Sheriff Halfway House Alexandra’s Immovable Property Online Auction that opened 14 April 2022 and closed with 87.5% properties sold online!
This is a great milestone, as Sheriff Halfway House Alexandra has been running online auctions, with moderate success since 2020 and the success of this recent sale really shows that buyers are fully adopting the move online. To spotlight this, The Auctioneer met up with Sheriff Halfway House’s Theo Sibert to discuss all things online auctions and the sheriff house’s journey with Online Auctions. Africa so far.
The Auctioneer – Congratulations on your recent online Immovable Property Auction. Can you tell us why you’ve found online auctions to be more effective?
Theo Sibert – Online auctions are more effective because we bring a market to the public that they don’t know, people just don’t know that we run sale in execution auctions. With Online Auctions. Africa, the marketing that you send out once a week is incredible. Since the marketing happens regularly, there are more buyers enquiring and participating in our Sale In Execution auctions.
The Auctioneer – We are getting quite a few queries from people are about to get their assets repossessed and they are wanting to know the process.
Theo Sibert – You have to remember there IS a process. The owner of the property that is being attached whether it is an immovable property or a movable property, they’ve been included in the legal process for many months or many years already. So they know that first of all that they owe money to somebody and secondly that there’s a court case hanging.
That it will be heard in court and the court will make a decision on the way forward. The defendant at that stage, once served a judgement becomes a judgement debtor. It’s a different story once a matter has been heard already in court and the magistrate or the judge has made a decision on that. So before a sheriff executes a judgement, a warrant has to be issued by court. A court won’t give a warrant or an execution order if that person wasn’t represented in that court, they won’t do it in their absence.
Yes, there are instances where they can do that, but mostly today they want to listen to the story of the defendant. Rules have changed to accommodate the defendant to come to court. The defendant knows that there’s a matter against him and that a sheriff is going to rock up at his house to either serve him a document saying go back to court or saying here I am can you pay the outstanding debt that the court has already granted against you?
The sheriff first has to collect the outstanding money, then if he can’t do that, only then will the sheriff be able to attach his movable assets or in some instances in which the court must grant a second order saying you must attach his immovable assets.
The Auctioneer – In terms of legal counsel, you said you can’t really give them advice or what happens when they can’t afford a lawyer to help, can the court help with that?
Theo Sibert – No, the court doesn’t help you, you have to find your own help. But it’s easy to find it. First of all there’s legal aid. If you don’t have money to pay for your own legal fees, you go to legal aid, you apply for them to assist you. Second thing, there’s this nice thing about the universities. The universities run a school, the law facilities which they call the law clinics, law clinics of Wits, Law Clinics of Tuks. So you have the lectures who are in charge of that and then the students, the final year students who start to get involved to see how litigation works, away from the academic environment.
The Auctioneer – It’s really great though because if people don’t have any legal background or understanding, that is the first step, making them understand the process.
Theo Sibert – This is what my deputies suggest to a defendant, they say go to a law clinic, see if they can help you and try legal aid. There are so many things that you can do, just do it, don’t sit and wait.