Property Auction Underwritting Agreements

As salaamualaikum,

I had a question regarding whether entering into an underwritting agreement prior to a property auction is permissible?

The process involves making an offer prior to auction (usually above the guide price), on the basis that you agree a purchase price with the seller while still allowing the property to go through the auction. In doing so you provide the seller with a guaruntee that if in the auction the highest bid is below your offer, you will honour your offer and still purchase the property at the pre-agreed price. Alternatively if the highest bid in auction is above your pre-auction offer, the property will conintue to be sold at auction to the highest bidder and the sale proceeds above your offer level will be distributred as follows…

Underwritter 45%
Seller 45%
Auctioneer 10%

This usually ends either one of two ways

Scenario 1
Guide price: £100k
Underwritting: £120k
Auction highest bid: £115k
…you end up buying the property for £120k

Scenario 2
Guide price: £100k
Underwritting: £120k
Auction highest bid: £140k
…seller recieves £120k plus £9k, underwritter recieved £9k, auctioneer receives £2k for facilitating.

Its worth noting the underwritting agreement is seperate to the sale contract. The auctioneer holds the underwritters 10% deposit and has authority to exchange contracts at the time of auction if nessesary (similar to a pre-auction offer), however contracts are not exchanged until the auction has taken place.

Abdul Haseeb

Wa alaykum salaam,

So if the property is sold to a third party who bid higher, why and how does the underwriter receive a share of sale price? Does the underwriter purchase the house before that?

The property is sold from the oringal seller direct to the highest bidder in that case. The underwriter would receive a share of the profits for taking on the risk and guaranteeing a sale at the pre-agreed price even if there were no bids during the auction.

This does not meet Shariah principles as you are gaining from something you did not own. Further, you are profiting for “purchasing” the risk.

Allah knows best

Jzk for your consideration Mufti Faraz, I had an inclining that may be the case.

Unfortunately I profited from such transactions 4+ years ago without knowing it was haram at the time. The profits have since grown over time as they were re-invested (through halal investments) . Am I now obliged to purify the entire amount?

Apart from the initial capital you had paid to enter into this, all other gain would have to be purified.

From a Shariah perspective, this was an invalid transaction (Bay Batil) as the subject matter was unlawful. Therefore, any gain on this is not entitled.

The Qur’an states:
“…squander not your property amongst yourself unjustly (batil) except it be a trade among you by mutual consent…” (Qur’an 4:29)

Abu Hurayra reports that the Prophet prohibited the pebble sale and the gharar sale. (Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)

Allah knows best