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Spanish region to seize first house from banks

MADRID (AP) -- Spain's southern Andalucia region has begun its first proceedings to seize confiscated houses from banks under a new anti-eviction law aimed at protecting people in economic difficulties.

The regional government said Thursday the house in the southern city of Huelva would be taken off a bank mortgage company which issued the tenant an eviction order for failing to keep up payments.

Bank repossessions because of mortgage nonpayment have soared since the economic crisis began in 2008 and caused a social outcry.

The new Andalucian law allows the regional government to take houses off banks for three years if the owner being evicted earns less than 540 euros a month and has suffered financially because of the crisis.

The central Spanish government and European authorities are studying the regional law's legality.