DeKalb County

Neighbors say squatters took over empty rental home, stayed for 14 months and threw ‘wild parties’

LITHONIA, Ga. — Homeowners living along Lower Creek Circle in Lithonia say the quietness in their community has recently been disturbed by squatters.

The squatters are targeting an empty rental property and creating a nuisance for homeowners.

Toney Wells and Ricky Morris said the squatters are targeting an empty rental property and creating a nuisance for homeowners.

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Wells and Morris told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln that for more than 14 months, squatters took over a neighboring property.

“They come in through the back,” Morris told Lincoln.

The property is owned by Progress Residential, a corporate home rental company. Morris says for months, he’s watched squatters unload furniture into the home and turn it into a revolving door of negative activity.

“It’s been a nightmare actually,” Morris said. “When you’re having wild parties and people are actually parking on the yard. We’ve called the police. I know, myself, five times.”

A few weeks ago, the Marshals were finally able to remove squatters. But just a few days ago, one neighbor saw a squatter break into an electrical box in an attempt to get into the home.

“You pay for a good neighborhood, you expect a good neighborhood,” Wells said.


Both homeowners said Progress Residential is well aware of the situation. Squatters use sites like Craigslist and Instagram to find people who sell the key code to open the home’s lock pad.

The home is now empty, but neighbors said they are not confident it will stay that way.

“The police can’t do anything and you can’t protect nobody with this situation,” Wells said.

Progress Residential has now placed “no trespassing” signs across the property and the company has created a security division that is supposed to monitor empty rental properties for squatters.

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A Progress Residential Spokesperson sent the following statement---

The safety and security of our residents, team members, and the communities we serve is always a top priority. We are continuing to monitor this home and have responded to all security concerns related to the property—confirming previously and again today that there are no signs of trespassers. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with local law enforcement to combat illegal trespassing.