Legal-Ease: New Ohio auctioneer licensing law

Traditionally, becoming an auctioneer in Ohio was a lengthy process that included educational requirements, an oral exam, and a stint as an apprentice auctioneer with an already licensed auctioneer. This traditional process prepared auctioneers for the typical, noisy, and personal auctions that we traditionally think of when we think of auctions.

In recent years, the internet has created environments where some traditional live auctions are being replaced by online auctions conducted here in Ohio and elsewhere. Still, live on-site auctions remain popular.

Earlier this month, Ohio law was amended to accommodate the changing contexts of auctions. The law clarifies that almost anyone practicing as an auctioneer in Ohio must have an auctioneer’s license. However, there are some categories of professionals who do not require an auction license, and certain auctions may be conducted by those without a license.

Auctions sponsored by legitimate charitable, religious, or civic organizations that are 501(c) entities may be conducted by unlicensed individuals. An owner of real estate or personal property may auction such items provided the items to be auctioned were not purchased for the purpose of resale. Auctions supervised by governments – such as sheriff’s sales – or courts – such as sales in property division lawsuits – may be conducted by unlicensed persons.

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For those who need an auctioneer license, the process of becoming an auctioneer has been simplified.

Importantly, while not a new requirement, it remains the law that individuals convicted of crimes of any kind and misdemeanors such as fraud or theft are not eligible to hold auctioneer licenses.

In addition, there are five main requirements for acquiring an auction license.

First, an applicant must be at least 18 years old.

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Second, an applicant must have successfully completed a degree in auctioneering from an institution accredited by the Ohio Auctioneers Commission.

Third, an applicant must have a general and thorough knowledge of the following topics related to Ohio auctions and how these topics affect Ohio auctioning. These topics include the Ohio Revised Code, the auction profession, the principles for conducting an auction, and all local and state laws related to the auction profession.

Fourth, an applicant must have insurance (a bond) or committed savings (through an irrevocable letter of credit) of at least $25,000 at the time of application and for the first three years after licensing or the first three years after reinstatement or license, which expired for various reasons.

Fifth, an applicant must pass a written exam. The audit is now conducted monthly throughout the year.

Specifically, in order to sell real estate through an Ohio auction, the auctioneer must also hold a real estate agent or real estate salesman’s license.

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Those with auctioneer licenses are required to take an eight-hour continuing education course every two years and can renew their licenses every two years once continuing education requirements have been met and it has been confirmed that the licensee has not violated any laws governing auctioneers.

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agricultural affairs in Northwest Ohio. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to constitute legal advice and you should seek specific advice from a licensed attorney of your choice based on the specific facts and circumstances faced by you.

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