State Issues

HB 1017 Passes Georgia Senate

March 27, 2024

A news outlet recently rated Atlanta as the #1 city for squatters, but this problem is not exclusive to metro Atlanta. House Bill 1017, which is now on its way to the Governor’s desk, will immediately provide much-needed relief to property owners, tenants, law enforcement, and Georgia's court system. HB 1017 will:

  • Codify the crime of squatting in the criminal trespass statute and make the crime a misdemeanor.
  • Provide a definite timeline for law enforcement to demand the removal of the squatter and then return to forcibly remove the squatter, if necessary.
  • Remove squatting cases from Superior Court, which have case backlogs of six to nine months in some Metro Atlanta counties.
  • Allow the property owner to seek monetary relief from the squatter if convicted.

All across Georgia, squatters have become a huge problem for property owners and tenants. They are illegally taking over properties, destroying them, causing havoc, and increasing crime in our neighborhoods.

These properties held up by squatters could be put out for rent or put up for sale in our critical housing shortage, but owners cannot get their own properties back. In many counties, the Superior Court is so backed up with eviction cases that they can't even take on squatting issues, meaning the squatters can drag out the process for months.

If signed by the Governor, this bill will give Georgia property owners and the courts clarity to address the squatters issue.

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