Top judges suspend Andalusia’s pioneering anti-eviction law

Popular Party government appeal accepted by Constitutional Court magistrates

The Constitutional Court has upheld an appeal lodged by the ruling conservative Popular Party against the so-called anti-eviction law introduced last year by the Socialist Party-led regional administration of Andalusia.

The court’s decision effectively signals the automatic suspension of the legislation, as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had requested. The regional measure allowed for the temporary expropriation of a property facing an eviction order and permitted the Andalusia administration to assume control of any property owned by the banks that stood empty and let people who had been evicted live there for up to three years. The Constitutional Court is empowered to maintain the suspension for five months, before deciding whether to extend the stay or issue a definitive ruling on the matter.

The country’s highest legal panel imposed a temporary injunction last July after the Rajoy administration had registered an appeal the previous month against a regional decree, which later became the anti-eviction law.

Rajoy’s reasoning for both legal challenges is based on the central government’s jurisdiction, which he said Andalusia had impinged upon.

Several evictions in the Andalusia region were prevented under the legislation. In a country rocked by the global financial crisis and with unemployment standing at some 26 percent, the number of foreclosure claims reaching the courts nearly quadrupled between 2010 and 2013, according to figures from the General Council of the Judiciary legal watchdog.