Evictions derived from non-payment of rent increased in the first quarter of the year by 14% year-on-year, to 7,862 cases, according to the latest data published by the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ). In the comparison with the first quarter of last year, it must be taken into account, however, that this period was already affected for 18 days (from March 14 to March 31) by the declaration of the first state of alarm, which led to paralysis considerable amount of activity. If the figure known this Monday is contrasted with respect to the last comparable period, the first quarter of 2019, the result is a decrease of 23.7%.
Despite this striking drop in the figure compared to two years ago, it is difficult to conclude if the explanation is found in the anti-eviction regulations that the Government approved last December. On the one hand, the total number of launches (the judicial slang for the moment when the judge orders an eviction, which is what the statistics really measure) stood between January and March at 10,961 cases, 13.4 % more than last year and 29.5% less than two years ago.
The fact that evictions in general are falling more than those derived specifically from non-payment of rent means that evictions that arise from other causes must necessarily be decreasing. Specifically, the CGPJ specifies that the launches derived from mortgage default were 2,548 in the first quarter, 6.5% more than a year ago and 41.4% less than two years ago. The evictions of tenants and those from foreclosures are the two main categories that judicial statistics contemplate, but this adds a third reason, which is actually a mixed bag that groups other causes. For the first quarter, this category of others comprised 551 cases, 46.2% more than a year ago and 38% less than two years ago. Conclusion: the bulk of the reduction in the number of evictions with respect to two years ago corresponds mainly to these two categories and, particularly, to the fact that there are fewer and fewer evictions due to delinquency in mortgage payments.
Since last December’s anti-eviction regulations were directed exclusively at tenants, the comparative figures of the different causes that lead to an eviction seem to suggest that the decree had a limited impact in the first quarter of the year. In reality, the rule that was approved after a tense negotiation between the two partners in no way implies a total stoppage of evictions. It is up to the judge to assess, in the face of a situation of vulnerability of the tenant, and even when he occupies the property without an enabling title to do so, if the eviction stops for a few months to find an alternative where to live the person who is going to be evicted his living place.
In favor of the thesis that the December regulations have not had a great impact, there is also the fact that tenants are, by far, those who most frequently carry out evictions in Spain. Between January and March, more than 7 out of 10 evictions (exactly 71.7%) were derived from defaults on the lease. This percentage, with slight ups and downs but always around 70%, has been maintained for a long time.
Increase in foreclosures
As for evictions derived from mortgage defaults, despite the fact that the decline has been sustained for years, the statistics known this Monday leave some worrying data. Specifically, the foreclosures presented, the initial moment in which an entity claims the possession of a property because the borrower has stopped paying the installments (and that if there is no agreement during the judicial process it can end in a launch), they were fired in the 56.3% in the first quarter of the year, up to 7,280 cases. In this case there is no relief when comparing it with 2019: they are 39.7% more. This fact, to which the INE already pointed out last Friday using property records as a source, is related, among other things, to an increase in delinquencies due to the crisis and could cause evictions from foreclosures grew again. In the previous crisis, that of 2008, they shot up and were the cause for years of a large number of evictions in Spain.
The CGPJ statistics also show an increase in mortgage litigation. 33,747 cases for abusive mortgage clauses were entered in the courts of first instance between January and March, 49% more than in the same period of 2020. The cases resolved rose to more than 36,000 (10.2%) which He left the number of pending cases practically unchanged: almost 235,000 cases are still awaiting sentencing in the courts, 0.4% more than a year ago. What does not change either is the very high percentage of estimated judgments: in the cases resolved during the first quarter, the ruling gave the borrower the reason in 97.6% of the cases.