Photo: Eviction protests in Spain
Spain’s governing conservative Popular Party and main opposition Socialists agreed Wednesday to expedite a citizens’ bill that would halt evictions of homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments.
Backed by 1.4 million signatures, this popular legislative initiative, or ILP, arrived at the lower house on Tuesday and members agreed to consider it.
The move to extradite the bill will cut in half the usual time required to bring legislation to a vote.
It remains to be seen whether the citizens’ motion will be fast-tracked together with a pending regular bill that would strengthen protections for indebted homeowners and which is far along in the legislative process.
This agreement between the government and the opposition followed news that a man facing imminent eviction from his home had committed suicide.
That death occurred in the southeastern city of Alicante, where the body of a 55-year-old man who had apparently hanged himself was found in his home on Wednesday, the same day he was to be evicted for failing to make payments on his 24,000-euro ($32,275) mortgage.
It was the latest in a series of recent eviction-related suicides in Spain. On Tuesday, a retired couple took their lives on the island of Mallorca and left behind a note saying they were about to lose their home.
Under current Spanish legislation, a person who is evicted after defaulting on a mortgage remains liable for the unpaid balance.
But amid recession and a jobless rate of more than 25 percent, the government has taken steps to temporarily protect the neediest families and prevent them from being forced from their homes.