Usufructs in Thailand

Usufructs in Thailand. The Thai property market caters to a wide range of interests, attracting both those seeking to purchase property outright and those interested in temporary use rights. If you’re considering enjoying the benefits of a Thai property without the full commitment of ownership, a usufruct might be the perfect solution. Let’s explore what usufructs are and how they can be advantageous in Thailand.

What is a Usufruct?

A usufruct, known as “Sidhi-kep-kin” in Thai, grants temporary ownership rights for using and enjoying a property. Think of it as a legal agreement where one party (owner) transfers these rights to another (usufructuary) for a specified period. The usufructuary can live in the property, rent it out, and even collect any profits generated. However, they have a responsibility to maintain the property in good condition and return it to the owner in the same state it was received.

Benefits of a Usufruct

Usufructs offer several advantages in the Thai property landscape:

  • Foreign Land Use: Foreigners are generally prohibited from owning land in Thailand. A usufruct allows them to enjoy the benefits of land use for a set period, providing a residential option or investment opportunity.
  • Estate Planning: Usufructs can be a valuable estate planning tool. Landowners can grant usufruct rights to their spouse or children, ensuring their continued use of the property after the owner’s passing.
  • Flexibility: Usufructs are flexible in terms of duration. They can be established for a fixed term, such as 30 years, or even for the lifetime of the usufructuary.

Important Considerations

While usufructs offer attractive benefits, there are some key points to remember:

  • Not Ownership: The usufructuary doesn’t own the property; they only have the right to use and enjoy it. This means they cannot sell the property or the usufruct right itself.
  • Maintenance Responsibilities: The usufructuary is responsible for maintaining the property and paying associated taxes and utilities.
  • Termination: Usufructs can terminate upon the expiry of the agreed-upon period, the death of the usufructuary, or in some cases, a breach of the agreement by the usufructuary.

Seeking Professional Advice

Given the legal complexities involved, consulting with a Thai property lawyer is crucial before entering into a usufruct agreement. They can help you:

  • Draft a Clear and Comprehensive Agreement: A well-drafted agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties, minimizing potential disputes.
  • Navigate Registration: Usufructs must be registered with the Land Department to be legally enforceable.
  • Understand Tax Implications: There might be tax implications for both the owner and the usufructuary, and your lawyer can help you navigate these.


Usufructs offer a unique way to utilize property in Thailand. By understanding the benefits and limitations, and with the guidance of a qualified lawyer, you can determine if a usufruct aligns with your goals in the Thai property market.

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