GEORGIA: A man in Ellenwood, Georgia has had his house stolen by an unwanted squatter. Valister Wilson has been trying for more than three months to evict a woman and her family from his home claiming the woman has abused the court system to stay in his home for free.
The ordeal began when Wilson, who had placed the vacant home on the market, noticed someone living in it. Inside the five bedroom, five bathroom home, he found Daquisha Barber and her five children. He contacted police who refused to kick Barber and her family out because she produced a lease purchase agreement she had signed days earlier.
Wilson testified in court that his signature had been forged and he had not leased the home to Barber. Barber testified that she had worked with a broker to secure the home and had paid the broker $7,800.
Barber was ordered out of the home when authorities could not locate the alleged broker, but she quickly responded by filing an appeal and later bankruptcy that delayed the eviction. Barber won another delay by filing a second bankruptcy, which once again stayed the eviction.
It turns out, Barber has a five-year history of living rent free in homes where she’s not wanted.
Experts say that once home thieves slip in and take root, they begin the pattern of filing documents that allow them to delay evictions thereby effectively taking over the home and living in it rent free. The squatters biggest ally — the overburdened court system.
“Depending on the appeal process, it could be years trying to get rid of somebody meanwhile you’re not in the house, you don’t know what they’re doing in the house, you’re not getting rent from them and presumably if there’s a mortgage on the house, you’ve got to pay that [too],” said Ned Blumenthal, a real estate attorney not associated with the case.
Wilson, who said Barber has cost him more than $10,000 so far, now has to take his fight to federal bankruptcy court. “She knows the system better than my attorneys do,” he said.
Police said there is an open and ongoing investigation into this case.
(Source: CBSAtlanta News)