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land size isn’t as stated in the chanote

The story: Involved in a land transaction that took some time between down payment (to be forfeited if the land wasn’t purchased) and the actual purchase of the land. There was a purchase contract draw up by a lawyer and signed when the deposit was made.

What happened: The land purchase was for 10 rai (for example), in a outlying area. Upon application to subdivide, a new survey was done. The survey showed that the land size stated on the official deed (chanote) is not 10 rai, but about 3% less than that.

Why I should have known better: On the chanote is a scale drawing of the land. You can measure each side of the land plot as diagramed on the chanote and calculate (by the scale) how long each side is. However, normally land plots are not exact squares or rectangles, so calculating the amount of land from the dimensions isn’t that easy. I scanned the image in to the computer drawing program sketchup, and scaled it to the approximate size in the chanote. When I calculated the land size in sketchup it always came up 3% short.

Why it is unusual: What the land department surveyors say is that the chanotes that were originally surveyed a long time ago are often off because they didn’t have modern survey equipment. To me that would account for maybe an occasional slight variance of maybe .025% or sometime like that. The other thing you would expect is that if the survey was off, that the actual dimensions of the measured land (as stated on the chanote) would be off also. My suspicion is that all of the dimensions as drawn on the chanote are accurate, the only thing off is the computation of the area (# of sq wah) of the plot.

Prevention: Easy to prevent. First off every buy/sell agreement should have standard language that the seller must make up (refund) any shortage of land found after the transfer. Then every chanote which is transferred should be resurveyed be conveyance, especially if the original survey was done a while ago.

Stated size on the chanote not guaranteed: This is an important point. There is not implicit guarantee (by the land department) that the amount of land as stated in the chanote is accurate. That is what stung me. I always assumed that land surveys were accurate within a small percentage.

Logic: The price of any parcel of land is always arrived at my multiplying the amount of land (in square wah) by the price per unit. Obviously if the land plot isn’t as stated, the buyer should get a pro rata refund.

From here: Seller refuses to refund variance. Need to wait for some further documents prior to seeing if recovery can be made.

Other stories: Heard from a neighbor that the exact same thing happened to her, but for about 10% of the stated land size. My guess it that the older deeds are always overstated (not understated).

2 Comments

  1. If your error is only 3% less then you have done well. Yes land is almost always overstated and you should expect that from the start. your contract should state a bid price per square wah, you make a 10% deposit and the completion price is paid AFTER the survey and the succesful transfer of the chenot registration. You will have to pay the survey fee up front. So why worry

    There is no such word in the thai language for REFUND

    keep whinging

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