Georgia police are kicking out squatters after Republican-controlled state gov’t passes new law: ‘Nope!’ That’s over with!’

Georgia police are taking action against squatters after the Republican-controlled government passed new protections for rental landlords.

A video report from WSB-TV showed police mocking suspected squatters who were previously able to take advantage of loopholes in the law.

Before House Bill 1017, a dispute between the owner of a home and a squatter was a civil matter and could take weeks or months to be decided in court. Meanwhile the landlord would have to pay the mortgage while the squatter stayed for free.

‘All these fake leases. … Nope! Nope! Nope! That’s over with!’

The new law makes squatting a criminal offense if the suspect cannot prove that they belong in the home within three days. The criminal citation then becomes a felony if the lease is fraudulent.

WSB reports that some departments are still trying to determine how to implement the new law, but South Fulton Police have already created a task force to root out squatters.

“All these fake leases, and I got receipts, and this, and I rented this. Nope! Nope! Nope! That’s over with!” says an officer with the South Fulton Police.

“I know everybody thinks you can go in the house and squat and sit there. That all changed the other day,” said another officer.

The law also allows other entities, including HOAs and neighbors, to report suspected squatters.

‘The police can’t put them out. What justice is that?’

Folks at WSB patted themselves on the back for their squatter coverage that they claim led to legislators passing the new law.

In one infuriating example from 2023, an Army officer said that a squatter moved into her home while she was on active duty. She discovered the housing stowaway after trying to sell the home and finding someone inside. But police could not evict them because it was a civil matter.

“I can’t ask them to leave. I can’t put them out. The police can’t put them out. What justice is that?” said Lt. Colonel Dahlia Daure to WSB at the time.

Ironically, under the old laws, the squatter was protected against adverse action by Daure.

“I want to go shoot out the windows, turn off the water, cut wires, but I can’t,” she said. “That’s a crime. Law-abiding citizens can’t do that.”

‘This is no longer a civil matter. Once this law was passed, it’s now become a criminal offense.’

South Fulton Police Lt. Jubal Rogers told WSB that the new law will let police shut down suspected squatters in days instead of months.

“We’re basically putting these squatters on notice. The law changed,” he said.

“This is no longer a civil matter. Once this law was passed, it’s now become a criminal offense to unlawfully squat in a residence where you do not have a lease,” Rogers added. “I think with the current law that is now in effect, we will be able to react more proactively.”

In one instance, police determined that a suspected squatter was in a home with a corporate owner who was seeking to be reimbursed $60,000 in delinquent rent.

In February, a report from the National Rental Home Council found that as many as 1,200 vacant homes were taken over by squatters in just Atlanta, Georgia.

It appears that the new law may just turn the tide against squatters.

“House Bill 1017 says to squatters, ‘No more freeloading, no more free rides, no more fraud on the paperwork. If you falsify documents and you get caught, you’re going to serve jail time on that. That’s wrong,'” said Republican state Representative Matt Reeves. “These squatters are stealing the American dream.”

Georgia has a Republican governor with Republican majorities in both chambers of the legislature.

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