MORTGAGE MISERY

Popular Party urges Socialists to agree on halt to evictions “as soon as possible”

Opposition wants to extend the reach of any moratorium and a reform of mortgage legislation

After almost six hours of talks the previous day, the ruling Popular Party on Tuesday put pressure on the main opposition Socialists to agree to an arrangement to halt the eviction of families.

The government wants to pass a decree on Thursday freezing the ouster from their homes of families that are unable to service their mortgages. After the recent suicides of two people facing eviction, there has been growing public clamor to resolve a situation that has taken on increasingly dramatic dimensions.

“They [the Socialists] have to negotiate knowing that the clock is ticking, that the date is this Thursday and we can’t put off taking decisions,” PP congressional spokesman Alfonso Alonso told reporters in the lobby of parliament. “This issue cannot wait because there are many people who are suffering,” he added.

Alonso did not comment on what direction the talks were taking other than to say the objective was to offer families more protection. One of the ideas that have been touted is to impose a moratorium of two years on evictions in “extreme” cases, a move the country’s banks have already agreed to adhere to.

The PP spokesman said there is sufficient wiggle room for an agreement, although sources in the Socialist Party say they want to go further than the PP by introducing a ban on abusive mortgages and extend the moratorium to cases beyond those deemed to be “extreme.”

Socialist sources said Tuesday they willing to reach an agreement, “but not any old agreement.” Talks are due to resume later Tuesday.

Some 350,000 home repossession orders have been issued in the past four years, of which about half have been executed.

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