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Further Reading:

Tropical Beach House - The Dream and Title Upgrades

A concerned Farang living in Patong phoned me recently to ask "I have heard that there is a plan in progress to change all the titles in Phuket from Nor Sor Sam to full Chanott title deeds. Is this correct and what do I need to do to ensure that my title is upgraded?"

You have indeed heard correctly. Under a 20 year program started in 1985 and due to be completed by 2004 the Thai Land Department has been conducting a thorough survey of the entire country with the intention of surveying and then issuing accurately surveyed Chanott Title Deeds over most of Thailand.

On 16th November 2000 seven teams (who will each have responsibility for one of seven areas of Phuket) from the Land Department based in Bangkok came to Phuket with a 9 month mandate to survey and upgrade to Chanott 180 title deeds per team per month for a total target of 11,340 new title deeds by 14th August 2001.Early work already completed involved setting up and checking the various reference points and benchmarks located around the island, specific plot survey work has already started in Phuket town and parts of Patong, with Kamala, Kata, Karon and other parts to commence in April or May.

Titles that can be upgraded to Chanott under this program are principally the Nor Sor 3, Nor Sor 3 Kor, and Sor. Kor. 1. titles. The controversial Sor. Bor. Kor. titles may not be upgraded. Land that falls in forest reserve areas, national parks or on hillsides steeper than 35 degrees may also not be upgraded under the program. Roughly 50% of the total land area of Phuket is eligible for title upgrade under this program.

The survey work is not carried out individually on owner application (as it has been in the past if you, applied to upgrade a title) but rather carried out in closely defined blocks of contiguous properties. As such it is important that you both know when your and your neighbors land will be surveyed and that the land owner (or their authorized proxy) is there in person on the date the survey is made.

For every new title issued your neighbors have to confirm boundaries of your and every adjoining plot. The authorities are well aware that in this respect they have a particularly difficult task in Phuket since many land owners live out of province or even out of the country and their presence is difficult to manage or arrange at short notice. That said these guys have some teeth… note well that to fail to be present when your or your neighbors land is surveyed is a criminal offence theoretically punishable by imprisonment.
Surveying in any particular area is co-orditnated between the head of each survey team and local village officials (these will be the Poo Yai Baan in smaller villages and the office of the Tessabaan in a municipal district). It is the duty of each village leader to call a meeting of the land owners in each moo or street as their turn becomes due so they are notified of when and what they need to do to comply with the survey. This being Thailand, I would recommend that, just to be sure, you contact either your village elders directly or the Center for the Issuance of Chanott Titles in their new office just north of Heroine's monument, Phone 311446, for an update of when your area may be surveyed.

The official fee for surveying and issuing a new Chanott title are very modest - just 110 Baht for plots under 20 rais and another 2 Baht per rai for larger plots, but there are certain duties that you will be responsible to arrange, before your land can be surveyed. These include ensuring that your boundaries are clear from any undergrowth or other visual obstructions that would impede a survey and that all the corners of the property are clearly marked with official title monument pegs (you can purchase these from the district or provincial land offices).

The surveys themselves, for the first time in Thailand, will be conducted by satellite imagery as well as on the ground traditional survey methods.

Pay attention and keep yourself well informed of the progress of this work. Getting your title upgraded this year will never be as easy or as inexpensive. The success of this program however takes the participation of you and your neighbors, so please be a good citizen and spread the word so that everyone is fully informed and Phuket can once and for all get fully and accurately titled.