Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH)

May 2, 2019 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
September 17, 2017 Ciro Oiticica
November 30, 2016 Ciro Oiticica

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Mission and Purpose

The PAH defines itself as "a nonpartisan group of [...] people who, upon finding that the current legal framework is designed to guarantee that banks collect debts, while leaving mortgaged people unprotected for reasons such as the unemployment or the rise in fees can not cope with the bills. "[1]

The PAH denounces the fraud of the mortgage process of the real estate bubble, with surcharges and abusive clauses on the part of the banks, in such a way that we affirm that the debt contracted by citizens is an illegitimate debt. The PAH also denounces that, in the face of the crisis, while the banks are rescued with public money, the population is seen to be unprotected and their right to housing, enshrined in the constitution, disappears. The PAH demands that the public administrations fulfill their duty to investigate the fraud of the mortgage process and to guarantee the population the right to decent housing.
The PAH is considered a horizontal, nonviolent, assembly-based and nonpartisan movement. It meets in an assembly way to present the different cases of those affected, offer advice and mutual help to find both practical and emotional support. On May 18, 2011, the PAH, with its registered office at Calle de Córcega No. 521, was registered in the National Registry of Associations of the Ministry of the Interior.

Origins and Development

The PAH arises in February 2009 in Barcelona and is present throughout the Spanish geography. The Platform emerged within the framework of the 2008-2013 Spanish real estate crisis that was triggered by the real estate bubble and the subsequent protests in Spain in 2011-2013.
Since 1999, the price of housing in Spain has risen by around 180% in a decade (1996-2006), well above salaries, which led to a situation in which citizens spend a large part of their salary on buying a flat.
The rise in prices was caused by the real estate bubble, which is caused by factors such as the shortage of rental housing (85% of all dwellings destined for ownership, while this rate is 61% in the rest of Europe , and the existence of a park of three million empty houses, which corresponds to 20% of the total.
Despite this, Spain is one of the countries in Europe with the lowest rental rate, something that is attributed to a fiscal policy that favors the purchase.
Since the economic crisis of 2008-2013, the increase in unemployment has skyrocketed to figures above 20%, which has made it impossible for thousands of families to pay their home mortgage. Since 2007, 350,000 families have been left homeless, foreclosed on for non-payment of the mortgage has caused that more than 350,000 families have been evicted in Spain after the crisis. After the house auction, the houses are once again appraised below their initial appraisal price, with the owners having to pay the difference without having the enjoyment of the property.

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

PAH is financed by the common people and sustained more by the will and effort of the people than by large donations. That is why it seeks to create ties between the people who want to help and the organization. In fact, the most important thing about the PAH are its local nodes, so it is thought that before donating to the global account, do it to the nearest PAH, so that it can be known and eventually join its activities. .

Specializations, Methods and Tools

The PAH groups together people with difficulties to pay the mortgage or who are in the process of foreclosure and people in solidarity with this problem. The PAH develops different strategies to guarantee the right to housing of thousands of people.
One of the initiatives of the platform is to carry out actions of civil disobedience and passive resistance to executions and notifications of evictions by holding rallies at the door of the houses of those affected, preventing the passage of judicial agents. This campaign began in November 2010 and in July 2014 it had already stopped 1,135 evictions throughout the state, according to the organization itself.

Major Projects and Events


Campaign for the dation in payment: delivery of the home for the cancellation of the mortgage debt in case of habitual residence and debtors in good faith. In June 2010, the PAH and the DESC Observatory sent Congress a proposal to amend the law that was rejected by the PP and PSOE. The organized voice of those affected has managed to bring together social groups and trade union organizations and has launched an ILP to collect signatures and bring the PAH proposal to the Congress of Deputies again.

The non-legal recognition of the dation in payment would have to be added the picaresque of the auctions at 50% of the appraised value in favor of the banks. In May 2013, the banks continued to award homes at 50% auctions using their real estate subsidiaries. The price for which the house is valued when the bank is auctioned is decisive to establish the outstanding debt with the bank when the dation in payment is not applied. Despite the modifications of the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero that increased the percentage from 50% to 60% and the rise from 60% to 70% by the government of Mariano Rajoy, the bank, using its own real estate subsidiaries, is awarded the homes 50% of their appraised value thanks to the figure of a third party in the auction, which is your real estate subsidiary. Article 670.4 of the civil procedure law allows this trick that leaves legal modifications on paper.

Obra Social La PAH

Faced with the growing wave of evictions, the platform proposes a campaign that seeks the citizen appropriation of empty homes in the hands of financial entities resulting from foreclosures. In the cases in which the citizen concentrations of stop evictions do not paralyze the evictions, the PAH will cover the families to occupy the houses from which they have been evicted. This campaign has a triple objective:

Recover the social function of an empty house to guarantee that the family is not left on the street.

Increase pressure on financial institutions to accept dation in payment.

Force public administrations to adopt once and for all the necessary measures to guarantee the right to housing.

The title of this campaign is a parody of Obra Social La Caixa, one of the main causes of the situation.

25-S mobilizations

On September 25, 2011, the PAH and other civil society organizations called for a state mobilization in 41 cities in Spain. Thousands of people demanded a regulatory change to, among other things, stop the trickle of evictions caused by the economic crisis and allow retroactive payment, and in defense of the constitutional right to decent housing.

