The Thai house book which is also known as “Ta Bian Ban” is an official document which mentions the details of the individuals who reside in a house. It doesn’t say who the owner of the house is, but shows the house “holder(s)” and “resident(s)”.
Most Thai people have a Ta bien baan as a proof of residence. It is an important book for Thais and it is needed by a person while transferring anything officially. For example, if anyone wants to register his ownership of a vehicle then this book will be very useful because it will be needed in the Department of Transport for the registration process and for transportation purposes as well. But in the case of Foreigners if they do not possess this book then they can show the letter of their address proof provided by the local office of Immigration. We call this document a “Certificate of Residence”.
A Thai employer will also often ask the Ta bien baan of a future Thai employee. If you translate word by word Thai to English "Ta bien" means "registration" and "Baan" means "house". So, it's a "house registration book".
Thailand has 2 types of house registration books:
1) The blue Ta Bien Bahn (Thor.Ror.14) for Thai nationals*
Example of Blue House Book
* There is one exception, Foreigners having permanent residency can be included a Blue House Book according to article 44 of the Central office registration rules (year 2535).
2) The Yellow Ta Bien Baan (To.Ro.13) for Foreigners.
The house book should not be mistakenly taken as a legal documentation pertaining to ownership. This document states the house "holder" and people "residing" in the property. It's done in accordance with the registration Act of 2534 (1991), and the modifications of this Law in 2551 (2008).
The application for this document is done individually at the local registration office, called Amphur (or Khet in Bangkok). Application of house books are mostly done by builders, developers or architects constructing your house. The price to get this book is not very high, but you have to go through certain procedures.
Even if there is a National regulation for obtaining the Yellow House Book, each district can have their own rules. You will have to show relevant proofs of identity, which may include pictures. Most Amphurs will require a letter from your Embassy stating that you are residing in Thailand but some don't! So you should call the local administration office to ask them the documents required before making an application if you do it yourself. Interviews and witnesses can be asked.
The documents required to get a yellow Ta bian baan in Nakhon Ratchasima can be found here.
For Foreigners, this book can be used to get a Thai Driving License or if you want to purchase a car. You can use it while applying for an extension of visa. But it’s not necessary and a Certificate of Residence can be used instead. Some pretend that you can have some health benefits from the Thai government hospitals with a yellow house book but we haven't been able to confirm this fact.
*** addition 2012: A Ta Bian Ban also helps foreigners to get free or low cost health care and medications in some governmental hospitals. We can not confirm that it will be the case everywhere. We tried to find that information in the Law and we couldn't. But we have reports and verified that some foreigners DID receive free medical care with their yellow Ta Bian Ban.
PS: If you can't get a Yellow Ta Bien Baan or a Certificate of Residence by the Immigration Authorities, you might be able to get a police report that will do the same thing. You must go at a police station, show proof of your identity and residence. They should make a report. Some police stations refuse to do it, some will charge you 20 baht, some will be more expensive...