How to Deal with Hoarding Tenants

So, you find yourself looking at your rental property much too late, and it has been trashed. This could be the cause of two things, a rhino, which would almost be impossible to get through a good screening process, or a hoarder tenant. Ahhh hoarder, this sounds like it might be it. Hoarders pose a danger to your property, but most importantly their own safety, and yes, sanitation, cleanliness and clean air for occupants. Hoarders are real and the damage they cause can be immense for an owner. Many times a hoarder can be screened, especially through a property management company who has professional screening tools. Our property management company in Corona CA, Signature Sales & Management, searches for items such as disturbance of neighbors, destruction of property, or any bad living or housekeeping habits. Remember hoarding is now a protected class, so be careful

In this article, we will read how to deal with a hoarder, and provide you with some insight, especially if it leads to an eviction.

Be Cautious Moving Forward

First of all, hoarding is a protected class according to the Fair House Act. People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces. It is considered a disability under federal and state anti-discrimination laws–and therefore, hoarders are protected under the federal Fair Housing Act. Landlords, property managers, and HOAs must make reasonable accommodations for hoarders before considering eviction.

Hoarding from the American Psychiatric Association: page on hoarding

Understand Your Responsibilities

In most states, the landlord or owner of the property has the responsibly of providing a dwelling that is habitable for tenants. The “warranty of habitability” is almost a standard in lease agreements. Most agreements also state that the tenants have to maintain the property to be clean and or sanitary. If a tenant’s behavior is interfering with either party’s ability to carry out the agreement or duties, then it is time to consider some action.

Is it clutter or is it hoarding?

Most people can be messy and have clutter, however, you can still walk through the house without an issue. Some people might have a ketchup packet, but a hoarder will have 40 of them, and in most cases unwilling to use them. Hoarders collect and save what most people do find worthless. It then gets piled up, providing unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, and damage to a property.

Clutter can be looked at from many perspectives. Clutter is in the eye of the beholder they say. Yes, until it blocks emergency exits, doorways, interferes with ventilation, sprinklers, attracts pests, bugs, rodents, or creates hazards for themselves or other residents. Improper Food Storage is also a part of this category.

Time to contact the Tenant and put them on Notice

If you think you may be faced with a hoarding situation, then the first thing you need to do is to put the tenant notice, until they have rectified the situation. Let them know of their obligations as it pertains to the lease agreement, and to keep the place clean and sanitary, or the language from your agreement. You may find out there is a reason for the clutter. Maybe they are having the carpets cleaned, or have a son moving away for college. However the case you will find out the next course of action.

Offer Assistance

There are two sides to this story, one in which the landlord helps the tenant, and the other in which the landlord does nothing, and well we all know how the second story ends. See what you can do to help your tenant. Moving forward with an eviction can cost money. Do you have any storage space for them, do you know of anyone with low-cost storage or storage at a discount. See what you can do to help, which will also shed light on the subject, and further put your agenda on the table, and do what you can to assist the tenant with getting the place cleaned up. Even if there is nothing you can do, ask anyway, and document your conversation.

Document Everything

So we are now pretty far into this by now. At this point, it has become the worst case scenario and you have a hoarder issue. It’s now time to evict the hoarder and preserve their safety and your property. You need to document everything. Take photos with dates, video, notes of the property condition before and after. Hopefully, you have done a full move in inspection prior to document the condition of the property prior to the tenant’s arrival. Keep copies of your documentation and any conversations that have transpired. You will need to have this information handy in the event of the eviction.

Let the Eviction Proceedings Begin

It’s a hard thing I know, especially when they may feel like not paying the rent anymore at this point. However, an eviction is necessary. You will need to use the documentation to show the court that you have exhausted all remedies, including your offer to help them in any way you can. Consult with a professional who knows how to follow proceedings for an eviction. Evictions can be tricky and expensive. If you have a property manager and they offer eviction protection, this is where the costs are going to be very minimal as far as legal proceeding go. Our company does offer this click here for our info.  Just make sure you follow procedures, as it could cost you.

In the end, the best line of defense is a good offense, in which you should pay the extra fees if you are DYI and get your tenants screened to spot issues with living habits, or disturbance of neighbors. Signature Sales & Management has a screening process to do our best to weed out his possibility. Another great tip is to always include an addendum stating that destruction of property, including housekeeping habits that result in the destruction of property is cause for termination of the tenancy agreement. This may allow you to try to get the tenant to vacate the premises first before heading into legal proceedings. If you need help with property management for properties in Corona CA and the Inland Empire, just call us and let us ensure the protection of your property, and the security to know everything is taking care of.

For any questions related to this article or for Property Management in Corona, Eastvale, Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Riverside and the Inland Empire call us 951-520-0058

Posted by: Signature Team on June 28, 2018