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El Periódico is campaigning to stop the evictions of families that can no longer keep up with their mortgage payments because of the crisis. “STOP the evictions”, leads the daily, referring to what it calls a “social drama.” Under Spanish law, if the borrower cannot repay his loan, the bank can seize the property. However, this does not release the buyer from his obligation to pay back the loan. Since the housing bubble burst in 2007, there have been nearly 400,000 evictions.

Believing that the “unjust mortgage law must change,” the Barcelona newspaper has decided to launch a petition calling for a softening of the conditions, such as a moratorium on the mortgage payments, a write-off of the loan once the housing has been seized, or the introduction of low-cost rents. These are measures provided for in the Code of Proper Practice for banks adopted by the Government of Mariano Rajoy back in March, but their application has been voluntary so far.

Charged with enforcement, Spanish judges “are not prepared to sit back with folded hands” regarding the law, which dates back to 1909, adds the newspaper: the General Council of the Spanish Judiciary has called for the law to be reformed owing to “dysfunctions” and the “social impact” of the evictions. Nor have political parties been left on the sidelines either. Conservatives (in power) and socialists (in opposition) also look favourably on a change in the law, notes El Periódico —

The change in attitude among institutions and parties is logical, given the twist this problem is taking [...] What is less comprehensible is the behaviour of banks, which should put an end this escalation in their own interests ... [...] Many are demanding that the repossessions be turned into rentals for the indebted homeowners. This would help defuse a social drama and the banks would be collecting revenue, instead of taking over assets that only weigh down their balance sheets.