Superficies in Thai Property Law

Superficies in Thai Property Law. For foreigners interested in owning property in Thailand, navigating the legalities can be complex. One option, the right of superficies, offers a unique way to gain ownership of a building on land you don’t own. Let’s delve into the world of superficies in Thai property law.

What is Superficies?

Superficies grants the right to build on or under another person’s land. In essence, you can own the structures you build (buildings, plantations) without owning the land itself. This right is registered with the Land Department, becoming a recognized interest in the property.

Key Points About Superficies

Here are some essential aspects of superficies to consider:

  • Term: Superficies can be established for a fixed period (up to 30 years), the lifetime of the landowner, or the lifetime of the superficiary (the person granted the right).
  • Transferability: The right of superficies can be transferred to a third party or inherited.
  • Responsibilities: The superficiary is responsible for maintaining the land and the structures built on it.
  • Termination: Upon termination of the superficies, the superficiary may remove their buildings, restoring the land to its original condition, unless the landowner chooses to purchase the structures at market value.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Superficies


  • Foreign Ownership: Superficies allows foreigners to effectively own a building in Thailand, even though they cannot own the land.
  • Long-Term Security: With a long-term superficies (e.g., 30 years), you can enjoy significant use of the property.


  • Land Ownership Restrictions: You don’t own the land, potentially limiting appreciation value.
  • Landowner’s Rights: The landowner retains certain rights over the property, as outlined in the superficies agreement.
  • Land Department Approval: Land Department approval for registering a superficies can be discretionary and may not always be granted.

Considering Superficies? Consult a Lawyer

Superficies can be a valuable tool for property ownership in Thailand, but it’s crucial to understand its intricacies. Consulting a qualified Thai property lawyer is essential. They can:

  • Explain the legalities of superficies in detail.
  • Advise on the suitability of superficies for your specific situation.
  • Draft a watertight superficies agreement that protects your interests.

By carefully considering superficies and seeking legal advice, you can make informed decisions about property ownership in Thailand.

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