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COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A Cobb County, Georgia, woman is filled with frustration after she says strangers moved into the vacant house she was selling without her knowledge.
Getting them out is tougher than you might think.
WSB-TV's Ross Cavitt talked to both sides of this problem and found out important information for homeowners.
Dena Everman couldn't believe it – and still can't believe the situation she is in.
After finding someone living in her home and a broken window in the back, she assumed a quick call to the police would clear out the trespassers.
"I found out in the past week there is some archaic law that says if someone sets up residence in your home, it doesn't matter how they get in there, they have rights until we evict them,” Everman said.
Tamera Pritchett is living in the East Cobb home with her fiancé and two kids.
She said the family found it listed for rent on Craigslist. They signed a lease by fax, paid their rent via money order, never saw the ad poster and only learned there was a problem when Everman called the police, Pritchett said.
The next day, she went to the courthouse where she says deputies told her she could stay.
"And they told us until these people come and forcibly evict us, they can't force us out on our rights," Pritchett said.
Pritchett said the family is looking for another place to move but admitted that for now, they're staying.
"We're not just trying to stay in your home and hold you up on your sale. But at the same time, we just spent $3,000; that's not something we can just pull out and immediately move somewhere else, you know,” Pritchett said.
Everman is mad that she may lose the pending sale on her house and said her social media posts on her situation have generated anger.
"Outrage. Everybody doesn't understand why someone who has no legal right to be in my home can stay in my home, and I'm the one who has to evict them,” Everman said.
A lawyer who handles these cases told WSB-TV that in real estate, possession really is nine-tenths of the law and the homeowner will have to go through the painful eviction process, which could take four to six weeks.