Lives broken by a mortgage

Losing the house and staying in the street for not being able to pay the mortgage is one of the most painful consequences of the crisis . Thousands of families have lived or are living in this situation, with a threat of eviction or with their irremediable execution. Lives broken since the economic situation began to collapse. By all it is known that in the particular case of Spain the recession has a very heavy real estate derivative. Between 2007 and 2010 there were more than 270,000 foreclosures, with figures that have not stopped growing year after year and that in 2011 continued to rise. Some sources raise the volume of records to a total of 330,000.

Behind many of these cases there are real dramas. His story is the one collected by these pages of La Vanguardia . They are diverse stories of families, of people from La Canonja, Lleida or Badalona. Three examples that illustrate the seriousness of a phenomenon that demands solutions. For some time now, support groups have been organized for those affected, which, among other actions, prevent evictions from taking place by concentrating on housing to avoid them. The experiences in this sense have multiplied while the citizen’s awareness has grown that one should look for a way out.

The government announced on Wednesday a package of measures to alleviate the most extreme cases, which requires the collaboration of banks, which will be presented with a set of good practices. The most outstanding ones are that they will be asked to give two years of moratorium to families without resources that are going to be evicted and that, if necessary, the price of the housing to be executed is the highest possible. Until now, handing it over – what is known as dation in payment – was not enough to pay off the debt. It is also planned to reduce the high default interest. Financial entities may deduct tax losses that may arise. The antidesahucios citizen organizations see it as insufficient.

“They condemn us to hide”
By Esteve Giralt (La Canonja)

They did not want to live beyond their means nor did they buy the house of their dreams. Magda Martínez and Manuel Fernández, born in El Prat de Llobregat and Cornellà, decided to move to Tarragona, eight years ago, looking for a cheaper flat. They found it in La Canonja, on the outskirts of Tarragona, for 204,000 euros. It’s been almost three years since Manuel, the family’s main economic support, was unemployed. Your apartment is now owned by the bank, which also claims a debt of 85,000 euros. His eviction was scheduled for today, after consummating the foreclosure and auction of his home, now owned by a bank.

“They leave us homeless and with a debt for life, they condemn us to live in hiding, in the underground economy, as if we had done something wrong, we are trapped”, summarizes Manuel. The couple, who has three children – 13, 9 and 4 years old – asked for help from the Platform of Affected by the Mortgage. With their advice and the help of the City Council of La Canonja, Manuel and Magda, 42 and 33 years old, have started a fight that has delayed their eviction for 30 days. “What we want is to achieve the payment of your mortgage,” explains Joan Bel, spokesman for the Platform in Tarragona.

“They help us to pull ahead,” says Manuel looking at Alex, his young son. His wife is the only one who now brings some money home, employed for hours in the cleaning sector. “Look, good news, more work,” she says after answering her boss’s call. Its situation is desperate, because with what enters Magda, about 110 euros per month, and the subsidy of Manuel, of 423 euros, is not enough. “We have started going to Cáritas to ask for food,” they say.

They remember a recent past with more than enough income to pay the mortgage and arrive at the end of the month without hurry. But his mortgage of just over 600 euros became, with a review every six months, an unbearable stone of 1,400 euros. The rise coincided with the unemployment of Manuel, driver with a salary of 2,400 euros per month. “We can not fall deeper, but we are not alone, there are many in our situation,” says Magda. Their tenacity has led them to publicly denounce their situation. “Most do not ask for help because of embarrassment,” explains Bel, who proudly says that the platform managed to obtain payment in the event of an eviction in Reus.

Manuel and Magda look with skepticism on the government’s announcement to extend the evictions two years and introduce the dation in payment in the case of families without income and unemployed. “It’s a balloon probe,” they predict. This couple says that if they want them to leave the apartment with the debt behind them, they should come before the Mossos. “We’ll hold until they take us out, and if they throw us out, we’ll come back,” says Manuel.

