South Fulton County

Group of South Fulton home owners take action to keep squatters out of neighborhood

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — South Fulton homeowners say that they’re doing whatever it takes to keep squatters from taking over an abandoned home in their neighborhood.

The homeowners reached out to Channel 2 Action News after they say the home has become a danger to the community.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln started checking into the property, and its owner, and learned the house has sat empty for years.

They say it may not look like it, but the community has stepped in to make sure the home looks somewhat lived in as a way to prevent squatters from moving in.

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“You can’t pass the door without a mask because of the mold,” Dina Wells, a neighbor, told Channel 2 Action News.

It’s abandonment and neglect, which the South Fulton homeowners living nearby said you can’t see from the street.

“This is a great home, a great subdivision,” Wells said.

But what’s behind the door is what homeowners describe as a safety hazard.

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“The whole upstairs has collapsed,” Wells explained.

Neighbors say it’s been years that they’ve advocated for city and county code enforcement to hold the property owner liable for leaving it in disarray, but so far, Wells said “nothing has happened.”

To make the home less appealing to squatters, nearby homeowners say they pay out of pocket to cut the grass as a way to “keep the value up.”

“It would at least give some illusion that the property is being looked after,” Wells said.

Homeowners have even installed locks on the home after it was left open for years for anyone to just come and go.

“We’re trying to prevent something like this from happening,” Wells said.

Fulton County records show that Rashida Ricks has owned the house since 2007. Ricks’ most recent address is listed more than 600 miles away in Alexandria, Va., according to the records.

Channel 2 Action News reached out to the City of South Fulton, who told them code enforcement has issued multiple fines and violations against the property owner.

Councilwoman Helen Wills, whose district has the home in it, said the city is currently in the abatement process and that the property has a hearing scheduled in June.

“Something like this is bringing down the value of those of us who are already here,” Wells said.

The city has a program that monitors vacant properties that have been abandoned by their owners.

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