The following article, Squatters Stealing People’s Property a Growing Problem, One Man Had a Solution, was first published on .
A property owner in Atlanta was shocked enough after finding people illegally living in a home he owned, but was outraged when the police arrested him instead of the criminal invaders.
According to a report by WSB-TV, in Feb. home owner Tim Arko had gone to a house he owned in Decatur, Georgia, to look the place over after a renter vacated the premises, but when he walked in, there were squatters living in the home, one of whom waived a gun in Arko’s face.
“I just jumped the fence and ran. I didn’t know what else to do,” he told WSB.
“I didn’t walk in on a family eating dinner. I walked in on weapons, a prostitute, a bunch of dogs in the back, my fence broken down,” Arko added.
Arko did what any straight-thinking American property owner would do. He called the police. But instead of arresting the people illegally living in his home, the police arrested Arko and astonishingly charged him with “trespassing.” The arrest was an outrageous example of what is wrong with the laws in this country.
“They told the police that I was a home invader and that it was their home. And so I ended up being arrested and detained,” Arko told the TV reporters.
Arko has now spent the last six months trying to get the law to toss these criminals out of his property. And during that time, two people have died from drug overdoses in the home.
The government is not only failed to help him re-take control of the home he owns, officials even fined him for building code violations in a property he couldn’t even access.
“I feel like it’s very heavily weighted towards these trespassers and criminals, not people that got duped,” Arko added.
Arko was just told this month that an eviction order was finally issued and may be served sometime in Sept.
This growing problem could not be a more un-American act. The fact is, private property rights was one of the original rights that our American founders were concerned about protecting. They knew that if an American could not own and legally control his own home, then society could never expand and be stable. But in recent years, property owners have been losing their right to control their own properties in cities all across the nation.
Sadly, stories like this are occurring more frequently as squatters discover that the law is so slow to confront them that they can sometimes get six months and even a year or more of free housing while officials dilly dally on evicting them.
Meanwhile, property owners are stuck paying all the bills and then are often faced with expensive rehab costs once the squatters are finally removed.
Last year, a New York City councilwoman went viral for her toe-to-toe confrontation with an alleged pot-smoking squatter in her district.
Vickie Paladino, a Republican who won election to her seat in northeast Queens by almost 7 points in 2021, according to Ballotpedia, posted a video of the encounter last August.
“There’s a known squatter house in my district at 20th Ave and 146th street in College Point. This morning I viewed the house and confronted the squatters personally,” she said in her social media post at the time. “This will not stand on my watch. Homeowners have rights and our neighborhoods deserve better.”
There’s a known squatter house in my district at 20th Ave and 146th street in College Point. This morning I viewed the house and confronted the squatters personally.
This will not stand on my watch. Homeowners have rights and our neighborhoods deserve better. More action coming. pic.twitter.com/8Qtr6y5cnr
— Councilwoman Vickie Paladino (@VickieforNYC) August 15, 2022
In another case, a man who took a trip abroad returned to his Florida home and found a man squatting in his house. But the squatter was so bold about his criminal activity he called the police himself and claimed the homeowner was an “armed intruder.”
These squatters can be a serious problem, but one man in California found a way to deal with squatters in a home his family owned. Early this year, professional handyman Flash Shelton found squatters in a home his father owned. Bit he was able to get them to vacate the home without violence or the assistance of the police.
Shelton had his relatives designate him as a legal resident — but not owner — of the home. So he moved in right alongside the squatters and so annoyed them that they gave up and left.
Infuriatingly, many of these squatters are pros who move from one house to another living rent-free and rarely incurring legal expenses or serving jail time for their home invasions, property destruction, and theft, mostly because the laws have been written to protect them, not the property owners. This needs to change.
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