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Property Laws and Regulations

Koh Samui property laws and regulations

Investors in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan should be aware that new regulations have been enacted affecting the region, roughly translated as the Regulations of Resource and Environment, enacted 30th May 2557 (2014) (hereinafter the “Environmental Regulations”).

The new Environmental Regulations do not replace the zoning regulations applicable in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Rather the rules arising from the Environmental Regulations apply in addition to the zoning regulations, and therefore the new Environmental Regulations add an additional regulatory layer to the zoning regulations.

What follows is a brief summary of the basic rules arising from the new Environmental Regulations, relevant to the real estate industry, and is not a detailed discussion. The new Environmental Regulations contain prohibitions against mining, oil extraction and similar activities at and above sea level, which the below summary does not address in detail, choosing instead to focus on the rules which more directly pertain to real estate.

The new Environmental Regulations create seven (7) zones, which are in addition to the zones created under the zoning regulations.
The following three new zones are applicable to property on Koh Samui are as follows:

  • Zone 1: The ocean (i.e. and prohibits offshore mining, oil extraction, etc.)
  • Zone 2: Land in Koh Samui, Koh Tan and Koh Phangan that is less than 80 metres from sea level.
  • Zone 3:  Zone 3 is divided into 3 sub-zones:
  • Zone 3.1: Land that is 80-140 metres above sea level in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
  • Zone 3.2: Land that is greater than 140 metres above sea level in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
  • Zone 3.3: Land that is 80 metres above sea level in Koh Tan.

Summary of Zones:
As is evident from the foregoing, Zone 2 and Zone 3 are most relevant to the real estate industry on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

Zone 2
In Zone 2, the following rules apply (not including rules not directly relevant to real estate):
• Future construction of airports and golf courses is prohibited;
• Future construction of water-dams is permitted, provided construction is not on public land and provided structures do not block access to the beach;
• Construction of hotels is permitted, provided that 50% of the land is left vacant and “green” (i.e., consisting of foliage, trees, etc.) and having native trees;
• Construction of a residential project consisting of ten (10) or more residential units must include approved water and waste treatment facilities.

Zone 3
In Zone 3.1 and 3.3, constructions of residential units is limited to a single house, which;
• Cannot exceed 6 metres in height;
• Must leave 50% of the land vacant and “green”;
• Must include an approved water-drainage system to prevent flooding;
• Must have an architectural design based on traditional Thai, tropical or local aesthetics;
• Must have a roof consisting of 80% of the total building area, and the roof colour must match the natural surroundings;
• Furthermore, the area of the land must be 100 square wah or greater, otherwise construction is prohibited.
In Zone 3.2, constructions of residential units are limited to a single house, which;
• Cannot exceed 6 metres in height;
• Cannot exceed 90 m2 in area;
• Must leave 50% of the land vacant and “green”;
• Must include an approved water-drainage system to prevent flooding;
• Must have an architectural design based on traditional Thai, tropical or local aesthetics;
• Must have a roof consisting of 80% of the total building area, and the roof colour must match the natural surroundings;
• Furthermore, the area of the land must be 100 square wah or greater, otherwise construction is prohibited.

Hotels
Additional rules for the construction of hotels in all zones:
• The hotel designs must include approved water and waste treatment facilities;
• For a hotel with 10 or more rooms or that is 500m2 or greater, an Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) is required;
• For a hotel with 80 plus rooms, or a total area exceeding 4,000 m2, a more onerous EIA is required.
Slope
In all zones, where the land has a slope of between 35-50 degrees, only a single house is permitted:
• Cannot exceed 6 metres in height;
• Cannot exceed 80 m2 in area;
• Must leave 75% of the land vacant, and 50% of the vacant land must be “green” with native trees;
• Furthermore, the area of the land must be 120 square wah or greater, otherwise construction is prohibited.
Where the land has a slope greater than 50 degrees, construction is prohibited.

 

 

 

 

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