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Sun Legal Update: Opposition Rises to Foreigners Owning Land Under Long-Term Visa

Sun Legal Sunbelt Update

The government is still considering whether to allow holders of the upcoming Long-Term Visa to own land for a house.

Applications for the 10-year LTR will open at Thai embassies in September after being published in the Royal Gazette on June 2. However, land ownership still is not one of the visa’s benefits, despite earlier promises that it would be. Various organizations now are suggesting restrictions to any land purchase.

For example, the Thai Chamber of Commerce is suggesting that foreigners should only be able to purchase land in designated areas and must resell it to Thai nationals. Others are concerned that allowing foriengers to own even a single rai of land will drive up land prices for less well-to-do Thais.

The Land Department currently is drafting regulations to allow LTR holders to own a rai of land for residential purposes and is drafting regulations along those lines.

Regulations for Franchises in Thailand

Franchises are very popular in Thailand but were long ignored until new regulations were enacted in 2020.

The Trade Competition Commission of Thailand’s Guidelines on Unfair Trade Practices in Franchise Businesses now offer protection to franchisees when franchisor’s wish to open a new franchise in the same area.

Existing franchisees in the area now are allowed right of first refusal to the new franchise business but must do so within 30 days. However, there is an exception, if the existing franchisee’s performance does not meet the franchisor’s criteria as specified and communicated to the franchisee in advance then no right of first refusal is required.

Close proximity to an existing franchisee is determined by the demand for the goods and services offered, the geographical area and the competition in the market.

Additionally, franchisors must disclose to potential franchisees information on applicable payments and expenses relating to the franchise, such as franchise fees, royalties, marketing expenses, etc.

Franchisors must also provide:

  • Information on assistance, training, and advisory services that they will provide
  • Information on existing and future branches and their locations operated by other franchisees in the vicinity, and information on sales and promotion
  • Information on trademarks, patents, and copyrights and licensing scope and restrictions
  • Information on the renewal, cancellation or amendment of the franchise agreement.

Under the new guidelines franchisors will be prohibited from engaging in trade practices that can damage the franchisee without justification such as purchasing restrictions and other restrictive conditions. Franchisors in violation of the guidelines under the Trade Competition Act will be subject to administrative orders and fines, and civil claims for damages.

If you own a franchise business and want to learn more about the protections afforded to you under the Act, or wish to open a franchise business, contact us using the form below for more information.

We have extensive experience in assisting franchisees open new businesses and can ensure you are fully protected under the law.

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