Elderly deaf and dumb couple face eviction over son’s debt

The proposed eviction of an elderly couple who are deaf and dumb and can’t read or write because they unwittingly acted as guarantors for their son’s bank loan has sparked public outcry in Spain.

Elderly deaf and dumb couple face eviction over son's debt
Photo: Benjamin Pleguezuelos /

Bankia made the decision on Monday to cancel the eviction of an elderly couple who are disabled and illiterate after bowing to public pressure and a petition that collected 220,000 signatures in just 48 hours.

Last month Maria del Carmen Lebron, 81, and Antonio Pleguezuelos, 76 who have lived in their home in the Madrid suburb of Pinto since 1970 were given an eviction notice as Bankia called in an outstanding debt owed by their son Gregorio.

It was only then that they learnt that in 2005 they had signed documents acting as guarantors for a €219,500 mortgage for their son, even though they hadn’t understood what they were signing.

In fact the mortgage agreement states that the contract was read out to the couple by a notary and that they had fully understood and agreed the terms. Their lawyers now argue that the agreement was invalid as both are completely deaf – Antonio lost his hearing when he was four years old after falling ill with meningitis and Maria del Carmen was deaf since birth.

When their son lost his job in the crisis and fell behind on mortgage payments the bank called in the debt and demanded they leave their house by January 30th 2017.

  Their eldest son Benjamin made the case public starting a petition on which garnered more than 200,000 signatures in just 48 hours and made headlines across Spain.

On Monday, Bankia announced that it had stopped the eviction order and would cancel the debt “given the particular vulnerability observed in this case”.

The case highlights the still ongoing plight of indebted homeowners suffering years of unemployment as a result of Spain’s economic crisis.

During the peak of the eviction crisis as banks called in loans, hundreds of families were evicted each day. In 2013, some 50,000 families were turfed out of their homes.

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Fastest economic growth in Spain since crisis

Spain’s economy is powering ahead at the fastest pace since the start of the global financial crisis in 2007.

Fastest economic growth in Spain since crisis
Spain recorded the eighth consectutive quarter of economic growth. Photo: AFP

In line with expectations, Spain’s GDP grew by a full one percent between April and June, up from 0.9 percent in the first three months of the year, according to a preliminary report on second quarter figures published by the National Statistics Institute on Thursday.

The figure represents an expansion for the eighth consecutive quarter for the Eurozone’s fourth largest economy and a boon to the ruling conservative party of Mariano Rajoy ahead of November elections.


Spain's economy has grown 3.1 percent compared to a year ago, just short of the 3.2 percent goal set by the government but an improvement on the 2.7 percent recorded in the first three months of the year. 

Although a breakdown of expenditure growth was not included in the preliminary report, Spain’s recovery is being driven by a rise in consumer spending, industrial investment and increased tourist numbers.

Spain has also benefitted from lower fuel costs and a weaker euro that has helped boost exports.

While the Spanish economy is expanding at one of the fastest rates in Europe, its unemployment rate remains one of the highest in Europe despite recent signs of job creation.

Spain's budget deficit also remains stubbornly high, standing at 5.8 percent of GDP at the end of 2014. The government has set a deficit target of 4.2 percent be end of 2015 and 2.8 percent in 2016