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 to have the right to occupy and use a building as a dwelling place.
Thai law doesn’t give a definition of the word ‘habitation’. However, if we have read Sections 1420 to 1409 of the CCC, ultimately, the rights of habitation in Thailand mean the right of a person to live in the house of another without prejudice to the property [it is the same with habitation’s rights in Roman law; Thai Barrister 2551: Sanee Pramo; professor 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 differences 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 the 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 a 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 the registration fee, and no duty stamp tax, according to Ministerial Regulation No. 47 (B.E. 2541) and Letter of Land Department No. MorTor 0515/Wor 00945 dated January 13, 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 that may not exceed thirty years or for a longer period that shall be reduced to thirty years (the same with leasehold). or for the life of the grantee. In the event that 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 the CCC).
If the time has been fixed and the grantee isn’t in breach of the contract, it can’t be terminated (Sections 386 and 1403 of the CCC).
Habitation rights are 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 to the grantee, the members of his family and his household may dwell with him (Sections 1404 and 1405 of the 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 care of his own property and do ordinary maintenance and petty repairs (Sections 1409 and 553 of the 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 that can’t be separated from nature without destroying, damaging, or altering it will be owned by the grantor (Section 144 of CCC/Supreme Judgement 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 the CCC).
Grantee’s Duties and Termination of Habitation’s Rights.
The grantee can’t use the dwelling for purposes other than those that are ordinary and usual or that 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 (Sections 1409, 552, and 553 of the CCC).
In conclusion, you may notice some differences between habitation and leasehold, e.g., compensation, registration fee, maintenance, and inheritance. If you are in need of a real estate lawyer or for more information, feel free to contact us at any time.