Expats who own land illegally in Thailand could be deported under tough new laws being drafted by the government.
Thai ombudsman Siracha Charoenpanij said earlier this month that he was drawing up "carrot-and-stick" legislation to protect the country from illegal foreign nominee ownership.
Under Thai laws, foreign nationals are not allowed to own residential land. They can, however, buy apartments so long as no more than 49 per cent of a development is owned by foreigners. They can also purchase detached villas, but while they can own the house, they cannot own the land the house is on and are only able to lease it for 30 years at a time.
To get around these restrictions, some have entered into complicated structures whereby a company is set up to purchase the land. A Thai national holds the majority of shares in that company, but in reality may have no financial interest in the company and may own it on behalf of the foreign buyer.
It is these such "nominee ownership" arrangements that the government now wants to crack down on, and Charoenpanij has also proposed a reward – of 20 per cent of the land’s value when sold – for those providing information about illegal ownership. His plans also include penalties for lawyers or consultants who advise foreign buyers on nominee structures. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/expat-money/9413075/Expats-warned-of-illegal-home-crackdown-in-Thailand.html