Posted in Blog  
  on Jun 14, 2014

Interesting Facts About Hoarding

One of the more unusual aspects of renting a property is dealing with someone who is a hoarder. Some people tend to collect everything that comes their way and this eventually builds up in a property and can create a safety hazard. Knowing the facts behind the “need” for some tenants to hoard items will help you resolve what could end up being a very difficult situation in the best way possible.

Hoarding is a psychological need. People feel attached to the items that they have and they experience physical grief when they think about getting rid of stuff. Think about how you felt when you lost a loved one and that's how people who hoard feel about getting rid of items. Take it easy, allow people time to process, but encourage them through the stages of grief to resolve the situation.

Hoarding Disorder Statistics and Facts

Up to 5% of people meet the diagnostic criteria for a hoarding disorder. It's one thing to have a few hundred vinyl albums lying around in a few piles. It's a whole other problem when you've got three out of four rooms in a rental with boxes stacked from floor to ceiling with just a few pathways to help you get around. This quickly creates bad odors and pests.

Hoarding begins at a young age in most people. Whether it is a broken toy or just scraps of paper that have no purpose, most cases of hoarding begin right around puberty. If left unchecked, it will continue to develop in a person as they grow older. That's why this is a serious issue in the elderly population right now and why any property manager needs to be concerned about any sign of hoarding in a senior citizen.

Causes of Hoarding

Sometimes hoarding is used as a replacement. One of the most common times you'll see hoarding begin is when someone has experienced a traumatic life event, such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, or even a recent eviction. This trauma leads to depression and the depression can lead to hoarding and this often requires professional medical treatment to resolve in these instances.

Alcohol seems to play a role in hoarding. According to information from the Mayo Clinic, nearly 50% of all hoarders have had a significant problem with alcohol in their past. Look for signs of alcohol abuse in your tenants and if you see it, then you may also be seeing the outward signs of a hoarding problem on your property.

Difference Between Clutter and Hoarding

There is a difference between clutter and hoarding. The real question to ask in a situation of potential hoarding is this: does the collection of items impact daily life in some way? If it does, then is there also an impact to the health of the person and the safety of the property? Families with kids are going to have a lot of clutter. People who can't get around very well are also going to have a lot of clutter. That doesn't mean they are hoarding... it just means they need a little help cleaning up the mess from time to time.


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