Fulton officials warn of squatters in vacant homes
FULTON COUNTY, Ga. —
Fulton County's Superior Court Clerk is asking residents to be on the lookout for squatters in vacant homes after she said she's seen a huge increase in the number of adverse possession documents at her office.
"These documents are being used by individuals who are actually trespassing in homeowners' properties," said Cathelene "Tina" Robinson. "Even though they're legal documents that are being filed in our office, it still doesn't give ownership, so these individuals are trespassing on personal property."
Robinson is going out into the community warning organizations and neighborhood groups to be on the lookout for these squatters and alert the authorities if they see something suspicious.
"It can be very dangerous for the communities," said Robinson.
Robinson said adverse possession is a valid legal procedure, but it takes many years before anyone can take a property using that law. She said some people are filing those documents but then moving into vacant properties immediately. Those people, she said, are in violation of the law and can be arrested for trespassing.
"It does not give that individual the right to enter, because most of the time they are knocking down the door, changing the locks, going to the utility companies, putting the utilities in their names," said Robinson.
She advises neighbors to keep tabs on vacant homes in their communities. She is also urging banks and absentee owners to keep tabs on their vacant properties as well.