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apartment for rent photoApproximately 15.7 million people in the U.S. suffer from the mental condition referred to as hoarding. That’s more than the population of Pennsylvania and West Virginia combined.

And that means the risk of a hoarding tenant is a problem too big for rental property owners to ignore.

The estimate of those in dire need of professional hoarding clean up services is based on research done by mental health professionals and service industry leaders like Address Our Mess. With cleanup locations in twenty five states, Address Our Mess is a leading authority in clutter clean up. Project managers estimate that even more hoarders have yet to be uncovered.

That’s because research has determined that women are more likely to ask for help than men, therefore more reported cases involve women.  However, there is no basis to believe that men are any less susceptible to the hoarding disorder.  The  number of reported cases involving hoarding could grow exponentially if more men decide to seek the help they need for their condition.

Hoarding is a crippling disorder and the impacts can deeply damage the life of those faced with it every day. In rental properties, the condition increases physical dangers, including causing or increasing the strength of fires, blocking needed access, and encouraging pests. 

Most of these cases stem from mental or emotional trauma that previously occurred. Hoarders who refuse help will allow those traumatic experiences to compound over time and create unbearable stress. The stress and anxiety will lead to social disorders, as most hoarders have proven to alienate themselves from even their closest family and friends.

Finally, financial burdens can drive a hoarder out of their cluttered house and into the poor house. Types of hoarding exacerbated by compulsive shopping habits or junk collecting will begin to pile debts higher than the piles of clutter and garbage in a hoarders home.

Landlords cannot ignore the problems that are brought to bear with a hoarding tenant.  Excessive clutter places all tenants and the property at risk.  To avoid these problems, landlords should:

Perform frequent property inspections to uncover a hoard before it grows out of control;

Understand the motivators that result in hoarding; and,

Enlist the help of community resources like Address Our Mess in trying to bring the hoarding tenant into compliance with the lease, house rules and local ordinances.

Many hoarders can learn to live within the rules and eviction is not required in every case. However, the longer the problem goes unresolved, the more dangerous it will become.

 

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for all your property management needs. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

 

  • Rajeev Kumar

    I once had a hoarder in my building. She literally brought hundreds of thousands of cockroaches into it. I was coming in everyday to demand cleanups and junk removal. But she didn’t like getting rid of anything, not even rotting food.

    I used seven different chemicals, all of which are very strong and professional grade. I started using glue pads with potatoes in the middle (roaches love starch), and I’d literally catch hundreds on each pad in a single day. And I’d use gels to kill the nests. But they eventually became resistant to all chemicals and even intelligent enough to evade my traps.

    My only saving grace was that the whole apartment was painted white, and that the flooring was all white ceramic tiles, without an inch of carpet. Using a makeshift flamethrower helped to kill the thousands that were walking on the floor at any given time. And my pestering her and calling DCFS because she was feeding her child bread that had roaches on it caused her to leave.

    That was 3 years ago and that apartment itself is fine. But there are still roaches in the building as they have spread. Even spraying every apartment doesn’t always do the trick and I feel like it’s a constant game of whack-a-mole!

    The moral of the story is, never take hoarders into a multi unit housing complex. I wish people afflicted with this condition all the best but their habit can cause serious problems. BTW I had no idea that she had this problem previously.

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