A recent television show has highlighted the plight of hoarders and helped to give people a sense of what hoarding is. Hoarding is definitely an addiction, and like all addictions, it can be really hard to break. There are a number of mental health professionals who think it’s a mental disorder. There is no confusion however about the damage hoarding does to your unit. It can be a real health hazard for your property. Be prepared to terminate the tenancy if you have to. You need to be firm, and if you used a proper lease that says tenants cannot lay waste to the property, you are on good legal standing.
As with all addictions, there is a really good chance that even when you threaten to terminate the lease, the tenant still will not be able to solve the problem. We had a hoarding situation with a 900 square foot condo in our area here in San Jose. The husband and wife had been tenants for 10 years, but what we did not realize is that the wife head decided the marriage was over and she moved away. Because we believe in regular inspections, we got to the house at our next scheduled inspection and found the tenant had changed the locks. He was nowhere to be found. When we called, he made a series of excuses and all properties know that by the third excuse, something is wrong.
In this case, we told the tenant we would have to terminate the tenancy if he didn’t let us into his property. When we got in, the house had two paths; one from the door to a single barcalounger and one from the door to the bathroom. There was enough stuff piled into that unit that we needed 16 40-yard dumpsters to clean it out. It did not seem possible that so much junk could come out. He had asked us for extra time to remove his valuables and his rent was current, so we gave him a couple of weeks. However, I don’t think he removed a single thing in those two weeks we gave him. He was overwhelmed. We tried to get his family involved, but they did not want to be, so we had to call Adult Services.
If you see a tendency to hoard, take quick action. Paying to have all of that stuff removed was expensive. We felt terrible about putting this man out of his house, and as property managers sometimes we end up being the last resort for people. Hoarders are a particular kind of problem. They will pull at your heartstrings, but you really need to move forward and get your property back to a normal rental situation.
Please do not hesitate to contact Aborn Properties if you have any questions about this blog, or property management in general.