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Auctioneer business - apply for a permit

Anyone wishing to auction off third-party movable property, third-party land or third-party rights on a commercial basis requires the permission of the competent authority. Authorisation may be subject to conditions where this is necessary for the protection of the general public, contracting entities or tenderers.

In the case of partnerships (e.g. OHG, KG), the trader is any managing partner. In the case of legal entities (e.g. GmbH, AG), permission is granted to the legal entity.

As an auctioneer, you may not:

  • bid for themselves or through another person at your auctions or purchase auction items entrusted to you,
  • allow relatives or your employees to bid at your auctions or to purchase auction items entrusted to you,
  • bid for another person at your auctions or buy auction items entrusted to you, unless there is a written bid from the other person,
  • auction movable property from the circle of goods that you carry in your commercial business, if this is not customary,
  • auction things,
    • on which you have a lien or
    • if they are among the goods that you offer in open points of sale and which are unused or whose intended use consists in their consumption (consumer goods).

Process flow

You must apply for permission for auctions in writing or in person from the competent authority.

After the exam, you will receive either permission or a rejection notice. A permit may be subject to certain conditions.

Competent authority

District, district-free cities, large independent cities and independent municipalities


Prerequisites are

  • personal reliability and
  • orderly financial circumstances.

You will not receive permission if:

  • facts justify the assumption that you, as the applicant, do not have the reliability required for the business operation.
    As a rule, you do not have the required reliability if you have been sentenced to imprisonment for a crime or for theft, embezzlement, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, forgery of documents, receiving stolen goods, usury or for an offence against the law against unfair competition in the five years prior to filing the application.
  • As the applicant, you live in disorderly financial circumstances.
    This is usually the case if insolvency proceedings have been opened against your assets or you are entered in the register maintained by the insolvency court or the enforcement court.

Which documents are required?

  • Identity card or comparable identification document (copy)
  • Non-EU citizens: residence permit (copy)
  • Proof of entrepreneurial legal form
    • Company headquarters in Germany:
      • Commercial register excerpt for registered company
      • if applicable, a copy of the articles of association (e.g. in the case of a civil-law partnership (GbR))
    • Company headquarters abroad: documents from this country proving the legal form
  • Proof of personal reliability
    • Residence in Germany:
      • Certificate of good conduct
      • Excerpt from the Central Trade Register for natural and, if applicable, legal persons
    • Residence abroad: documents from your home country proving that you have the personal reliability to perform the desired service
    • In individual cases, the authority may request further documents that are suitable for making a statement about your personal reliability as an applicant.
  • Proof of orderly financial circumstances
    • Residence in Germany:
      • Extract from the debtor file
      • Certificate from the insolvency court
      • Certificate from the tax office in tax matters
    • Residence abroad: documents from your home country proving that you live in orderly financial circumstances

What are the fees?

Fee: 0,00 - 437,00 EUR
Payment in advance: No

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

You must apply for permission before starting your activity. Only after the permit has been granted are you entitled to exercise the trade.


If the addressee (usually applicant) has legal doubts or concerns about the decision on the permit or about details from it, these may, depending on the legal nature, be reviewed by means of an action for commitment or avoidance before the competent administrative court.

In Lower Saxony, preliminary proceedings are not provided for by § 80 Nds. Therefore, no objection is admissible, but rather administrative court action must be brought directly.

§ 8 Lower Saxony Justice Act (SJG)

What else should I know?

In addition to obtaining permission, you must register the business with the responsible municipality.

The authorities have rights of information and inspection vis-à-vis traders. At the request of the authorities, the persons concerned must provide the information necessary for the monitoring of business operations. In addition, the authorities are authorised to enter the business premises for inspections and inspections.

Furthermore, as an auctioneer, you are subject to the requirements of the Auctioneer Ordinance (VerstV). For example, you must

  • in principle, to draw up a list of the items to be auctioned no later than two weeks before the auction, in which the auctioned goods of each client must be uniformly marked
  • notify the competent authority and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in whose district the auction is to take place in writing of each auction no later than two weeks before the envisaged auction date, stating the place and time of the auction and the type of goods to be auctioned
  • in principle, give the opportunity to inspect the auctioned item for at least two hours
  • keep a record of each auction order and its execution

The competent authority shall, upon request, generally appoint highly competent auctioneers publicly for certain types of auctions. As a publicly appointed auctioneer, you must take an oath that you will perform your duties conscientiously and impartially.

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour, Transport and Digitalisation


List ID 354 (whitelist; Status: 13.09.2018)

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Linie6PLus)