MARIETTA, Ga. – What if you came home and someone else was living in your house? That’s what happened to the Dena Everman. And she can’t get them out.
But the dwellers say there are two sides to every story.
“I’m extremely frustrated right that someone that has no legal right to be in my home is staying in my home and I’m the one that has to prove that they don’t belong there,” Everman said.
After 11 years of living in the house on Condor Drive in Marietta, Ga., Everman was in the process of selling her home. She was supposed to close the sale on June 26. But the day before, Everman walked into a surprise.
“I went by the home on June 25 to say, ‘goodbye,’ to my home. When I drove up, there was a different car in the driveway and it looked like somebody was in my home.”
She had no idea who they were. She never gave them permission to be in there—but there they were.
The new residents were Tamera Pritchett, her fiancé and two children.
And it was a pretty big shock to her as well.
“Next thing we know, we’re being thrown out at 11:30 at night with two children,” Pritchett said.
Everman said the way she sees it, someone broke into her home and were living there without her permission. But, Pritchett said, it’s not so cut and dry.
“It’s just embarrassing to have to go through this,” Pritchett, who said she found the property listed for rent on Craigslist, said.
But after signing e-documents and wiring money to someone, whom they believed to be the owner, they received keys to the home, and moved in.
“We’re not squatters. We have documents. We have keys,” said the mother of two.
Everman, however, isn’t budging.
“I own this home and I did not give these people permission to be in there. They have a false document.”
Cobb County Police are investigating the situation. In fact, officers have responded to the home multiple times since June 25, but haven't been able to kick Pritchett's family out of the house.
“At this point, I’m the legal owner of the property and I shouldn’t have to expend this energy to get someone out that I did not give permission to be in my home,” Everman said. “The police officers… decided it wasn’t breaking-and-entering at that point even though there was a broken window and changed locks and I had the deeds to my home and proof that it was my home.”
All that Pritchett said she wants is time to move.
“At the end of the day, yes, we got scammed. We understand that. We understand this is your home. But why can’t we be adults and try to figure this out and go after this person that scammed us and is obviously out here scamming your name and your home,” she said defending herself against claims that she is a squatter.
Under Georgia law, “squatters have the right to take possession of this property if they occupy it without permission for a specific period of time.”
According to Pritchett, the scammer, whom she paid $3,000 to, told her that he is in Garland, Texas, and owned the house with Everman. Pritchett said that she and her family had been in the house for two weeks when Everman showed up.
“They tried to unlawfully throw us out by legally evicting us,” Pritchett said, who went on to say that Everman knew about the scam and still sold her house.
“I hope this shows everyone that this can happen to anybody,” Pritchett cautioned. “I’m hoping this shows people that you can’t trust everything over the Internet.”
Currently, both sides are working with their attorneys to figure out next steps. And while the Pritchett family said they will move out—it’s not fast enough for Everman.
And the family who did purchase the home from Everman can’t move in, have their belongings in storage and have to stay with friends and family because they are “homeless.”
“At this point, I’m the legal owner of the property and I shouldn’t have to expend this energy to get someone out that I did not give permission to be in my home,” Everman said.
The fight to get the family out has been going on for two weeks and counting.
“I’ve dealt with people harassing me. Threatening me and my family like we’re not the victim. At the end of the day, both sides were victimized by the situation,” Pritchett said.