What is Servitude? Thailand Servitude Law Explained

May 07, 2021 / 12:38:50 PM

What You Need to Know About Servitude Law in Thailand

Servitude law in Thailand can give property owners the right to make use of neighbouring land. It is important to understand what rights and obligations you have under servitude law when buying property in Koh Samui.

What is Servitude?

Servitude is a protected right of way or easement that can exist over private property. The dominant property has the right to use the servient property in a particular way. Often it is simply a right to access another property by foot or in a vehicle, but servitude can also cover other kinds of access. It might enable pipelines and utilities to be laid across the land, provide access to a shared water supply, or even restrict the height of neighbouring buildings.

What the Law Says

The servitude laws appear in sections 1387-1401 of the Thai Civil Law and Commercial Code. The law states that a property under servitude must allow that access to continue. The right of servitude is usually created by registering it with the Land Department. This requires the submission of a document written in Thai, which can be accompanied by an English translation. Once registration is complete, the right of access will be enforceable under servitude law in Thailand. In some cases, servitude exists without registration, if the right has been exercised for many years, but it is best to be certain that it is guaranteed before committing to buy any land.

Once servitude has been granted, the right is protected. It will remain in place even if the dominant or servient properties are sold or divided. The dominant property won’t be able to increase their demands and the servient one won’t be able to diminish the benefits provided. The owner of the dominant property will be responsible for maintenance costs, but they will be shared with the other property if it also benefits. For example, if the servitude covers a shared well, both properties would have their share of the water guaranteed while the owners would share the costs of maintenance. For an access road that is only used by the dominant property, the costs would fall to that property alone.

Why Is Servitude Law Important?

If you are buying property in Koh Samui, it is important to check whether any servitudes you need have been registered. If the property is separated from the public road by another property, having a protected right of way to access your land is essential. You should also check whether any other services you need will be protected by the servitude law of Thailand. It is also a good idea to check whether your neighbours will have any rights over your land as it could affect what you are able to do with the property. Servitude can also affect the value of your land. The benefiting property can get a boost to its value when these rights are registered, while the value of the burdened or servient property can be slightly reduced.

Servitude is not the only potential issue that can arise when you are investing in property in Thailand. Download a free copy of our exclusive guide to buying property in Koh Samui to find out everything you need to know before you invest.

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