Cobb County

Cobb County police notice increase in squatters moving into vacant homes

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Cobb County police say they’re responding to more cases of squatters taking over homes.

Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell spoke to one man who said squatters delayed him moving into his home.

William Crawford was excited to move into his new rented home until he discovered something shocking.

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“I had somebody living in the house that wasn’t authorized to be there,” Crawford said.

The security system was disconnected.

Police said the man who was living in the home claimed to have signed a lease and paid someone thousands of dollars to be there.

He moved out, causing a two-week delay for Crawford.

“It’s very frustrating because you have thousands of dollars wrapped up,” Crawford said.

Just last month police arrested a man after they said he broke into a dead man’s home.

Last December police arrested and charged a group of squatters.

Cobb County police said their precinct 2 officers responded to nearly 10 squatter cases between February and March of this year.

“In some cases, they’ll actually go into a vacant home, sometimes change the locks, and then try to lease that to an unsuspecting third party who thinks they are legitimately leasing that property,” Sgt. Eric Smith with the Cobb County Police Department said.

Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed a new squatting law following a series of Channel 2 investigations.


Cobb police said they don’t plan on enforcing it right away.

“Usually any new laws issued by the state - they go into effect July 1. That way they start across the board,” Smith said.

Police said if someone claims to own a property but only provides one key to the home and it’s not to the front door, that’s a red flag.

They said you should also be suspicious if a key pad lock box is still on the door.

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Michele Newell

Michele Newell, WSB-TV

Michele Newell has been part of the WSB-TV family since November 2021. Before moving to Atlanta, Michele worked at TV news stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio and Steubenville, Ohio.

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