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Squatters Cost Homeowner $15K: Advocates Slam High Rent

  • Atlanta-based investor Chris Griffith spends six months and $15,000 to remove squatters from his rental property
  • Atlanta has become a hotspot for squatting incidents, with an estimated 1,200 homes occupied by squatters
  • The issue has prompted the introduction of the Georgia Squatter Reform Act to criminalize squatting
  • The situation in Atlanta highlights the urgent need for affordable housing in cities across the U.S.
  • The rising rents have left many tenants spending too much of their income on housing costs
  • The concentration of large corporate investors in Atlanta exacerbates the housing crisis

Introduction

When Atlanta-based real-estate investor Chris Griffith had one of his properties taken over by squatters, he found himself embroiled in a six-month battle to remove them. Spending $15,000 on legal fees, repairs, and lost rental income, Griffith’s experience sheds light on the growing problem of squatting in Atlanta.

The Squatting Crisis in Atlanta

A Disturbing Trend

The issue of squatting in Atlanta has reached alarming levels, with an estimated 1,200 homes occupied by squatters. This number far surpasses other markets and has prompted concerns about whether there is an organized effort facilitating squatting in the city.

Prompting Legislative Action

The attention brought to the issue by a local news channel’s coverage of an Instagram account facilitating squatting led members of the Georgia state legislature to introduce the Georgia Squatter Reform Act. The proposed legislation aims to criminalize squatting, making it easier for landlords to evict illegal occupants.

The Need for Affordable Housing

A Housing Crisis

The squatting situation in Atlanta underscores the dire need for affordable housing in many U.S. cities. Rising rents have pushed the share of rent-burdened households to an all-time high, leaving tenants with limited options and forcing them to spend a significant portion of their income on housing costs.

A Record Number of Homelessness

The lack of affordable housing has contributed to a record number of people experiencing homelessness. Between 2022 and 2023, the number of homeless individuals grew by 12%, reaching a record high of 653,000. In Georgia, nearly half of the homeless population was unsheltered, highlighting the urgent need for solutions.

The Impact on Homeowners

The squatting crisis not only affects landlords but also homeowners who are buying or selling properties. Instances have been reported where individuals purchased homes, only to find squatters occupying the property during the transition. The backlog of eviction cases due to the pandemic has further compounded the issue.

Conclusion

The case of Chris Griffith and the growing squatting crisis in Atlanta shed light on the urgent need for affordable housing in cities across the U.S. The concentration of large corporate investors in Atlanta exacerbates the problem, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing people over profit. As discussions around the Georgia Squatter Reform Act continue, it is crucial to address the underlying housing crisis and work towards sustainable solutions.

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