Dealing with Hoarder Tenants

February 22nd, 2019

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For any landlord or residential property manager, having a hoarder tenant in your property can be a real nightmare. A hoarding disorder is where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter. The items can be of little or no monetary value.

Hoarding is considered a significant problem if:

  • The amount of clutter interferes with everyday living – for example, the person is unable to make use their kitchen or bathroom.
  • Damaging to the property
  • Blocks or interferes with windows and ventilation.
  • Cannot access rooms or emergency exits.
  • The clutter is causing significant distress or negatively affecting the quality of life of the person or neighbours.
  • Storing combustible items
  • Keeping goods that attract black moulds, rodent and roaches.

Hoarding is a relatively common problem in the U.K, with about 1.2 million hoarders (many people keep things they don’t need), but only a small number of people will meet the clinical criteria for having a Hoarding Disorder.

Hoarding Disorder is most commonly defined by obsessional fears of losing important items that a person believes will be needed in the future, but accumulation of these items leads to clutter that can cover living and work spaces, making them unusable.

What to do:

  • Proceed with caution: The mental capacity of the tenant will decide what step to take.
  • Document the situation: Take note of the condition of the property using notes, pictures and videos.
  • Notice: Notify the tenant of the need to remedy the situation.
  • Offer Help: Try to work with the tenant to clear and clean up. Work with tenant’s next of kin or family members if necessary.
  • In extreme cases: Contact Environmental Health Services.
  • If there is a mental issue involved such as OCD or depression, you may contact social services.
  • Get legal help
  • Eviction: Serve the appropriate notice to get possession.

Many people with Hoarders disorder realise they have a problem but are reluctant to seek help because they feel extremely ashamed, humiliated or guilty about it. Hoarders have often been through a traumatic event and the situation should be handled with the sensitivity it requires. A good way to prevent such problems from occurring is to conduct periodic visits to properties before the situation gets out of hand.

For a non-obligatory conversation on this topic and other Landlord – Tenant matters, get in touch with us.

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Dealing with Hoarder Tenants

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