The suicide of a 53-year-old Spanish woman being evicted from her home after falling behind on her mortgage payments has sparked a fury of outrage from Spanish citizens, prompting government officials to promise measures to prevent such a tragedy in the future.
Our Miami foreclosure lawyers know there are a great deal of similarities between the housing markets in Spain and South Florida. Both areas, in 2008, suffered a major property bubble burst. Banks in Spain have repossessed some 400,000 homes since then, and the country has sank into a deep recession. This has further caused millions of Spanish homeowners to become unemployed and fall behind on mortgage payments.
Spanish citizens have also become angered by what they view as a complete lack of compassion from banks in Spain, a number of which actually reaped a fair amount of benefits from taxpayer bailouts, which have been organized by the country’s elite political powers.
Eerily familiar, right?
This woman, a former Socialist counselor who had been residing in the northern part of the country, killed herself by jumping from the fourth story of her home as bailiffs tried to evict her due to foreclosure.
In one of the many protests being held across the country, one Spaniard held a sign that read, “They’re not suicides. They’re murders. The banks and politicians are accomplices.”
The country’s economy minister has vowed that no family “in good faith” that has fallen behind on mortgage payments should have to be homeless – especially when so many homes are currently sitting empty as a result of the market crash. Minister Luis de Guindos has said there were literally millions of unoccupied homes in the country.
No specifics have been offered about how the government plans to address this problem, though some are suggesting the country fast-track negotiations to reform current eviction laws.
One possible tactic is to grant mortgage payment moratoriums for homeowners whose financial situation is dire. Members of the Spanish Banking Association said it was open to the possibility of putting a two-year hold on eviction cases involving those who are in great need.
Property prices in Spain have fallen by about 30 percent.
Compare that to Florida, where the Case-Shiller index shows that home values are down 47 percent across South Florida since the top of the housing bubble six years ago. Also to, single-family sales are down about 20 percent since 2004.
In Spain, even when a borrower gives the home back to the bank, they are still legally responsible for the entire remaining mortgage owed. A number of citizens had organized a group called “Stop Evictions,” and they organize literally hundreds of people to stop court employees from physically removing families from their homes. Spanish police unions have said they will actively support officers who refuse to participate in evictions.
It shouldn’t take a suicide for banks to realize the effects of their greed.
But whether you’re in Spain or Florida, those facing foreclosure are up against a mighty establishment. Having a good lawyer means you have the ability to fight back.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Spain promises to spare needy from eviction after suicides, Nov. 12, 2012, By Nigel Davies, Reuters
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