Atlanta Woman’s Home of 15 Years Demolished Without Consent

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Apr 24, 2024

Susan Hodgson came back from a vacation to a waking nightmare when she found her beloved house razed to the ground. 

Hodgson, a resident of Atlanta, received a panicked phone call from a neighbor while away on vacation. They knew something was wrong and rushed to ask her if she knew her home was being torn down by a construction crew. 

Big Mistake by Construction Company

The construction company claimed they received the wrong address by mistake and were meant to tear down a different home that day. 

A nice house with boards on the windows. A well kept lawn is seen in the foreground

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Although the home did have boards on the windows, it was allegedly very well taken care of for the past 15 years with up-to-date property taxes. 


Construction Company Unhelpful in Correcting the Mistake

Initially, Hodgen’s helpful neighbor confronted the crew to correct the mistake with the construction company but was left with a nasty response. 

Two men wearing orange PPE vests and hats work at a construction site alongside heavy machinery

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The neighbor reports being told to “shut up and mind her own business” by the crew.

A Family Member Stepped in to Help

After community members tried to help to no avail, a nearby family member was called in to check out the scene. 

A machine tears into a white house, knocking it’s walls down

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After a close family member rushed to the site to check out what was happening for Hodgens, the construction company finally admitted to the mistake when the site permit was checked and the address was, in fact, not correct.

Homeowner Left With the Mess

Although no one was currently living in the small brick house, Hodgen’s says she kept up all the bills and maintained excellent lawn care. The house wasn’t exactly falling apart or in disrepair; she simply wanted to protect the windows from potential thieves. 

A pile of rubble sits on a site after being demolished

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However, after getting into a fight with Atlanta’s Department of City Planning, she was been told she was financially responsible for cleaning up the debris. 

Responsible Party Dodging Her Calls

The Atlanta-based construction company, called “You Call it We Haul It,” has yet to contact the owner and issue an apology. 

Two people work at a desk performing various duties surrounded by the scales of justice and a judges hammer

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It’s unclear if they’re contacting legal council currently. However, Hodgens has been trying to reach the company to sort out the issue between them before she resorts to hiring her own lawyers. 


Homeowner Looking for an Apology

In an interview given to AP News, Hodgens says she deserves restitution from the company responsible.

A machine tears down the brick walls of a house

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She says she can’t believe someone would make a mistake that massive without owning up to it or offering help to resolve it.


The Company Issued a Statement to the Press

Although they’ve been contacted by the homeowner and multiple reporting agencies, they’ve been tight-lipped about the issue.

Three men wearing neon PPE vests stand at a table looking at construction plans

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However, they sent a letter to Fox5 Atlanta stating they’re aware of the issue and are working on a way to rectify the mistake.


Precious Memories Destroyed

Even though Hodgens and her family didn’t currently live in the house, they had for years prior. They developed precious memories in the home that are now all gone.

A brick house sits on a well manicured lawn with bushes and flowers on a nice day

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Along with memories of her kids growing up and playing in the yard, the homeowner says she kept the house after moving out because it reminds her of her late husband. 


Atlanta Adds Insult to Injury

After the city stopped the job and placed a “Stop Work Order” on the demolition, she’s still on the hook for the cleanup. Unfortunately, the city isn’t cutting her any slack due to the error. 

A yellow machine works while tearing down a house

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The city has issued a statement, claiming that since the house was demolished without the proper permits, the homeowner is responsible for all the clean up. Even worse, she only has two weeks to complete the clean up.


The Demolition Is a Civil Dispute

After she reached out to ask the city for assistance and leniency while she figures out what to do, the city has responded with no help. 

An aerial shot of the city of Atlanta. A large road, houses, and tall buildings can be seen

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The city of Atlanta claims the dispute is between two civil parties and has nothing to do with the city itself. It’s unclear as to whether the homeowner is planning to sue the construction company for their mistake. 


The Future Is Uncertain for the Home

For now, Hodgens and her family don’t know what will come of the house or the land. 

Two empty lots sit next to each other with nice houses in the background

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Aside from the mounting legal battle with the city and the company at fault, she doesn’t have any immediate plans to rebuild the beloved family home.