SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — Fulton County sheriff’s deputies executed the first of several intruder warrants Tuesday where individuals have either illegally moved in or stopped paying rent and haven’t moved out.
“This is illegal, it causes havoc in communities,” South Fulton City Councilwoman Helen Willis said.
Willis told Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln that it’s becoming an increasing problem in their city.
“I get a call every week, from residents that live within my district complaining,” Willis said.
The problem is so rampant, South Fulton police officers have been deputized and are training under Fulton County deputies to learn how to execute intruder warrants.
“The process of intruder warrants starts with the landlord,” Captain Nevel Phillips said.
Channel 2 Action News was there exclusively Tuesday as Fulton County sheriff’s deputies executed the first two warrants out of 16 properties.
After knocking at the first house, a family of seven walked out. The adults told Lincoln they just paid the landlord.
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According to the city the property owner had not been paid in nearly a year.
“Squatting is not the solution to affordable housing,” Willis said.
The county said intruder warrants only take a few weeks to execute, while evictions can take months.
“The difference between it and an eviction is the fact that an intruder does not have a landlord-tenant relationship,” Phillips said.
Phillips said landlords needing an intruder warrant must get a notarized affidavit of service and file it with the sheriff’s office civil processing unit.
“The person in the house does get to say their peace and have that determined in court. If they do not, at that time the intruder will be ejected,” Phillips said.
At the second property, workers had to drill open the door when no one responded.
A neighbor who did not want to be identified told Channel 2 Action News that police were constantly being called to the home.
The city said the remaining 14 warrants will be executed in the upcoming weeks.
The sheriff’s office said an individual can contest the warrant if they can show a lease and show they’ve been making payments.
If that happens, the more traditional eviction process that involves the courts will take over.
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