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Georgia Police Evict Squatters Living in Suburban Home Since December

 May 6, 2024

On Christmas Day, a group of individuals illegally entered a vacant property located in the Hampton Oaks subdivision of South Fulton, Georgia, marking the beginning of a prolonged unauthorized stay.

The squatters have since been arrested by local police for unlawfully occupying the vacant home, highlighting a growing problem not just in Georgia, but nationwide, as Fox News reports.

Police action on the matter was significant, with a considerable number of officers dispatched to Caveat Court, where the vacant property is situated. Upon arrival, they detained six squatters and discovered a vehicle that had been reported stolen.

Community Leaders Express Concern Over Squatters

Kendra Snorton, vice president of the homeowners' association, along with Mel Keyton, the president, have been vocal about the disruptions caused by the squatters.

Notably, the group was also implicated in a separate break-in within the subdivision.

According to Keyton, the squatters had exhibited bold behavior, using the subdivision’s amenities and social spaces as if they were residents.

"They use our amenities. They walk through the neighborhood. They break into houses," Keyton explained.

Legislative Responses to Curb Squatting

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed the Georgia Squatter Reform Act into law. This legislation criminalizes squatting, speeds up the eviction process, and allows property owners to seek damages from squatters.

"Unfortunately, bad actors have figured out ways to take advantage of this, exploit, really the process that goes through the local government," stated Kemp.

Similarly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis enacted legislation in March that removes squatters' rights, aiming to protect property owners across the state.

Real Estate Challenges Posed by Squatters

Atlanta real estate agent, Kesha Chedeaux, shared troubling accounts of squatters who cause extensive damage and engage in illegal activities. "The last incident that I had, there was a squatter there who totally destroyed the place. One has gone to jail. They sold the appliances from the property and received money for them," Chedeaux disclosed.

Such incidents complicate the sale and management of properties, often leading to financial losses and legal struggles for owners.

Community Reactions to Squatting Incidents

Residents of the Hampton Oaks subdivision have been on edge since the squatters moved in. Snorton expressed her discomfort about not knowing who resides in their community. "It makes me feel uneasy not knowing who is living among us," she said.

The unsettling presence of the squatters has been particularly disturbing for the homeowners who feel their safety and property values might be compromised.

Final Summary of Squatting Issue and Police Action

The South Fulton Police's recent intervention has brought relief to the Hampton Oaks community, but the issue of squatting remains a significant concern.

As authorities continue to address this complex challenge, both the community and law enforcement are calling for vigilant enforcement of new and existing laws to prevent future occurrences.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing struggles many communities face with unauthorized property occupation and the extensive implications it can have on homeowner safety and community stability.