Hua Hi, Thailand

Usufruct in Thailand

Usufruct in Thailand. For foreigners interested in Thailand’s property market, land ownership presents a hurdle. Thai law restricts foreign direct ownership of land. However, a legal mechanism called “usufruct” offers a compelling alternative, granting foreigners rights to use and enjoy property for a predetermined period.


Imagine having a vacation home in Thailand, but without the ownership title. A usufruct allows you exactly that. It grants the usufructuary (the person receiving the right) the power to live in, rent out, or otherwise benefit from the property, similar to an owner. They can even generate income by renting it out. However, there are key distinctions from ownership.

Unlike a landowner, a usufructuary cannot sell the property or make any permanent changes that would diminish its value. They are also responsible for maintaining the property and paying associated taxes. The usufruct agreement itself has a fixed term, which can range from a few years to the lifetime of the usufructuary.


Usufruct agreements are established through a formal contract between the owner (landowner) and the usufructuary, followed by registration at the Land Department. This registration creates a “servitude” on the land title, essentially a legal restriction on the owner’s rights until the usufruct expires.


While usufruct offers significant advantages for foreigners seeking property enjoyment in Thailand, it’s important to understand the limitations. Firstly, usufruct rights cannot be inherited. Upon the usufructuary’s death, the rights revert to the landowner. Secondly, foreign usufructuaries may face limitations on renting the property, particularly for extended periods. Consulting a Thai real estate lawyer is crucial to navigate these specifics.

Despite these considerations, usufruct remains a valuable tool for those seeking a long-term connection to Thai property. It allows foreigners to experience the benefits of property ownership, like residence or income generation, without the limitations of direct land ownership.

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