By Anatoly Kurmanaev
A SPANISH bank is trying to repossess the home of a British couple who defaulted on a loan.
In the alarming move, Carol and Ian Chatterton face losing their English cottage for not repaying a mortgage on their holiday home on the Costa del Sol.
It comes after the Chattertons took out a 150,000-euro (145,000 pounds) mortgage with Banco Sabadell to buy an apartment in Estepona in 2004.
But after they began to fall behind on payments last year, Sabadell resorted to new EU laws to get its money back.
In a move that will send a shiver down the spines of thousands of British homeowners in Spain, the bank have managed to get a European Enforcement Order (EEO) to seize the couple’s home in Wiltshire.
A notary in Marbella passed the order to Wiltshire county court, which has since issued an interim charge on the property.
The couple, who are both NHS paramedics, have lived in the 320,000-euro three-bedroom cottage near Chippenham for 20 years.
“We’re devasted,” Carol, 48, revealed. “And there are thousands more Britons in our position. This is a time bomb waiting to go off.”
The county court is due to make the charging order absolute this week.
After that the bank may force the sale at any time.
This will mean Halifax, which holds the mortgage on the couple’s Wiltshire home, will receive all the money outstanding and Sabadell will pocket the rest.
Interestingly, the Spanish bank has refused the couple’s plea to take flat in Duquesa instead.
The glut of unsold Costa del Sol properties has clearly made the offer less appealing than going after their UK property.
An EEO is meant to be used for uncontested claims in civil cases.
But in Spanish law, a buyer taking out a mortgage gives up the right to contest the debt, and this is taken as evidence of agreeing to the EEO.
When the Olive Press contacted Banco Sabadell it insisted it was the first it had heard of the case.
A press officer said: “Send me an email and I will look into it.”