A BRITISH couple are going to court over the 2009 repossession of their dream home in Spain.
Tina and Steve Poole are fighting Santander Bank for being turfed out after they could not keep pace with their mortgage repayments.
Their lawyer says the repossession should be scrapped as clauses to validate it in the mortgage contract were illegal.
The 240-year-old farmhouse in Manises-Ribarroja was repossessed in 2009, but has been lived in by squatters ever since, resulting in a lot of damage.
The Pooles have now launched legal action against Santander (formerly Banco Popular) to get their four-bedroom house back.
They are also claiming rent from the time they were evicted. And if successful, it would be an ‘almost unique’ victory in reversing a bank seizure – especially after so many years.
The Pooles, who are currently working in Morocco, say their case has been strengthened by special courts set up in Spain over recent years to specifically deal with ‘bank disputes’ like theirs.
The couple had first moved to Spain in 2000 with their three children, firstly living in Javea, before moving to the large rural ‘masia’ in inland Valencia.
“We spent a lot of money renovating it and yes, we did get behind with the mortgage, which we believe we were unfairly treated over,” Tina told the Olive Press.
“The bank simply refused to discuss the debt, especially as we were charged an interest rate of 8%, while they were advertising 2.5% rates at the time,” she continued.
“They lent us enough to pay the original mortgage for a year, but that landed us with two debts, and a subsequent repossession which we’ve been told was illegally executed.”
So bad was the situation, they were forced to return to the UK and their children had to leave their schools after nine happy years in Spain.
Ever since then, the couple have worked continually on a legal challenge which will be heard in Santander’s High Court, in Cantabria, next February, after an initial hearing was adjourned in September.
One major concern has been Santander Bank trying to sell off the house, while legal proceedings are active.
“Our lawyer had to rush to Santander this year to get an injunction after I found out the property had been reserved for a potential buyer,” explained Tina.
Since then any agents marketing the property, must explain clearly online and in print that it is ‘under litigation’.
“We will certainly also have to take more action to force them to pay for the damage made by the squatters,” Tina added.
Santander has been approached for comment, but no reply has so far been received.
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