BUSINESS

Online auctions for debts to state from May 1

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

Courthouse auctions will be a thing of the past as of May 1.

TAGS: Property, Finance

Online auctions related to overdue debts to the state will begin on May 1, according to an amendment tabled in Parliament on Friday that puts an end to conventional auctions from now on.

Property auctions will be conducted with the starting price being the market price and not the objective value, as the clause dictates. What is not clarified is whether the state will use the existing online platform of the notaries or intends to create a new one. A senior Finance Ministry source said there is no reason for creating a new platform, provided that the notaries can host the auctions on theirs.

The clause provides for all foreclosures scheduled for the period after April 30 – even if originally planned to be conducted at a courthouse – to also take place online.

According to law, the state is allowed to auction properties for debts exceeding 500 euros. However, the state has been particularly reluctant to order auctions, as it ranks last among the creditors to which a debtor’s asset proceeds will go, behind the banks and debtors’ employees. As a result it didn’t order any property auctions in 2017, and only 11 in 2016.

Ministry officials say the state will follow the banks’ practice, starting with strategic defaulters’ properties.

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