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Auctioneer debunks curses & myths associated with repossessing property [Video]

Many Kenyans have developed negative perceptions about auctioneers, because they have either been affected or know someone who has lost their property in the hands of auctioneers.

Jane Matei the Managing Director at Machete Auctioneers

Over the last few years, many Kenyans have lost valuable possessions, from homes to cars and even businesses, after failure to settle their debt obligations.

Some of the country’s leading newspapers have even set up dedicated advertising spaces for auctioneers, as the economic situation gets worse.

This has seen many Kenyans develop negative perceptions about auctioneers, because they have either been affected or know someone who has lost their property in the hands of auctioneers.

We sat down with Jane Matei, the Managing Director at Machete Auctioneers, to address some of the negative perceptions, as well as breakdown myths associated with the business and find out whether the job can be executed in a dignified and humane way.

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Auctioneers are not liked, but we are just working. We don’t have beef with anyone,” Matei said, explaining that Kenyans often express frustrations with auctioneers for debts owned to their creditors.

Auctioneers usually act on the instructions given by their clients, which is usually the party to whom the money is owed.

Unlike years ago, the processess of seizing one’s property are governed by laws to weed out rogue actors who sometimes take advantage to harass and steal goods from debtors.

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For example, if I failed to pay rent for this office, they can’t just come on the first day and carry my stuff,” Matei said.

On the first visit, an auctioneer issues a 14-day notice to the debtor.

After the lapse of the 14 days, the auctioneer is allowed to seize the property and put it in a storage yard for safekeeping. At this point, the affected person still holds ownership over their property.

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Debtors, are given seven more days before an auctioneer can advertise the property for sale, an at the lapse of the seven days, the owner gets an additional seven days before the auction can actually be executed.

Many Kenyans become violent or abusive at this point, which usually doesn’t help the situation.

Not all auctions comprise repossessed property because auctioneers also handle cases where firms willingly want to dispose of their assets such as cars.

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Many Kenyans shy away from purchasing assets which are being auctioned, over fear that the goods could carry some elements of bad luck.

This is often fuelled by the perception that because the property could have been seized against the wishes of the previous owner, new buyers are often deemed to be taking advantage of the debtor’s circumstances.

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