A BRITISH couple are demanding compensation from Bankinter after being ‘misled and harassed’ throughout a 10-year-long Spanish mortgage debacle.
Lauren Ottewill, 56, and her husband Martin, 57, moved into a flat in Los Montesinos, Costa Blanca, in 2004, paying a €20,000 down-payment on what was then an €121,000 property.
They continued to faithfully pay another €20,000 – just €10,000 short of the flat’s current worth – before they ran out of money.
When the flat was repossessed in 2009, Bankinter had not even notified the couple.
“We only found out when our estate agent went to the property and couldn’t get in with the keys,” Lauren told Olive Press. “He called up the bank and they told us the flat had been repossessed a while back.”
“Nor had they told us that we had an account still open, until they called to claim their €200 of maintenance fees.”
It was only when they tried to close their account five years later that they found out that Spanish law still held them to the remainder of the mortgage on the seized property.
Bankinter agent Alfonso Perez Velazquez told Olive Press that national policy is written so that if a property is repossessed – at whatever worth the government determines – and there is still a difference between the unpaid mortgage and the property value, it follows the debtor for life.
However, two years ago Bankinter decided to abolish all debts on repossessed houses, but the change in policy only applies to properties bought in the last two years, meaning the Ottewills are out of luck.
“They are still threatening us and harassing us over unpaid mortgage debts plus penalties,” the Ottewills told Olive Press, citing phone calls and letters in Spanish demanding that they pay the outstanding mortgage on the repossessed flat.
“If we had been told in 2004 that we if we lose our property and still have to pay the mortgage and lose everything we would never have bought it and gotten into such a sick situation. No one would.”