In this article we are going to give you essential information about habitation in Thailand under the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand (CCC). This right is an optional personal real right of having a right to occupy and use a building as a dwelling place.
Thai law doesn’t give the definition of the word ‘habitation’. However, if we have read the Sections 1420 to 1409 of the CCC. Ultimately, the rights of habitation in Thailand means the right of a person to live in the house of another without prejudice to the property [it is the same with habitatio’s rights in Roman’s law; Thai Barrister 2551: Sanee Pramo; profesor in law].
This type of right can be granted only to the building, not including land which applies to Superficies. However, it is similar to a leasehold, you will see some difference between.
Importantly, the Habitation Contract is subject to the condition of validity. To have complete protection under the law, it needs to be made in writing and registered by the land department (Section 139 and 1299 of CCC).
Section 1402 of CCC stipulates that a person who has been granted a right of habitation in a building is entitled to occupy such a building as a dwelling place without paying rent fee. You may notice that at the time of registration of habitation with the Land Department, you will be allowed to declare zero compensation which means no eating tax, no 1% of registration fee and no duty stamp tax, according to the Ministerial Regulation No. 47 (B.E. 2541) and Letter of Land Department No. MorTor 0515/Wor 00945 dated 13 January B.E. 2549. In conclusion, it’s cheaper than a leasehold registration.
Period of Time
Habitation’s rights may be created either for a period of time which may not exceed thirty years, a longer period shall be reduced to thirty years (the same with leasehold). Or, for the life of the grantee. In case, it is granted for a period of time, It may be renewed for a period not exceeding thirty years from the time of renewal. If no time has been fixed, it may be terminated at any time by giving reasonable notice to the grantee (Section 1403 of CCC).
If the time has been fixed and the grantee isn’t in breach of the contract, it can’t be terminated (Section 386 and 1403 of CCC).
The right of habitation’s rights is not transferable either by contract or by inheritance. However, during the period of time or life of the grantee, if the right of habitation isn’t expressly limited only for the grantee, the members of his family and his household may dwell with him (Section 1404 and 1405 of CCC).
Because the habitation’s right may be granted without compensation. Therefore, the grantor isn’t bound to maintain the property in a good state. The grantee is bound to maintain the property as a person of ordinary prudence would take of his own property, and to do ordinary maintenance and petty repairs. (Section 1409 and 553 of CCC). Also, the grantee cannot claim reimbursement of expenses made by him for improvements to the property (Section 1407).
It should be noted that the improvements to the land which can’t be separated without destroying, damaging or altering it from nature will be owned by the grantor (Section 144 of CCC/Supreme Judgment No. 791/2478). However, the grantor and grantee may create their rights differently because the above points aren’t contrary to public order or good morals (Section 150 of CCC).
Grantee’s Duties and Termination of Habitation’s rights.
The grantee can’t use the dwelling for the purpose other than those which are ordinary and usual, or which have been provided in the contract. Also, the grantee has to maintain the property; if not, the grantor may notify the grantee to comply with the said and if the grantee fails to do so, the habitation’s right may be terminated (Section 1409, 552 and 553 of CCC).
In conclusion, you may notice some differences between the habitation and leasehold e.g. compensation, registration fee, maintaining and inheritance. If you are in need of a real estate lawyer or for more information feel free to contract us at any time.