EVICTION CRISIS

Foreclosures more than double this year

Evictions have created “social conflict,” Spain’s top judge says

The number of foreclosure proceedings initiated since the start of this year has more than doubled from a year earlier, with the “subsequent creation of social conflict” due to evictions, the head of the Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), Gonzalo Moliner, told Congress on Monday.

During his appearance before the congressional justice committee to present the CGPJ’s annual report for last year, Moliner said foreclosure proceedings this year were up 134 percent. A CGPJ spokesman said Moliner was referring to all foreclosures, including those on commercial property, garages and second homes, which came to 182,178.

 Spain has slipped back into recession for the second time in three years, with a quarter of the working population now out of a job. Foreclosure proceedings jumped from 58,686 in 2008 to 93,319 in 2009 before falling 16.9 percent in 2010 to 77,854.

 Excluding foreclosures, Moliner said the number of civil cases brought before the courts declined 3.05 percent in the first nine months of the year from the same period a year earlier. “In reality the level of litigiousness has not fallen, rather the nature of it has changed, with a surprising increase in foreclosures and the creation of social conflict,” Moliner said.

 A number of people facing eviction this year have committed suicide.

In an effort to address the problem, the government last month approved a series of measures that include a moratorium on ousting particularly vulnerable people from their homes and the creation of a pool of low-rent public housing for families who lose their homes to the banks.

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