Some methods include long-term leases, land concession, and forming a Land Holding Company
According to Khmer Times, Cambodia attracts a lot of foreign investors and contrary to a popular misconception, foreigners can legally own or have a right to land property in the Kingdom.
Long-term lease agreement
Whether it be for residential, commercial, or agriculture purposes, foreigners or foreign entities are allowed to acquire control over Cambodian-owned property via a lease agreement. Long-term leases will guarantee rights over property to foreign entities and individuals.
Property lease agreements may be termed from a minimum of 15 years and up to 50 years at most. It is the simplest method and provides some protection stating the foreigner’s legal rights to land property.
To help secure the foreigners’ land tenure and enforceability against third parties, perpetual leases should be registered against the title of the land with the relevant Land Office.
Land concession is allowing a legal entity or person to utilise, occupy, and have rights over land property, which is set up under an agreement issued by government authorities.
Economic Land concessions (ELCs) are the most sought-after and are typically granted for agricultural developments. They allow investors to clear land for industrial purposes but are limited to properties no larger than 10,000 hectares.
Alike the long-term lease, this method is granted through a 50-year concession and is subject to renewals.
Land Holding Company
A Land Holding Company (LHC) is legally allowed to purchase land and property in Cambodia. A foreigner can form an LHC via a joint venture, in which the majority stake is a Cambodia and the minority stake is a foreigner (up to 49 percent).
It is one of the lowest-risk options, as layers of security to the foreign shareholder or its lender can be provided by configuring the company and its assets. However, the method also involves annual admin costs, high registration fees, and a potentially high tax burden.
Purchasing land through a Cambodian nominee or marriage
This method is the most commonly used due to its simplicity and low cost. Foreign investors “nominate” a Cambodian national to legally own the land being purchased and sign a “trust agreement”. The trust agreement states that they agree to hold the land in their name.
Similar to the nominee structure, marriage allows a foreigner to buy a land property under the name of their spouse on the title deed.
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