice that land that is registered for the first time (i.e. changed
from Bor Tor 5 or Sor Kor to a Chanote) will have a
restriction that the land may not be sold within ten years.
Land partition of more than 9 plots must be carried out according to the Land Allotment Law. The main requirement is that the division must be approved by the neighboring land owners. In some cases, this may be a slow and difficult process. Once a piece of land has been divided, a wait of 3 years is required for any subsequent divisions (up to a maximum of 9).
A Chanote is the most secure
type of registration, but is not without risks.
If a Chanote was issued (a
complex process requiring multiple signatures by various governmental
departments) in an 'illegal' manner, the Chanote can be 'challenged' by
the Parks, Forestry, and/or Land Department at a later time. Challenges to the
legality of a Chanote might occur when visible development of the land
in question begins. The buyer, in most cases, will not know the history of the
registration and is legally in the clear. However, the result of any challenge
could be time-consuming legal processes before any development is allowed
The legality of a Chanote is
dependent on whether there were any restrictions on the land and its use at the
time of issue which were illegally ignored. These restrictions might be due to
National Parks or Forestry boundaries, local Wildlife Refuges, or mineral
concession areas. In Krabi, there are potential problems like these with land
on any island (Koh Lanta in particular) and in the coastal areas like Klong
Muang where there are numerous Park, Forestry, and Wildlife areas.
In protecting oneself from this type
of problem, thorough research is required. It is extremely difficult to
research the provenance of a Chanote as this requires access to all the
relevant information which may include information from the National Parks,
Forestry, and Lands Departments. This requires working with people who have
connections. Getting up-to-date and accurate maps locally is almost impossible
and involves each Department separately. There is only one 'true' official map
for each Department and this resides with a central group in Bangkok. These are
very closely held and not available to the public (in spite of a Public
Information Act which is supposed to make this type of information accessible
Nor Sor3 & Nor Sor 3 Kor Utilization Certificate
The Nor Sor3 and Nor
Sor 3 Kor (newer survey type) is the normal registration in many parts of
Thailand, and it grants almost the same rights as a Chanote. Like the Chanote,
Nor Sor3 and Nor Sor3Kor land may be
sold, leased, or used as mortgage collateral. Ownership is also protected by
the Civil and Commercial Code. However, Nor Sor3Kor land
cannot be unused for more than 12 years. (The normal way to deal with this
restriction is to plant trees with commercial value on the land: rubber, oil
palm, sataw or cashew.)
The surveying process for the Nor
Sor3Kor is at a lower degree of accuracy than the Chanote.
However, unlike the Nor Sor3 where the survey only covers the
individual plot (and scales vary), the Nor Sor3Kor shows
parcel points on the map, and is done by aerial survey to set the points and
the land area. It is also possible to verify adjacent land areas and it always
uses the same scale of 1:5000. Each Nor Sor3Kor
Certificate should have a surveyed diagram of the land showing the post numbers
(these are not the same as the GPS coordinates). (In addition, there is a local
master map for the area called a Pan Tii Rawang – ‘Between Map’ – which
can be used to show each plot in a particular area and where roads, drainage
areas, public land, etc. are marked.)
A Nor Sor3Kor
is issued by the Amphoe (District) Land Office. If an entire geographic area
has not been officially surveyed to the latest government standards, the Nor
Sor3 will be the highest level of deed that can be issued in that
area (see Chanote).
When an entire area has been
surveyed up to standard, all the Nor Sor3Kor land in
this area can be changed to Chanote. Legally, this is an automatic
process with minimal fees, but in practice may take time and require unofficial
Sor Kor 1 Land Possession Certificate
The Sor Kor 1 is a historic
type of land title that gives the owner to right to automatically change the
classification to a Nor Sor3Kor (since 1954) or Chanote.
Sor Kor 1 land is still common in Krabi.
The main problem with this type of
land is the accuracy of the land information as the survey process may have
been very inaccurate, and the survey covers only the specified piece of land
with no grid or numbering system. The land was also not recorded on a master
map covering adjacent property.
