Tabien baan or Thai house book is the official local government issued house or apartment address and resident registration booklet. It is an administrative document issued by the local municipality. The persons having their domicile or legal residence at the house or condo unit are registered in the house book.
Contrary to what is often assumed by foreigners this document has nothing to do with ownership of a house or condo and cannot be used as proof of ownership. It is a booklet issued by the local municipality (not the land department) that belongs to the official address registration papers of a home or condo and its practical use is that it registers and proves a person’s place of legal residence (official domicile). A house book can state the name of the owner if they are Thai. The same cannot be said for a foreign non-resident owner, unless they have official residency in Thailand.
As a house book proves a person’s domicile, it is required in official registration procedures such as the transfer of ownership of a car or real estate, opening a bank account or when applying for a new electricity or telephone line connection and gives rights to Thais to vote in a district.
As foreigners are usually not registered in a Thai house book, a letter of residence provided by the local immigration office can be used provided they have a non immigrant visa, as proof of address. If the foreigner is an owner of a condominium, the title deed, empty blue tabien baan and passport are used as proof of address. When a foreigner owns a house or a condominium, the blue “Tabien Baan” is left empty unless a Thai national resides at the address with them.
A house book can be issued for a house, condominium apartment (whether registered under the Condominium Act or not). The official house book for Thais is the blue book and for foreigner residents a yellow book. A blue book is standard issue but in the case of a foreigner, it can be exchanged for a yellow book if specific criteria are met. The documents required for the exchange of a blue book of a completed house or condominium for a yellow book along with application form include:
The blue or yellow “Tabien Baan” is not an important document for foreigners and most foreigners owning a condominium or a house (separate from the land) will have a (empty) blue house registration book and not a yellow book. The legal value of foreigners is very limited and generally there is no need or requirement to exchange a blue tabien baan for a yellow tabien baan. A yellow book does not confer any additional rights.
However, foreigners married to a Thai national living in Thailand should have their name in the house book of the marital home. For Thais, a house book’s primary function is that it states his or her place of legal residence (permanent home).