Landlord Tips on Handling Compulsive Hoarders as Tenants

Most of have seen the TV shows “Hoarders” or “Hoarding – Buried Alive.” These are fun shows to watch but if this nightmare is in your house or apartment, you might need a bit more information and a plan of action.

Let's take a minute to understand this disorder and how people get to where they are.

Most people who are hoarders started when they were very young, some as young as 10 years old. They may not understand it, but their disorder is caused by issues deep in their psyche.

Some of the causes are:

Abandonment issues
Lack of positive family relationships
Attachment or developmental issues
Lack of confidence in themselves
Self-identification with their objects
Attempting to cope with loss of a loved one

Whenever a hoarder is asked about why they can't get rid of their stuff there are some pretty consistent answers.

“I can't throw this out. It means too much to me.”
“I might need this someday.”
“This will be worth some money someday.”
“There's nothing wrong with this. I can't throw it.”

People often hard books, cards, records, clothes and all kins of paper products. Some of the worst and most tragic cases of hoarding are when people hoard animals.

The real problem is that this disorder is not simply a matter of too much stuff, but it is an actual psychological disorder. Simply telling them to clean things up is unlikely to work.

So here is a plan for you to help your tenant and ultimately help yourself, too.

Step One: Document the conditions in photos and video.
Step Two: Tell your tenant in writing about your concerns and give them a chance to fix it.
Step Three: Off to help them find a counselor and some help cleaning up.
Step Four: Speak with a lawyer about your issues and find out what your legal avenues are.
Step Five: Ultimately, you may need to evict them in order to get your place cleaned up.

Of course, they will be legally responsible for the clean up and repair of your property.

A little compassion and some legal action may be needed, but a hoarding situation does not need to be the end of your property or your income from your rentals.
Posted on Mar 21, 2013

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