Damning NGO report slams government for failing vulnerable homeowners

LAST UPDATED: 29 May, 2014 @ 15:39
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Damning NGO report slams government for failing vulnerable homeowners

THE government has failed to protect vulnerable citizens from the effect of the housing crisis, according to a damning new report.

It has taken insufficient action to relieve the impact of the crisis and alleviate the suffering of citizens, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The NGO’s 81-page report – entitled Shattered dreams: Impact of Spain’s housing crisis on vulnerable groups – documents the harsh housing conditions faced by millions across Spain.

It focuses on families who have lost their homes due to defaulting on mortgage payments amid economic recession and widespread unemployment.

“The dream of owning one’s own home has turned into a nightmare of foreclosures, evictions and over-indebtedness,” said HRW senior western researcher Judith Sunderland.

“Spanish authorities need to adopt measures to help a broader range of individuals and families avoid evictions, secure affordable housing, and ensure access to fair debt restructuring, relief and cancellation,” she added.

The NGO’s report claims that Spain’s current bankruptcy law fails to provide a ‘fair, accessible pathway to discharging debt’.

According to the report, Spaniards have very little opportunity to declare bankruptcy, but the NGO argues that people in serious debt deserve a chance to start afresh.

The report concludes that: “Governments should be judged on how they manage the human fallout of the economic crisis, not just on macroeconomic indicators.

“The Spanish government needs to take a hard look at its policies, and take into account a broader range of people facing social exclusion due to mortgage defaults.”

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22 COMMENTS

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  1. Of course, in an ideal world, debts need to be repaid, but here in Spain your debts follow you to the grave. Beware when investing your money here, I’ve seen this happen to so many people, and of course Spain will also embargoe your assets abroad in order to get the debt repaid.

  2. One of my Spanish staff has just had his house taken from him by the bank. This is the same bank that offered him a 110% mortgage 6 years ago, the worst thing is he got a mortgage for 180,000€ With the flat valued at 165,000€. The bank have now knocked off value of flat off his mortgage with the balance left for him to pay yet they knocked off the current value which is 80,000€ so guy left with a huge debt to pay. I find this obviously awful but even more so when the government are still taxing home buyers on fiscal values based on prices from 2006/7

  3. This is a warning to all that overstretching the ability to repay a mortgage or a loan has it’s consequences.

    Some nutcase had suggested that it was Spain in a nutshell, it’s not a nutshell it’s what happens in life which also occurs in other countries if one defaults, including the UK.

    Basically I have no sympathy for people who find themselves in this position, it’s a position they themselves had created.

  4. Caccia

    I know many young Spanish who bought at the top of the market. They had zero financial acumen – which means that they were easy to scam with mortgages that were difficult to pay even at the top of the housing market.

    Most were bullied by family or panicked just like young Brits circa 1989 or young Irish from 2000 onwards.

    Mass indoctrination has been used since Roman times – bread and circuses, nothing has really changed since those times.

    You grew up at a time when housing relative to income was cheap. The parents of a friend of mine told me that they decided that after they were wed they would spend as little as possible so that they could pay off their mortgage in just 3 years – they achieved their target.

    You could do the same today if you were a millionaire but otherwise look forward to a life of debt servitude – this keeps the wage slaves in their place.

  5. @Stuart,

    There seems to be this kind of craze in some countries, especially the UK that one must own a house. All very well if you feel you can afford to do so, but no building society or bank that I know of actually grab people by the neck and forces them to take a loan or a mortgage to purchase a house, they willingly enter freely and are eager to sign a debt form.

    The fault also has been in allowing 110% borrowing and the fault is equally to blame of people accepting the offer in the first place. But the consequences of not meeting their obligation in repaying causes prepossessions, heart aches, coupled with a long outstanding debt and being on a black list which happens in thousands of cases.

    So who is to blame here. Personally I blame the person accepting the deal.

    In many countries, besides the UK, people rent for various reasons, one reason is not being held to a commitment they feel they could not afford to repay over 25/35 years, which I find as being responsible people.,

    But please don’t put the blame solely onto the lenders and has nothing to do with keeping wages low. It’s called demand, supply and greed by all parties.

    Pleased to see you used the proper name of “caccia” the same as I’m using your proper name of Stuart.

