Up to 30 squatters took over Atlanta man’s property for years; he spent thousands to clean up estate, got sued for $190,000

A Georgia man has been desperately fighting for years to remove dozens of squatters off his property in Atlanta. The property owner has faced major hurdles in trying to reclaim his land from the squatters, including spending thousands to clean up the estate and being sued for $190,000.

David Morris owns a nine-acre property in southeast Atlanta. He said that about 10 years ago, he started allowing four individuals to live on the property rent-free.

However, uninvited trespassers began living on his land at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The people who were living on the land started having other people live on the land, their friends,” Morris recently told WAGA-TV.

Morris looked to the city of Atlanta for assistance in removing the squatters from his property. Unfortunately for the property owner, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention imposed a halt to residential evictions starting in September 2020. The pandemic-mandated eviction moratorium in Georgia didn’t end until October 2021.

At one point, as many as 30 trespassers were living on his property. He noted that there are now eight squatters on his land.

One of the squatters filed a $190,000 counter-claim against him. However, the case was dismissed because they did not show up in court.

About a year ago, Morris said the “entire medical staff” of the Stop Cop City activist movement was camped on his property.

Morris, who was living in California at the time, said Atlanta police officers detained more than 20 activists fighting against the construction of a $90 million police training center in Dekalb County’s South River Forest.

This year, he was contacted by code enforcement demanding that he clean up his property. It has cost Morris thousands of dollars to clean up the mess left by squatters on his property.

“It’s frustrating that I’m having to spend so much money. I spent $10,000 on cleaning up garbage from vagrants,” Morris said.

He said he has gone through five dumpsters to haul away trash just in the past month.

Morris noted that he obtained a writ of possession on Friday.

“A writ of possession is a court order a landlord must obtain when they seek to terminate a tenant’s right to possession and the tenant will not vacate the premises voluntarily,” explained Sharon Lewonski – partner and real estate practice chair at the Culhane Meadows Law Firm in Atlanta.

Morris said, “So, it will take, I am predicting, another thirty days before the marshals will call me to schedule a time for me to have five people here to move everything from there to the street.”

He added, “We’re going to build just a big fence here and a gate, and put no trespassing signs.”

Despite all the issues with the trespassers, Morris said he intends to build affordable housing on his property for people in need.

However, Morris said he won’t begin the affordable housing project until all of the squatters are off the property.

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Squatter sues Atlanta property owner for $190K | FOX 5 Newswww.youtube.com

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