Squatters wreak havoc on entire Atlanta neighborhoods, with police response to evictions lagging so severely that some homeowners are now resorting to paying them off to vacate.
Brazen squatters went as far as establishing an illicit strip club on a property they had seized—a part of the 1,200 homes that have fallen victim to squatting in the city, as reported by the National Rental Home Council (NRHC) trade group.
“I’d be terrified in Atlanta to lease out one of my properties,” Matt Urbanski, who manages a local home-cleaning company, told Bloomberg.
Urbanski’s firm specializes in clearing out homes for corporate landlords, occasionally necessitating the removal of squatters’ belongings.
One of his employees was recently shot while trying to remove intruders from a property.
Simon Frost, CEO of the major landlord Tiber Capital Group, reported incidents of illegal occupants displaying weapons and intimidating neighbors, impacting neighborhood safety and residents, as per Bloomberg.
Removing squatters in Atlanta presents a significant challenge, requiring negotiations through court delays and strained police resources.
Meanwhile, online listings and virtual real estate agents simplify the process for squatters to pinpoint vacant properties for unauthorized entry.
In October, an Atlanta neighborhood became embroiled in controversy when squatters converted a residence into an illicit strip club, hosting weekend parties and even housing live horses on the premises.
The incident occurred in the South Fulton area, where four individuals—DeAnthony Maddox, Jeremy Wheat, Kelvin Hall, and Tarahsjay Forde—illegally occupied a residence. The 4,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home with three bathrooms would transform into a hub of illegal activities.
According to local reports, the squatters operated a secret strip club, hosted loud parties, and even arranged street car races, causing disruption and distress for other residents in the neighborhood.
“They would get live horses. One day they had live horses,” one neighbor said.
According to the local report, a SWAT team was ultimately called in to evacuate the house, where they retrieved two stolen cars, a stolen weapon, and stolen credit cards from the premises.
“Is this even America anymore? We are homeowners and we can’t even do anything about trespassers?” a neighbor said in frustration.
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