  6. “Some nutcase had suggested that it was Spain in a nutshell”

    Thanks for bringing me into the conversation Caccia. Spain is actually very different to the UK in such matters. In Spain there is no concept of personal bankruptcy. Also, Spain has pursued debts abroad to other countries, so the people affected have no escape, for the rest of their lives. Also, as Stuart correctly says, Spain was lending crazy amounts and was reassuring people that everything was ok. Yes, people did make wrong or bad decisions when taking on loans, and have to take responsibility for that (and indeed are with evictions etc) but they did so in an environment that was deceiving them. Spain’s banks were all toxic and lent these mad sums right up to the point they all collapsed. People taking those loans now find the banks valuing their properties at 50% less than they valued them at, leaving them in crippling debt forever, and that debt can even be passed on to other family members.

    “Basically I have no sympathy for people who find themselves in this position”

    Well this is nothing new to us Caccia, you must have been born without empathy in your DNA. People have to take responsibility for their actions, but the manner in which you say it is so distasteful.

  7. Fred,
    In answer to your comment which had not deleted and hopefully mine will also be accepted I don’t think
    you understood my reply to Stuart, I didn’t mention Spain at all, but in saying that each country has their own set of rules and laws, therefore one should take care when they enter into an agreement, especially if signing into a big debt.

    Remember also financial institutions World wide suffered the downturn of the financial problems in the last few years which rebounded also onto people in debt.

    As for your questioning the word I used “sympathy” I had only used it in the context of borrowing money and is not in my DNA but from years of experience of knowing and dealing with certain people, but do show “sympathy” regarding that couple who has problems with their business which you don’t. As for bringing you into the conversation (don’t think I mentioned you by name) I was pointing to my disagreement in what was said the same as your believe in, your quote:-
    “Well this is nothing new to us Caccia”, as though you have suddenly become a spokesman for everybody on these sites
    and what you believe in has nothing to do with the law which you seem to question everything you don’t agree with. If it’s the law of the land in which one live’s in then abide by it’s rules and laws and if not, move on.

    My parents had taught me if you can’t afford something then don’t buy it, and if you go into debt make sure you can cover that debt or you’ll be in the s..t, hopefully if you have children you would have taught them the same.

    I stand by what I had said, and if you don’t like it, tough luck, my opinions are as valid as yours, and by the way, did you look up the meaning of the word sadistic, it does have various computations of it’s use ya know. lol.

  8. caccia,
    as you are at last showing a tad of respect for others (I don’t expect it to last though) I am using the handle you have chosen.

    Renting, yes in countries where landlords are not allowed to be greedy and rent increases are to a set formula. Germany comes to mind immediately, very strict conditions that have to be adhered to by both parties not least to maintain the property up to a standard.

    Carpetbaggers don’t like Germany, too many controls. To make serious money you have to invest in industry – strange concept that, at least to most Brits.

    BTW Spain also controls rent increases as does France. I have a few beefs with out landlord and if they are not put right we will have to use the law which is in the favour of the tenant. Indeed many maries in France have point blank refuses to see tenants evicted because they have lost their job and find it difficult to make ends meet – can’t ever expect to see social responsibility like that in the UK.

    Indeed the UK has become so like the USA – greed is good/unlimited immigration/tax breaks for the rich and screw the poor and if you are poor it’s your fault. For those who find these ‘values’ correct it’s simple – buy a one way ticket and don’t come back.

    Spain like the UK has imported all the worst aspects of ‘the American way’ whilst ignoring the good points of that place ( I can’t use the word society about the USA).

    The fact is that the governments both PP and PSOE did not warn the Spanish people to be careful (same as the UK). The elites in both countries are aggressively against any form of financial awareness training in schools – it would make it so much harder to con the people.

    To put it simply until residential property returns to being a place to live and not an investment the economies of such countries will always be distorted and dysfunctional – Spain and the UK are classic examples.

  9. “My parents had taught me if you can’t afford something then don’t buy it”

    That really has zero relevance to a person buying a house. Comparing a child and its pocket money purchases to a couple embarking on the property ladder is the sort of pure daftness we have come to expect from you Caccia, lol.

    Laws, if you haven’t noticed, change. And sometimes they change when people protest and complain.

  10. @Stuart.

    It’s not a case of showing a tad of respect for others it’s a case of common sense. We live in a society which runs on a free and democratically elected governments with a freedom of economic investments win or loose. That’s what made America, that’s what made Britain and that’s what made most democratically elected governments. Now if one is not happy with that system then choose a country like China or even Russia to complain about where they also have adapted in principle the same ideological system as the West, that is the rich of course not the poor.

