Public anger over evictions has been compounded because the government is negotiating billion-dollar bailouts for the same banks that are repossessing homes. In recent weeks Spain’s General Council of the Judiciary, a police union and opposition parties have all demanded new legislation to end the widespread evictions.
Spanish banks have warned against enacting measures that could prompt mortgage holders to default on purpose because they feel protected. De Guindos doubted this would happen, and he did not give an estimate of how many people would benefit from the eviction suspensions.
He noted that while some people are losing their homes, Spain has 700,000 empty houses whose owners cannot find buyers, chiefly because banks are reluctant to give loans and people are afraid of buying into real estate after the crash.
Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said the government also passed legislation that will provide cheap rentals for those who have already lost their homes.
Associated Press writers Oleg Cetinic and Marta Ramoneda contributed from Barcelona.