DeKalb County

Homeowners left without solutions as some counties still not implementing new squatter law

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County police say the new squatter law signed by Gov. Brian Kemp is still under review by their legal department and not being implemented.

The Squatter Reform Act immediately became law when Kemp signed the bill in April, but many jurisdictions are not yet enforcing it.

The alleged squatter in Michael Holmes’ DeKalb County home has filed more than 30 motions and counting in civil eviction court.

“He didn’t pass the law exam, but he knows a lot about the law,” Holmes said.

The alleged squatter represented himself in a Dekalb County courtroom this week.

The eviction battle has stretched on nearly a year now.

“At this point, I am about to lose everything based on his shenanigans,” Holmes said.

We first introduced you to Holmes in February, in a Channel 2 Action News investigation.

He used his life savings to buy this DeKalb County home out of foreclosure nearly a year ago as a rental property.

He’s never been able to put it up for rent because the former owner never moved out.


“The system is failing and until they fix it, it’s going to really hurt other people like me,” Holmes said.

That’s what the new Georgia law, the Squatter Reform Act, was designed to help with.

The law requires that squatters be cited criminally, and squatter cases be handled in a matter of days in magistrate court.

Just last month in another Channel 2 Action News investigation, we showed you how police in South Fulton were quickly using the powers of that new law on squatters.

“I know everybody thinks you can go in the house and squat and sit there. That all changed the other day. That all changed the other day,” a South Fulton officer was captured saying on body camera video to a group of suspected squatters.

“We’re basically putting these squatters on notice the law change,” said South Fulton Police Lt. Jubal Rogers.

But most other jurisdictions are not moving so fast. DeKalb County police told Gray that their attorney is still reviewing the new law.

Nothing was decided again in court in the Holmes case with the judge promising a ruling on the latest motions soon.

“Essentially, I am covering the bills for a grown man to live in my house,” Holmes said.

The alleged squatter declined Gray’s request for an interview.

A previous judge in a January ruling had ordered the alleged squatter to pay Holmes thousands of dollars in back rent and $1,500 monthly until the case is resolved but Holmes said he has not received a dime.


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