Superficies in Thai Property Law

Superficies in Thai Property Law. The concept of superficies plays a vital role in Thai property law, offering a unique way to own buildings or structures on land belonging to someone else. Here’s a breakdown of what superficies entails:

What is Superficies?

Superficies, derived from Latin, refers to the legal right to own a building or other permanent structure erected on land owned by another party. This grants the superficies holder ( superficiary) ownership of the building itself, separate from the land underneath.

Key Characteristics of Superficies in Thailand

  • Real Property Right: Unlike a lease, superficies creates a real property right. The superficiary can own the building and enjoy rights associated with it, including renting it out or selling it.
  • Separate Ownership: Land and the building on it can have different owners. This allows for flexible property arrangements, such as constructing a condominium building on leased land.
  • Term and Renewal: Superficies agreements typically specify a duration, often ranging from 30-90 years. Renewal options might be included in the agreement.
  • Ground Rent: The landowner may receive periodic rent (ground rent) from the superficiary for the use of the land.
  • Registration: Superficies agreements must be registered with the Land Department to be legally valid.

Benefits of Superficies

  • Flexibility: Superficies enables efficient use of land, allowing development on leased property.
  • Investment Opportunities: Investors can acquire ownership of buildings without needing to purchase the underlying land.
  • Long-Term Security: Superficies agreements provide long-term security for building owners, with renewal options adding further stability.

Things to Consider

  • Land Lease Agreement: The terms of the superficies agreement are heavily influenced by the underlying land lease.
  • Expiry of Superficies: When the superficies term expires, the building’s ownership and future use become subject to the agreement’s terms. Demolition or removal of the building by the superficiary may be required.
  • Land Development Restrictions: Land use regulations and zoning restrictions can impact what type of structures can be built under a superficies agreement.


Superficies in Thai property law offers a valuable tool for property development and investment. Understanding its characteristics and considerations is crucial for anyone exploring this option. Consulting with a qualified Thai property lawyer is recommended to ensure a smooth and secure superficies arrangement.

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