Popular Legislative Initiative for Dignified Housing On March 30, 2011, the PAH and the DESC Observatory, together with other social entities and trade union organizations (UGT, CCOO, Taula del third Sector, UCC, CONFAVC) began to process the text of the Initiative. Legislative Popular (ILP) in order to regulate dation in payment, so that the thousands of families condemned to default for life due to the current law and the loans they requested have the right to a second chance as well as in other European countries and the United States. Subsequently, the text was expanded with requests for an immediate moratorium on evictions and a public park for social rent, as a minimum measure aimed at guaranteeing the right to housing of people affected by foreclosures.

Between March and September 2011, the Bureau of Congress (made up of PSOE, PSC, PP, CiU, and PNV) blocked the ILP for different reasons, preventing the collection of signatures from beginning before the 2011 general elections, being this authorized In September, however, the Central Electoral Board did not begin collecting ILP signatures until April 18, 2012.

1,402,845 signatures were delivered on February 5, 2013 in Congress. They called a demonstration for February 16, 2013, and held a virtual escrache to get it admitted for processing. On February 12, the ILP was approved for processing with 333 votes in favor and one abstention. They affirm that the change of position of the Popular Party was due to popular pressure. They maintained their warning to carry out physical escrache if they do not approve the ILP as delivered.
For a few weeks, acts of protest were common in the form of escrache to the Popular Party politicians. However, various media as well as the government launched a smear campaign against the escraches that reduced popular support for these protests (which initially stood at over 70%), although they did not manage to affect the popularity of the PAH, supported by the media. alternatives and social networks.

On April 2, 2013, the spokesperson for the popular parliamentary group announced that the Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP) on evictions was going to be merged with the law that the government had presented and that does not contemplate dation in payment, precisely the main proposal of the ILP. In this way, the ILP accepted for processing on February 16 by the Congress of Deputies was de facto rejected. In addition, the spokesman denounced the escraches to which several deputies and leaders of his party were being subjected by members of the anti-eviction organizations.

Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union

On March 14, 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union (TEU) ruled that Law 1/2000, of January 7, on Civil Procedure that regulates the foreclosure procedure, does not guarantee citizens sufficient protection against to abusive clauses in mortgages and therefore violates Community regulations, specifically Council Directive 93/13 / EEC of April 5, 1993 on consumer protection. The judgment of the European Court of Luxembourg is issued in response to a question presented by the commercial court of Barcelona, specifically by judge José María Fernández Seijo, at the request of lawyer Dionisio Moreno, defender in the Mohamed Aziz case, given the impossibility of paralyze an eviction presented by Spanish law. According to the sentence, the foreclosure procedures may be paralyzed by the judge, in compliance with the indicated community regulations. European justice rules that Law 1/2000, of January 7, on Civil Procedure is not compatible with Directive 93/13 / EEC, insofar as there are not sufficient grounds for opposition to foreclosure that make possible the exercise of legal actions or remedies that guarantee an effective protection of consumer rights. The sentence, however, does not expressly pronounce on the demands of the Platform for People Affected by the Mortgage included in the Popular Legislative Initiative for Dignified Housing, especially on the issue of dation in payment or the suspension of evictions. For Judge José María Fernández Seijo, the sentence modifies the rules of the game of the Spanish law on foreclosure, since it allows judges to freeze evictions ex officio.


2012 - Català de l'Any 2012 Award for the best solidarity initiative. The heated speech of the spokeswoman Ada Colau of the Platform in Barcelona was not broadcast on the Catalan regional TV3 that broadcast the gala in false direct, a fact that was described as censorship.

2012 - National Award of the 2012 Human Rights Awards of the Spanish Association for Human Rights (2012, December 4).

2013 - European Citizen Award of the European Parliament for the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages.

2014 - III State Prize for Social Work.

2014 - EtnoSur2mil14 Prize awarded by the Ethnic Encounters of the Sierra Sur festival.

Analysis and Lessons Learned

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January 2013 - Study 2007 - 2012: Retrospective on evictions and foreclosures in Spain, official statistics and indicators - Ada Colau and Adrià Alemany

January 2013 - Article Evictions and Democracy: From the strategy of fear to the war of numbers as a dissuasive policy - Ada Colau and Adrià Alemany

June 2012 - Mortgaged Lives Book - Ada Colau and Adrià Alemany

July 2011 - How to stop an eviction. The experience of the Platform for those affected by the mortgage - Ada Colau.

July 2011 - Intervention of the PAH in the subcommittee for the reform of the mortgage system. Appearance July 13 in the Congress of Deputies. Text: less commission and more real democracy.

February 2011 - Analysis of the impact of foreclosures in Spain: economic and social consequences of leaving thousands of families homeless and in debt - Adrià Alemany.

Less debt and cheaper apartments - Adria Alemany - Public

Banks' fear of a new mortgage law - Adria Alemany - Public (in catalan)

02/14/2011 - Dation in payment: A possible and necessary solution - Adrià Alemany - Diagonal newspaper

The vain attempt to save the real estate titanic - Adria Alemany - Diagonal newspaper.

Documentary: The DNA of the Real Estate Bubble - Adria Alemany and Albert.

Foreclosures and the Right to a Home - Vanesa Valiño- Director of the DESC Observatory

Foreclosures and the right to Housing. Legal strategies against family insolvency. Observatory DESC Conference.

Measures against family over-indebtedness, for a solution to the mortgage conviction. framework document (PAH, Observatori DESC, ADICAE, CONFAVC, UGT, CCOO)

See Also


[1] “Manifesto,” Platform for People Affected by the Mortgage (PAH), June 4, 2013,

External Links


Lead image: Platform Affected by Mortgages,