In a significant victory against abusive loan practices, a court in Cadiz, Spain, ordered Unión de Créditos Inmobiliarios (UCI) to refund nearly €2,000 to a client over opening commission fees the court deemed abusive.
Such fees in mortgage loans have recently come under increasing scrutiny. Banks and other lenders charge these fees as a percentage of the loan amount, ostensibly to cover the administrative costs of processing the loan.
For example, on a €50,000 loan with a 1% commission, a borrower would pay €500, per the Bank of Spain guidelines. However, the case in question (a mortgage dated 6 July 2006) involved a staggering 2% commission, far exceeding the usual rates.
A question of proportionality
While Spanish law (specifically Law 2/2009 of March 31) allows lenders like UCI to establish their commission rates freely, the court found that the 2% opening fee imposed on the €66,000 loan – amounting to €1,320 – was disproportionate. This fee significantly exceeded Spain’s average opening commission rates, which typically range between 0.25% and 1.50%.
The Cadiz court acknowledged that the opening commission clause was clearly stated in the contract and complied with national regulations. Despite this, it ruled that charging €1,320 as an opening fee was excessive and abusive. Consequently, this clause was declared null and void.
In addition to ordering UCI to refund the €1,320 opening commission to the plaintiff, the ruling mandated the removal of this abusive clause from the contract in question.
What does this mean for future mortgages?
This decision sets a precedent in the Spanish mortgage industry and signals a move towards more equitable lending practices. It emphasises the need for transparency and proportionality in financial contracts, particularly in the context of mortgage loans.
That said, it also serves as a reminder of the importance of carefully reviewing loan agreements and being aware of the legal protections available to borrowers in Spain.
While this case provides an encouraging example of legal recourse against unfair lending practices for those navigating complex mortgage agreements, as always, borrowers should seek professional legal advice to understand their rights and obligations in financial agreements.
Do you suspect abusive clauses in your mortgage?
If you currently have a mortgage in Spain and suspect it may contain unfair or abusive clauses, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at CostaLuz Lawyers.
Our team of experienced legal professionals specialise in identifying and challenging such practices, ensuring that your rights as a borrower are protected.
Don’t let questionable clauses in your mortgage agreement go unchecked. Contact us for a thorough review and expert legal advice.
Together, we can ensure that your mortgage terms are fair and just.