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New homeowners makes surprise discovery of tenant already living there

It happened to a couple in Clayton County, who said a woman and her children moved into their home without them knowing.

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Imagine closing on your new home, only to find someone else has already moved in.

It happened to a couple in Clayton County, who said a woman and her children moved into their home without them knowing.

Demi Thach told 11Alive she and her husband Jeff Dennis purchased the Bar Harbor Drive home in Riverdale on May 25.

A few weeks later, they went back to the home for a meeting with a contractor to discuss plans about getting work done on the home. That's when they were surprised to find someone living in their home with a garage full of personal items that didn't belong to them.

"We open the garage door, and ... that's when Demi says, 'Oh my gosh! There's somebody dumping trash in our house," Dennis recalled. "In every room, (there were) insects, trash."

The couple said they called the police, but the woman apparently had a lease agreement. Because there were no signs of forced entry, there was not much police could do except to tell Thach that she and Dennis would have to file paperwork to get the woman evicted.

On top of that, Thach said when they first showed up at the home, the woman tried to have them arrested for trespassing.

After the encounter, Thach said she had Georgia Power disconnect electricity from the home since it was in her and her husband's names.

Ironically, though, that ended up backfiring. Under Georgia law, the woman living there was considered a "Tenant at Sufferance," meaning she entered the property with permission, though she had no legal right to be there. As a result, the judge ruled that the couple had to pay $900 for the woman's hotel fees as repayment for disconnecting the power.

To make matters worse, Thach told 11Alive the woman is also now seeking legal action against them, after an attorney for the woman claimed she was scammed and legally had a right to be in the home because she was renting through an ad posted on Craigslist.

The whole ordeal is putting Thach in a financial bind because now, she said she doesn’t have the money to keep hiring attorneys, plus they have to repair the damage done to the home.

Dennis said he doesn’t understand how someone can get away with this.

"We have a deed and we're on the tax record how come she can hang out here," he asked.

Thach and Dennis said the woman and her children eventually left the home, but now they'll have to repair the damage done to the residence.

Watch for the extended interview:

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