Spanish Mortgage ‘Ground Clause’ Claims Experts
If your Spanish mortgage contains a ‘ground clause’ you are now able to claim back the money you were over charged by your bank in Spain between 2008 to 2013.
So are you affected and could you claim back up to 15,000 Euros on this Spanish Ground clause?
The European court has now instructed the Government of Spain and the relevant Spanish banking institutions to rid all mortgages of the now illegal ground clauses that were previously included. This means that if your Spanish bank had a ground clause inserted deep down in the 30 page Spanish mortgage deed, then you can claim back in compensation the money you were overcharged due to this ground clause. That could be a total of up to 15,000 euros that is rightfully yours and now must legally be returned to you now the ground clause has been deemed illegal.
So what is the ground clause that was included in Spanish mortgages? These ground clauses created a minimum interest rate that was set into the Spanish mortgage contracts and prevented the mortgage interest rate (that was pegged to the EURIBOR) lowering in line with the reduction of the Euribor rate between 2008 – 2013. So when the interest rate in Europe was at its lowest for more than 30 years your monthly mortgage payment should have gone down but due to the ground clause that was in your mortgage papers some the Spanish banks charged you more and your monthly payment actually went up!
These limits imposed by banks via the ground clause were between 2.50% and 5.50%, but for 27 months the Euribor rate was below the 2.50% level, and in fact reached a record low of 1.215% in March 2010. This means that many Spanish banking customer ‘tied’ by the ground clause will not have benefited from this drop in their monthly mortgage payments. The European Court ruling also means that claims over ground clauses will no longer fall under the jurisdiction of the Commercial Courts and will now be covered by the Spanish Civil Courts, thus reducing the waiting time to prosecute these cases by more than 2 years.
The legal requirement is that the bank must confirm the amount owed within 30 days and must pay up within 3 months. So you are fully able to claim compensation back for the amount that you over paid due to the ground clause. You can also make your bank remove the ground clauses so you never again pay illegal interest on the Spanish mortgage and the monthly mortgage payment will be recalculated according to the variable interest agreed in the contract. .
So how do I know if my Spanish mortgage has a ground clause in it??
If you do not have a copy of your Spanish mortgage deeds then you can request them your bank and they will print it off for your or we can organise this for you. Once you have the mortgage deeds we can check the document and confirm if the ground clause is indeed included and thus you are free to claim compensation for the money that is rightfully yours. We can also contact the bank to ensure the ground is removed so you will never be over charged again in the future.
What if the bank contacts me and offers me a deal to remove the ground clause?
- Bear in mind that this ground clause ruling, that is enabling you to claim compensation, was enforced on the Spanish banks by the European Courts. The case of the ground clause was deemed illegal by the Spanish high courts but they ruled that the Spanish banks would not need to return any money back to the claimants! Suffice to say that the Spanish legal system and Spanish banks are not high in the trust department! Many people have been approached by their Spanish bank saying they will remove the ground clause if they agree to sign a piece of paper......the paper waives any right you have to make a ground clause claim in the future.
- Others are trying to get you to buy another product such as insurance in return for them removing the ground clause. We will protect you from this happening and help you make the ground clause claim you deserve. The Spanish courts did eventually rule that even if you had signed the mortgage contract this was not sufficient evidence to suggest that you fully understood the ramifications of the ground clause that was contained in it.
- Well known Spanish banks BBVA and Cajasur contended this ruling but was overruled by the Spanish courts and also blocked a motion to say that each case would need to be assessed on a case by case basis. This later scheme was just a ruse to try and drag out any ground clause compensation claims and clog up the already congested legal system. The European court ruling on the ground clause concluded that the Spanish high court ruling provided incomplete and insufficient protection for the Spanish bank consumers and it limited the amount that customers could claim back when trying to recover the money over paid, in relation to overpayments in the ground clause in the spanish mortgage terms.
- This new European ruling represents a great victory for customers and consumers against the Spanish banks tht contained the ground clause. According to the Bank of Spain report, the banks will have to return approximately 7.5 billion euros to all the 2.5 million customers that have been affected.
- What if I have changed mortgage since 2013 but at the time the mortgage contained a ground clause?
Not a problem as legally you can still make a ground clause claim against the Spanish bank so please contact us anyway to help you.