    As for the rent structure you talk about, it governs itself, if too high, no letting.

    Rent increases in Spain are allowed by landlords in conjunction with the rate of inflation, minimum, and you will find that if a tenant pay’s their rent on time landlords tend not to increase rents, but naturally they do need to be increased over time.

    I think Stuart you are sounding more like a communist with your strong hand tactics regarding the enterprise of the West and if it was not due to this kind of freedom then countries remain stagnant.

    Stuart I could go on and on about difference and if that’s what you believe in all well and good. I’m not here to change your mind that’s your prerogative the same as what I believe in and I might add the freedom to do so for both of us.. But please don’t be like another person that blogs all the time on these sites and who, by the way, hopes to make a five times profit on the place he hopes to sell and therefore I don’t really understand what your beef is on the freedom of enterprise.

    Stuart, the beauty of renting is also the beauty of changing landlords.

  11. Fred,

    If you are taught, regardless of age, to be responsible in any form of financial venture then I think it’s a lesson well taught. Hope you have also advised your children the same.

    Fred, no point in trying to influence my way of thinking or try and alter my way of life. I merely point out facts and accept life as it now comes. Been, done and seen all the things that I need to know. So please find another person to quell your frustrations on. Are you trying to be another Dr.Phil

  12. caccia,
    England or should I say the ruling class got very rich by using modern weapons to defeat other races and then set about looting everything but you should know that or were you just being mendacious with the your post.

    America became very wealthy by exterminating over 17 million of the indigenous people and stealing their lands and treating the survivors like unwanted dogs.

    America needed cheap labour so of course it encouraged immigration just as has happened in the UK and other countries in Europe, since the 1970s’ but who has this benefited not the ordinary citizens and that’s for sure.

    It never ceases to make me laugh when those on the extreme right always refer to those who don’t have their greedy warped mentality as communists, it’s a stupid comment made by those wo have lost the argument.

    As to democracy – you need to look up the word in a dictionary. America a democracy or indeed the UK. Both countries are run by a small handful of super rich, it is they who dictate policies, elections are used to rubber stamp their wishes – that is not democracy.

    The USA was created by a handful of slave owning country gentlemen who set up a system that benefitted them at the expense of the ordinary man and woman, they did a very good job and their heirs are still firmly in control today.

    If you think that 1% of Americans controling 94% of all the assets is democratic and in the best interests of all the people then you expose your true nature – not very pretty is it.

    Basically as you have expressed yourself so many times on this forum – exploit any situation for personal gain at the expense of others, or dog eat dog – might is right.

    Greed is good is your motto, don’t be so coy about saying it, what I can’t stand is the lies and half truths you use to make your arguments.

  13. Stuart,
    What a load of old twaddle you come out with. Take too long to obliterate what you have said. I think you should study history more often before making such statements. Believe America was first settled by Europeans in the 14th centenary so one could count them out as being the prime suspect of taking advantage of forced labor etc, The native Americans at that time didn’t even know what a horse was until the Spanish introduced them. By the way, that little object that your fingers tap on was mainly due to American enterprise, not to Russia, China, north Korea etc, plus thousands of other items which we take for granted today and are purchased by these countries.

    I’m not sticking up for America or any other nation that was a dominating factor but that’s how human life evolves.

    You tend not to mention the thousands of previous years regarding powerful countries that took control of others and subjected them to slave labor to enrich their own nation, Britain being one of them. That’s what made a country great which eventually China and will take it’s place once again in history.

    You appear to have this big grudge regarding people that are in control or have vast sums of money, don’t know why, and the best of luck to people that have the courage to invest in something they believe in and are rightly rewarded, if any.

    I did mention that if that’s what you believe, so be it, that’s your prerogative, nothing wrong with that but it does boarder strongly on the communist ideology. Remember it was through slave labor that Russia and China reached this stage in history, I suppose you must have read this during your thesis on history.
    Something bad financially must have happened to you to think this way, every person regardless, tends to better themselves financially, that’s what makes the world go round and round and round. Don’t you get it Stuart.

    Britain and America has had their day, move over for the next one.

  14. Stuart,

    Still having problems with your landlord, take a tip, change landlords it’s not worth the aggravation you are going through and it’s making you a bitter man.

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