The result of this inaccuracy is the
prevalence of ‘Flying’ Sor Kor 1 land titles. These are Sor Kor 1 certificates
that have been issued for a specific piece of land, but are then applied to
another piece somewhere else. In the process of changing the land status, this
will be found out and it will be impossible for a deed to be issued. It is also
common for one Sor Kor 1 to be used for multiple plots and multiple
times. When it comes time to change to a full title this will be discovered.
Sor Kor 1 certification cannot be transferred
except to an heir, so Sor Kor 1 land should be changed to a Chanote
or Nor Sor3Kor by the original land owner–as registered
on the Sor Kor 1–before purchase by another person. A foreigner or
company cannot own or lease Sor Kor 1 land legally.
Tor Bor Tor5 Local District Registration
The Bor Tor5 is not
an official land registration. It is a type of homestead land where people have
been living or farming, in some cases for many years, but where the land is not
registered at the Land Office. Normally Bor Tor5 land occupancy
is recorded only within the local community with the Village Head of the
specific “Muu” (village). Permanent structures may not be built on Bor Tor 5
land and there is no legal right to ownership.
Historically taxes were paid on the Bor
Tor5 land and there was a record of this payment at the Land
Office. The law has changed to that In practice, so that Bor Tor5 land
is no longer taxed and has no official status whatsoever. It is considered
public land with individual access rights. As there is a huge amount of Bor
Tor5 land throughout Thailand, the future of this type of
registration is unclear. Declaring such land in the public domain with no
individual rights will cause monumental political problems.
The purchase of Bor Tor5
land is an unregistered deal between 2 individuals and very high risk. No
standard survey is required. A foreigner or a company cannot own or
lease Bor Tor5 land legally.
Land & Title Problems
One of the most important issues relating to a plot of land is road access. If the property is not directly on a main road, a check needs to be made of the access status. If the land is on a public access road (it is legally recognized as such by the local authority Or Bor Tor and is registered with the Land Department) there should be no problem. A second safe solution for access is to own the land the road is on.
It is highly risky to
rent an access road as there are many instances where the cost of extending a
road lease has gone up to an unrealistically high level. A road land owner has
enormous leverage where there is no free access. In addition, there could be
problems putting utilities like electricity and water on a rented road.
There are also a
number of general problems with land titles, but the most common ones are:
Title Deed does not match the actual land plot. This is a common problem
in Krabi. A careful check is needed of documentation to make sure it
matches the actual land and adjacent plots.
land has been sold more than once. This is also not uncommon in Krabi. To
prevent this, one has to be sure that you are dealing with the official
Title Document that corresponds exactly to the one which is registered at
the Land Office.
are restrictions on the land title. These should be noted on the back of
the Chanote or Nor Sor3Kor title where
restrictions are recorded. The most common restriction is on the
resale of the property within 10 years for newly registered land.
is a legitimate title, but the land is actually within a Forestry, Park,
or Wildlife area. This puts a new owner in a legal grey area because a Nor
Sor3Kor or Chanote gives the owner full legal
rights to the land and its use (within normal development restrictions)
and a buyer would not know that the title was ‘illegally’ obtained. This
would only be discovered on investigation by the appropriate government
authorities. In Krabi it is important to have a detailed knowledge of the
geographic area and of the possible restrictions. For example, between Ao
Nang and Kong Muang there is a large Wildlife Refuge where development is
prohibited. In some cases, the land owner is not aware of this. In others,
he or she is and is hoping not to get caught out before the land is sold.
person selling the land is not the true owner. This usually involves
disputes within families, but can cause serious problems, some of them
after the land is sold. Again full research on the title and its history
is required. Also, when a piece of land is registered, each adjacent land
owner is required to verify the boundaries and ownership. This all can be
(Please Note: The explanations above are informed background information
and are NOT legal advice.)
Copyright by KrabiLand for all Text & ImagesLast Updated August 2013 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org