“They have thrown me out of the house and I have felt humiliated”
By Javier Ricou (Lleida)

The story of Germán, his wife, Mari Mar, and the daughters of the couple, Natalia (9 years old) and Nelly (2.5 years old), is that of an eviction with all the ingredients of the times. Germán bought a flat in the Bordeta neighborhood of Lleida in 2003. He then worked as a tiler in the construction sector. He signed a mortgage of 130,000 euros and in the bank, remember, all were facilities and congratulations for the new acquisition. Apartment with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, generous living room, spacious kitchen and two balconies, with gallery. At that time Germán’s salary went from two thousand euros a month and with the help of his partner could afford to pay about a thousand euros of mortgage. Things began to go wrong in 2005. Germán separated from his first partner and had to pay him 60,000 euros in exchange for staying with the apartment. He went to the bank and again they were all facilities, they left him that money and his mortgage was extended from 130,000 to almost 200,000 euros. This neighbor from Lleida started a new relationship with Mari Mar, who has a daughter (Natalia) from a previous relationship and Nelly was born two and a half years ago. As the two had work they were able to face the mortgage. But in 2009 the life of this couple took an unexpected turn. Mari Mar was fired, she says, after getting pregnant with Nelly – she has denounced the company for which she worked as a hairdressing assistant – and Germán was a victim of the collapse of the construction sector. Both stayed, from one day to another, without work and with two daughters to keep. And the bank with which they had the mortgage has not forgiven. “First they stayed for two years the little more than 400 euros of subsidy and then they have executed without mercy the eviction”, affirms Germán. “They told me I was number one on the list of defaulters, I felt humiliated,” adds the young man. The couple no longer lives on the floor, although there are still boxes and packages to be removed, and they have settled in the house of some friends. “We have left because I am afraid that one night they will come and kick us out, with the girls inside,” Mari Mar affirms. Germán has given everything up for lost, but the bank, she says, has not yet finished her work. “In addition to staying the floor, they ask me for 100,000 euros more and it was my parents who supported me,” he reveals. And that is what hurts the most. “My mother has suffered a deep depression because now she thinks that they will also take the floor from her.” Throughout this process, Eduard Baches, spokesperson for the Platform of People Affected by Mortgages in Lleida, advises them.

“It seemed that we were all going to win”
By Luis Benvenuty (Badalona)

Juana, his wife, wanted to leave the office of the director of the branch, but the real estate agent took her arm and told him that everything was done, that he did not have to worry about anything … His son did not see it clearly either. “But I believed the whole movie, I convinced them,” says Enrique Amaya, 59, a pensioner from the badalona and battered neighborhood of Sant Roc, practically illiterate. Here the seized floors are counted by dozens, just like the squatters after a kick in the door.

“I regret every night of that day, I just wanted a loan to marry my son … And I ended up rehypothecating my house and my son’s to buy another in Ciutat Meridiana and then sell it and earn what we needed,” he says. bitterness in a ramshackle apartment of less than fifty square meters on Avenue Alfons XII. “We did not even fix it because we do not know when they will throw us out … It’s that we were all going to win …”

It was the year 2007. The financial system was full of excessive joy. Then, adds Enrique, his pension was just under 600 euros, and the salary of his son of about 900. Now the lawyers (ex officio) of Enrique try to have the judge reconsider his decision and process the case through criminal proceedings . Like scam. But everything points to that in any case this story will be settled by the civil. “Now we owe almost 600,000,” Enrique continues, “I already see everything lost … This summer my wife and I were going to stay in the street, but the Platform of Affected by the Mortgage stopped our eviction. new date, we are destroyed, we do not sleep at night, we take painkillers, and I want to die, but before … ”

And it is that the crisis came and the floor of Ciutat Meridiana was never sold, and the excessive joy of the financial system stopped boiling. And then came the quotas and the constraints, “a thousand and one for this, a thousand and one for the other …”. “And my son is evicted next Wednesday, he has a wife and two children, he is unemployed, he has not been helped, he has not left home for weeks, depressed, with dizziness.”

“The floor of Ciutat Meridiana was already seized last year, I never wanted it … I regret it every night, the bank keeps everything, but they do not throw us out, they give us a rent we can afford. floors do not work for them This neighborhood does not come to live normal, these houses have rotten cement, the banks do not know what to do with these floors, that is why so many evicted people kick their door to the house, to squat it “.