Our Miami foreclosure lawyers need to preface this entry by saying: We sincerely appreciate and value the work of our own men and women in uniform. We certainly can’t expect them to right the wrongs of a criminal banking system, as many are themselves victims of the foreclosure crisis going on in this country.
That said, we were deeply moved by the actions taken by some of their counterparts in Spain, where that nation is also in the grip of a major housing bubble collapse.
There, firemen and locksmiths united in their efforts to refuse to aid banks and bank agents in throwing people out of their homes.
As the head of the locksmith labor union was quoted as saying, these were families whose lives were being ruined, and they were tired of acting as the bank’s executioners.
The intense wave of recent mortgage default evictions in Spain has also coincided with a dramatic spike in the number of suicides, which has prompted heated protests throughout the country, demanding that parliament take action and protect families.
With the locksmiths not on board with evictions, banks have called on firefighters. But that appears to have backfired on them as well. In a recent case out of a small city in the northwestern part of the country, firefighters were called to help bankers evict an octogenarian from her home. A small group of protestors had gathered out front, demanding the old woman be left in peace. Firefighters not only refused to kick her out – they joined the protest!
Others from Catalonia to Madrid have done the same.
Fire service union leaders said that to aid in evictions is contrary to their primary role, which is to respond to emergencies. They are in the business of saving lives, said one. The banks, he said, are in the business of destroying them.
Some similar stories have been reported here in the U.S., though not on a widespread scale. In November 2011, Atlanta police refused to evict a 103-year-old woman from the home where she’d lived for 53 years.
Other cases have taken a more tragic twist. Recently in Orlando, a police effort to evict a man from his home dissolved into a 10-hour stand-off after the man threatened law enforcement. He was eventually arrested without incident.
As it now stands in Spain, hundreds of thousands of homeowners are still facing eviction, and the country has an unemployment rate that is perilously close to 30 percent. (It’s less than 8 percent here in the U.S.)
It’s estimated that protesters throughout the country have blocked some 500,000 evictions across Spain, with banks in some instances extending options to allow families to remain in their homes as renters.
A bill, which has been backed by a petition signed by nearly 1.5 million Spanish citizens, would totally put an end to bank evictions and would instead allow people who own homes to write off the debt by simply surrendering their homes. As the law now stands, banks can remove a person from their home and then still go after them to recover the remainder of the debt – a practice that has left more than a few Spanish completely destitute.
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.
Locksmiths and firemen refuse to aid evictions in Spain, Feb. 22, 2013, By Agence France-Presse
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