Usufructs in Thailand

Usufructs in Thailand. For those interested in Thai property, understanding usufructs is crucial. Unlike freehold ownership, which grants full ownership rights, a usufruct provides a temporary right to use and enjoy another person's property. This can be a valuable tool for both foreign investors and Thai nationals looking for specific benefits.

What is a Usufruct?

In Thai, a usufruct is called "Sidhi-kep-kin" and translates to a temporary transfer of ownership rights for using and enjoying a property. The usufructuary, the person granted the right, can live in the property, rent it out, and even generate profits from it. However, they must maintain the property in good condition and return it to the owner in the same state upon termination of the usufruct.

Key Points About Usufructs in Thailand

  • Usufruct vs. Ownership: Unlike a property owner, a usufructuary cannot sell the property or transfer the usufruct rights.
  • Term: Usufructs can be established for a fixed term, typically years, or for the lifetime of the usufructuary.
  • Registration: A usufruct agreement needs to be registered at the local Land Department to become legally binding.
  • Obligations of the Usufructuary: Maintaining the property, paying taxes and related expenses, and returning it in good condition are the usufructuary's responsibilities.

Benefits of Using a Usufruct

  • Foreigners and Land Ownership: Since foreign individuals cannot directly own land in Thailand, a usufruct allows them to enjoy similar benefits of ownership, like living in a house or earning rental income.
  • Estate Planning: Usufructs can be used for estate planning purposes. For example, parents can grant a usufruct to their children while retaining ownership.
  • Spousal Protection: In marriages between a Thai national and a foreigner, a usufruct can protect the foreign spouse's interest in a property registered under the Thai spouse's name.

Things to Consider

  • Termination: Usufructs can terminate upon expiry of the term, death of the usufructuary, or due to reasons outlined in the agreement.
  • Restrictions: Renting the property under a usufruct might have limitations, especially for foreigners. Consulting a lawyer is advisable.
  • Not a Perfect Substitute: While offering advantages, a usufruct doesn't provide the same level of control and security as full ownership.


Usufructs in Thailand offer a unique way to use and enjoy property. Understanding the benefits and limitations is essential before entering into a usufruct agreement. Consulting with a qualified Thai property lawyer is highly recommended to ensure the agreement meets your specific needs and complies with Thai law.

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