Spanish Locksmiths Refuse to Change Locks On Foreclosed Homes

Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami

Iker de Carlos, a 22 year old locksmith from Pamplona, Spain has started what has become a major rebellion against Spanish banks. Locksmiths across Spain have begun refusing to change locks on homes being foreclosed on by Spanish banks.

The UK Guardian quoted de Carlos as saying:

“It only took us 15 minutes to reach a decision. We all had stories of jobs we had been on where families had been left on the street. When you set out all you have is an address and the name of the bank, but I recall an elderly, sick man who was barely given time to put his trousers on.”

Spanish banks who followed their American counterparts in offering exotic mortgages such as 100% loans and negative amortized loans (Option-ARMs) are no reaping the benefits of taxpayer bailouts are foreclosing on homeowners they aggressively marketed to during the real estate boom.  Like in the U.S. where homeowners can not get refinancing because their homes have lost 50% to 75% of their value, Spanish homeowners are now facing a similar situation and because of austerity measures placed on Spanish taxpayers many of these homeowners are unemployed.  Unemployment is as high as 50% for Spaniards under the age of 30.

Acccording to the Guardian’s analysis, “Spain’s banks began to receive what will eventually be more than €40bn (£32.5bn) in aid. The number of foreclosures, meanwhile, increased by 134% last year.”

The head of Spain’s higher judiciary council warned that, “Social conflict is being created,” because of the way Spanish banks handle mortgage financing.

Unlike in the U.S., where a homeowner can simply discharge any deficiency judgments against them from a lender in bankruptcy, Spanish homeowners are straddled with the debt until they either die or pay it off.  In meantime, they are unable to buy or rent a home.

So why in the land of the free and home of the brave, aren’t Americans doing the same thing?

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