How To Deal With Hoarding Tenants

Do you have a hoarding tenant at one or more of your rental properties? You’ve come to the right place!

Hoarding is a big problem because not only is it a fire hazard, it can also lead to serious injury or death.

Thankfully, dealing with hoarding tenants is no longer difficult especially if you follow these tips.

Tips For Dealing With Hoarding Tenants

Understand Your Responsibilities

In most states, the landlord has a responsibility to provide a habitable dwelling. This duty is often referred to as the “warranty of habitability” and is implied in nearly every standard lease agreement. In exchange, most states require tenants to keep their units “clean and sanitary.” If someone’s hoarding interferes with either party’s ability to carry out their respective duties, it’s time to take action.

Determine What’s Messy vs. Hoarding

As a general rule of thumb, we consider a person to be “hoarding” if their behavior goes beyond clutter and blocks emergency exits or doorways; interferes with ventilation or sprinkler systems; attracts pests through improper food storage; or creates hazards for other residents.

Contact the Tenant ASAP

If you suspect a person is hoarding, get in touch with that resident as soon as possible, before the problem becomes more pronounced. Remind them of their lease obligations–namely, to keep the unit clean, sanitary, and free from clutter. Perhaps there’s a reason for the clutter. Maybe someone is preparing to move. Maybe the resident is temporarily housing furniture and other items while their parents’ home is undergoing renovations. There may be a legitimate reason for the clutter; and hopefully, the matter can be resolved swiftly–before it becomes a larger issue.

Offer to Help

Consider ways that you might be able to help your hoarder tenant. Is there extra storage space in your basement that they could lease? Do you have a deal with a local facility that could offer them a discounted storage unit? Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to help–but if it seems at all possible to extend a helping hand to resolve the issue, offer that carrot before reaching for the stick.

Document Everything

In the worst case scenario, you might have to evict the hoarder tenant. You want to start preparing for the possibility now. Begin to document everything. Take pictures, videos, and notes to document the property’s condition. Keep copies of all communication between you and the tenant. You’ll want to have these records if an eviction becomes necessary.

Begin Eviction Proceedings

Nobody likes evicting a resident; but an eviction is often the last line of defense for landlords, property managers, and HOAs. You’ll want to use all of the documentation you’ve compiled to date to show the court that you’ve tried everything you could to accommodate the resident before the eviction became necessary. If an eviction seems necessary, consult with a property manager and/or real estate attorney. Evictions can be messy (and worse, expensive), so you’ll want to follow procedures to a T.

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