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IPFS News Link • Property Rights

Homeowner Attempting To Evict Squatters Was Arrested


Even after a court ruled he should get his house back, it seems like nothing can be done. Unfortunately, it's part of a trend where the law protects criminals who take over homes at the expense of their rightful owners.

In February, Tim Arko's tenants moved out of a property he owned in the upscale Decatur neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. A few days later, he dropped by to check the condition of the house but made an unwelcome discovery. When he pulled into the driveway, he was confronted by a damaged fence, multiple dogs in the backyard, a prostitute — and an armed man who chased him off his own property.

Unsurprisingly, Arko quickly called the police to report the intruders, but the squatters had gotten there first. They'd told cops they owned the house and Arko was a home invader; police arrested him for trying to get into his own residence. Luckily, he was able to prove that he was the actual owner of the property, and authorities released him without pressing charges. However, six months later, the squatters still live in his home. He's been trying to get justice through the court system, but while he was recently told he'd get the house back, he has no idea when. Meanwhile, two people have died of drug overdoses inside it, and he's been cited by local building officers for not maintaining the property — even though he can't get into it.

Tim Arko's case sounds unbelievable, but the sad fact is it isn't even all that rare. In May, Lt. Col. Dahlia Daure, US Army, returned to her Atlanta home from a duty deployment and found a convicted felon living in it; cops told her it was a civil matter and they couldn't help. Squatters were finally evicted from another Atlanta home in December 2021, more than two years after the owners started trying to get them out. Our legal system seems to be failing homeowners whose property has been taken over by criminal intruders.