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Spanish Parliament Rejects Proposal to Ease Rules on Mortgage Foreclosures

Spanish Parliament Rejects Proposal to Ease Rules on Mortgage Foreclosures

16/06/2011

Source: http://bloomberg.com

Spain’s Parliament rejected a law that would have eased the effect of mortgage foreclosures for as many as 300,000 homeowners who have lost their properties.

The Galician National Block, known as the BNG in Spain, had asked legislators to amend the law to allow mortgage holders to walk away from their debt by handing over the keys to their properties. It also would have permitted homeowners to delay mortgage payments beyond stipulated deadlines and to consent to partial debt write-offs. Lawmakers rejected the proposals, Parliament said on its website late last night.

Under Spanish law, if a foreclosed property is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage on the asset, the bank can claim the difference from the borrower. Lenders can make a claim against all of a borrower’s present and future assets and earnings.

The number of foreclosed properties in Spain has climbed tenfold in three years as unemployment reached 21 percent of the working population, the highest in the European Union, according to Idealista.com, the country’s largest property website. Home prices fell for the 12th straight quarter in the three months through March and have dropped 15 percent from the peak three years earlier, the National Statistics Institute said today.

Idealista advertises more than 30,000 foreclosed homes worth 4.6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) on behalf of 40 Spanish banks and savings banks. That’s up from just 3,000 in June 2009, according to the company’s website.

Social Problem

“We are talking about a social problem of the highest order,” Francisco Xesus Jorquera, a BNG lawmaker, said by telephone from Madrid yesterday before the vote. “It’s a debate that must take place as there is social outcry for the mortgage law to be reformed.”

The eviction of a family living in a foreclosed home in Madrid was delayed today after 300 people protested outside the property and prevented authorities from entering, Efe newswire reported, citing Dolores Carrion, a delegate of the central government.

The occupants, a Lebanese man, his Bulgarian wife and their 15-year-old daughter, were served with an eviction order after falling behind on mortgage payments to an unnamed bank, Efe said. Carrion wasn’t immediately available for comment.