Spain moves to halt home evictions after suicide

Last Updated: Sat, Nov 10, 2012 06:40 hrs

Madrid, Nov 10 (IANS/EFE) Spain's government said Friday, hours after a woman about to be evicted from her home in the northern town of Barakaldo committed suicide, that it is working urgently to bring a halt to mortgage foreclosures.

Amaia Egana, 53, who was a councilwoman, became the second person facing eviction to take her life in less than three weeks when she jumped out of the window of her home and to her death Friday morning.

The tragedy added to growing concern about a soaring number of foreclosures and evictions amid a jobless rate of more than 25 percent and the fallout from the collapse of a long-building housing bubble, which left many Spanish banks saddled with toxic assets and created an overhang of unsold homes.

Some 400,000 families have been evicted from their homes since the onset of Spain's financial crisis in 2007.

Officials told EFE Friday that a bill to put a halt to evictions is a top priority of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who will seek a consensus solution with representatives of the main opposition Socialists at a meeting Monday.

This week, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria and Socialist party No. 2 Elena Valenciano held talks aimed at finding common ground.

On Friday, Valenciano said that, pending new legislation, the government and the banks should halt all evictions of families who only have one home.

Socialist leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba formalized that proposal in a letter to the presidents of the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks and the Spanish Banking Association.

In Spain, as in some other European countries, people who lose their homes to foreclosure remain on the hook for the unpaid balance of the mortgage.



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