LAWRENCEVILLE -- Homeowners and banks who own empty or foreclosed houses are now dealing with something they hadn't planned on.
Tenants moving in to what they think are legitimate rentals.
Gwinnett police have already identified five cases and say they expect many more to surface.
The renters are paying every month to a company outside of Georgia while the homeowner or the bank who owns the property has no idea that the tenant is even there.
Gwinnett County Police say a Las Vegas company is behind the scheme and collecting all the rents.
"It's Home Solutions Asset Incorporated, and difficult for our detectives to track down local representatives," said Cpl. Jake Smith of the Gwinnett County Police Department.
"We are pretty well convinced that it is a scam," he said.
"They are finding these homes that are in questionable status, and they switch the locks. Then they present these documents that are essentially fraudulent documents and represent themselves as someone who has a right to the property."
Tom Salata, an Atlanta real estate attorney, says they don't.
"What catches my eye is the term "cestui que" which is an old English term. What it means is they (Home Solutions Asset Company) have permission via trust to lease the premises out, but they do not have permission.
Police say they figured out the scheme when they arrested one renter who was scouting properties for Home Solutions. She was charged with theft by taking.
Cpl. Jake Smith of the Gwinnett County Police Department now says it's just a matter of time before a homeowner or bank brings charges.
"Someone is going to want to press criminal charges. They are not going to be interested in a tenant on that property. They are just going to want these people out," Smith said.
Renters are urged to review agreements carefully and to do a thorough background check on the company offering the rental.