2,800 properties were offered through the eAuction platform last year

Since the electronic public bidding system became the only way to sell assets in enforcement proceedings, interest in the eAuction has been steadily growing. In 2021 alone, almost 14,500 auctions were organized through this platform, 50% more than in 2019. With 13,750 proceedings and the rest suspended, NALED's analysis showed.

Last year, almost 2,800 immovable and approximately 11,000 movables, taken over due to the inability to repay the debt, were available to interested buyers. The prices at which real estate was bought at auctions were 17% higher than the initial ones, while in the case of movable property this difference was 15%.

The Ministry of Justice introduced the eAuctions platform in March 2020, following the initiative of NALED's Alliance for Property and Investment, within the amendments to the Law on Enforcement and Security. In addition to efficiency, the main goal of automating the procedure was greater transparency and legal certainty, as well as creating conditions for fair bidding.

- Thanks to the electronic procedure, public bidding is no longer limited to a narrow circle of potential buyers, but to all interested citizens or legal entities. The subject of the sale is known 15 to 30 days in advance, and anyone who wants to bid must post a 15% guarantee on the starting price. Tenders are held in two rounds - in the first, the starting price is 70% of the estimated value, while in the second it is 50%. The fact that all bidders are anonymous additionally contributes to the legal security of the participants, so that neither they nor the public executors can know who is hiding behind the identification number. The best evidence of the effectiveness of the new system is the fact that so far no complaints have been filed against the violation of anonymity, pressure on decisions, or any other type of abuse - says Dejan Vukovic, vice president of the Association for Property and Investment in NALED.

Although there are already more than 1,500 registered users on the portal, NALED believes that with the appropriate promotion among public executors, businessmen and citizens, this number could be significantly higher in the future. The ministry has already made an important step in that direction by drafting detailed instructions for the implementation of the eAuctions platform, which is publicly available for download.

In addition to promotional campaigns that would ensure greater visibility of the portal, NALED also proposes recommendations for its improvement, including the introduction of new and improvement of existing functionalities on the website.

- After two unsuccessful auctions, a large number of forced sales end in a direct agreement, which is not a good practice since it reduces the transparency of procedures and opens space for abuse. This indicates that the public is not yet sufficiently informed about the way the eAuction platform works. To preserve existing and interest new users, we must first make the portal practical and easy to use. That is why it is important to introduce search options for items by name, category, point of sale, and other similar parameters that will make the process easier for customers and save time. Also, it would be of great help for users to be able to decide on the things that interest them, to be informed about their sales in time - adds Vukovic.

According to him, it is also necessary for the objects of sale to be better and more meaningfully described. This can be achieved by introducing a minimum number of characters in the item description and adding more authentic photos. If it is a question of immovable property, it is necessary to point out the information from the database of the real estate cadastre.

Since the application of the electronic public bidding procedure has proven to be an effective way to strengthen the legal security of citizens and their trust in the profession of public servants, NALED advises expanding this system to other areas - forced tax collection and collection of receivables in bankruptcy proceedings.

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