Gov. Brian Kemp signing a bill to make squatting a crime in Georgia: ‘This is insanity’

Gov. Brian Kemp, R-GA., said Wednesday he plans to sign a bill that would make squatting a crime in Georgia as squatters continue to frustrate homeowners across the nation. 

Kemp joined “Fox & Friends” to discuss the legislation, and said he would be signing the Georgia Squatter Reform Act on Wednesday, which would allow property owners to go after squatters for damages, in addition to speeding up the eviction process. 

“Unfortunately, bad actors have figured out ways to take advantage of this, exploit, really the process that goes through the local government. So we’re passing legislation that I’m going to sign right after this interview to stiffen the penalties, to go after these folks, to also speed up the eviction process. But, also, allow the property owner to go after these squatters for damages,” Kemp said. 

Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt said squatting would become a misdemeanor criminal defense, punishable by a year in jail, under the new law. She added that squatters could face a $1,000 fine, sometimes in addition to possible jail time, and if they forge a fake lease, they could be charged with a felony. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp joined “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday to discuss legislation he intends to sign that would make squatting a crime in the state. (Fox News)

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“This is insanity, that people just think they can come in and take over somebody’s home. I mean it’s just outrageous,” Kemp said. “It really points to, as we’ve seen around the country, the lawlessness that’s gone on under the Biden administration.” 

Gov. Ron DeSantis. R-Fla., also passed a bill in Florida that eliminates squatters’ rights in March. 

Asked if Georgia’s bill goes further than the Florida bill, Kemp said he believed it was very similar. 

“I’m sure it’s much of the same, just using the legal powers that we have to push up the process. I mean, look, it’s insane that it even happens to start with. But, then, when you can’t remove these people from your own property, as a property owner myself, it goes to the insanity of the world that we’re living in now and I know that Governor DeSantis isn’t going to put up with that and neither are we,” Kemp said.  

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill addressing squatters into law.  (Gov. Ron DeSantis/FB)

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A real estate agent previously told Fox News that one squatter in Atlanta, Georgia, sold appliances

“The last incident that I had, there was a squatter there who totally destroyed the place,” Kesha Chedeaux, a real estate agent and one of the squatters’ victims, told Fox News’ Lawrence Jones in February. 

“One has went to jail. They sold the appliances from the property and received money for them. Selling appliances, [there’s] feces everywhere, [they’re] sleeping in the beds because these properties are staged on the market.”

The real estate agent said any attempts to remove squatters from the properties they’re occupying are dangerous. 

Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, speaks during an election night rally in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.  (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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“First and foremost, it’s dangerous. People that are doing that ultimately have no fear because they’re taking possession of your property without your consent…” she said.

“They’ve actually broken into the property, putting these ads on Craigslist, and then they’re taking people’s money for deposit and rent, and then they don’t get access to the property. So that’s another thing of them getting scammed,” Chedeaux added.

Fox News’ Taylor Penley contributed to this report.