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Squatters Get Evicted with New Law (video)

Georgia has recently enacted new laws imposing tougher penalties against squatters, following a series of Channel 2 Action News investigations that exposed loopholes exploited by squatters.

From Civil to Criminal Georgia's New Approach to Squatting

This article examines how local police departments are implementing these new laws to criminally charge squatters.

Police Departments Adjust to New Laws

Consumer investigator Justin Gray reports that police departments, solicitors general, and local magistrates are still figuring out how to apply the new laws.

However, South Fulton has already taken proactive steps by creating a special task force dedicated to tackling squatters, leveraging the authority granted by the new law.

Immediate Criminal Charges for Squatters

The new law allows police officers to issue criminal citations to squatters on the spot. A recent incident in South Fulton illustrated this change when suspected squatters fled a home after police, armed with their new powers, arrived.

The new law negates the effectiveness of fake leases, which squatters previously used to claim legitimacy.

Challenges in Proving Fake Leases

Earlier this year, Paul Callan of DeKalb County experienced frustration when police could not remove suspected squatters due to a potentially fake lease.

Body camera footage showed officers unable to act without proof of fraud, emphasizing the need for the new law that now criminalizes squatting.

Legislative Response to Squatting

Following a hidden camera investigation by Channel 2 Action News and viral stories about squatters, Georgia lawmakers revised the law to classify squatting as a criminal offense handled by Magistrate Court within days.

This change eliminates the lengthy civil process previously required.

First Enforcement Under New Law

South Fulton police recently applied the new law to a house where the suspected squatter was in the eviction process with a corporate landlord. The landlord was seeking to recover $60,000 in unpaid rent.

The new legislation allows for quicker and more proactive responses to such situations.

Repeat Offenders and Law Enforcement Actions

Channel 2 Action News documented the eviction of Teisha Bailey from Paul Callan’s home. Weeks later, Bailey was found in another home nearby with the same belongings, raising questions about repeat offenses.

Bailey claims she was a scam victim, a defense that will be adjudicated in court.

Criminal Citations and Legal Process

Under the new law, suspected squatters are issued a criminal citation and must present a valid lease within three days. If the lease is found to be fraudulent, the case escalates to a felony.

Additionally, not only homeowners but also neighbors and homeowner associations can report suspected squatters to the police.

Community Impact and Future Outlook

The implementation of Georgia’s new squatter law is intended to protect homeowners and maintain community integrity. While some individuals claim to be victims of scams, the courts will determine the legitimacy of these claims.

The new law aims to deter squatting by introducing severe penalties and a swift judicial process.

Conclusion

Georgia’s new squatter law represents a significant shift in addressing the squatting issue.

With enhanced enforcement powers, police departments can now take immediate action against squatters, ensuring quicker resolutions and protecting property owners’ rights.

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