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Newsletter - January 2008
 
Thailand - Title Deeds not Conclusive Evidence of Ownership
 
In Thailand, the production of a title deed is generally considered to be good evidence of ownership. However, if a title deed has been issued illegally, the Land Department is entitled to revoke it and return the land to the state or the rightful owner.
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Ko Samui has an area of 150,000 rai but there are title deeds covering about 200,000 rai. According to the Land Department about 10,000 title deeds have been issued illegally - some land has multiple deeds and some of the deeds are for forest land which cannot be privately owned.
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Title deeds have been revoked in Ko Samui and Phuket. Last April the Ko Samui Land Department revoked the deeds of six plots of land because they were issued illegally. The Land Department also nullified the land title deeds of four plots of land in Khao Dang because they had been illegally issued with the collusion of land department officials.
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A detailed legal due diligence can ascertain many risks involved in a property transaction - such as whether the property is correctly described in the title deed and has access. However, it is almost impossible to verify whether a title deed has been issued legally. This may become evident only on receipt of a complaint and government investigation, which could be long after the title deed was issued.
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Title Insurance
 
First American's title insurance policy insures that an owner owns their property. This includes loss caused by illegal issuance of title deed and any loss due to fraud and forgery.
 

 
For further information on how title insurance can reduce risks to lenders, please contact us.