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If you want to sell goods by auction, check with your local council if you need to register your stall or premises.

An auction means any sale made by competitive bidding.

Many councils don’t need you to register your premises or stall for an auction. However, you must register if you’re in a London borough and auctioning any of the following:

  • plate or plated articles
  • linen
  • china
  • glass
  • books or prints
  • furniture, personal or household articles
  • ornaments
  • jewellery
  • musical instruments
  • scientific apparatus

If you’re selling by auction outside London, check with your local council what (if any) items you’ll need a licence to sell.


Your registration might include conditions that relate to public safety, fire prevention, hours of trading, lighting and other issues.


You probably won’t need to register if you’re selling items:

  • that haven’t been brought onto the premises (so long as you haven’t sold items by auction within the past 6 months)
  • for charity

Check with your local council to make sure these exemptions apply to you.

How to apply

You can usually apply to your local council in person, by post or through their website. You’ll need to pay a fee, which varies from council to council.

Penalties and fines

If you sell or allow the sale of items by auction without holding a valid registration, or don’t follow its conditions, you could be fined up to £5,000.