Hoarding goes beyond having a cluttered attic or box of rusty nails and can be a serious mental disorder. Common types of hoarding include food hoarding, animal hoarding, garbage or trash hoarding, sentimental hoarding, and media or paper hoarding. Hoarding can have serious consequences for the individual, their families, and their communities, including physical hazards, social isolation, relationship problems, financial difficulties, and health and safety issues. It's important for individuals who struggle with hoarding to seek help and support from mental health professionals, support groups, and loved ones in order to overcome it and lead a happier, healthier, and safer life.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, signs warning of only one package of toilet paper for each customer are not an indication of a failure in the supply chain. Rather, it’s more a mark of an unpredictable event that has turned our lives upside down. Note that hoarding goes beyond having an attic stuffed with stuff or a box of rusty nails. People reach the disorder stage when they cross the line separating busy clutter from addictive accumulation.
You probably know that there are many types of people who tend to store up a little extra food in case of emergencies. However, people predisposed to hoarding can start having strong compulsions about keeping food. And it is worth noting that people who usually struggle with food hoarding typically have some past trauma associated with fears of not having enough food.
Animal hoarding is also common. Despite the restrictions and limits on the number of animals or pets allowed within a condo, home, or apartment, the realistic number for hoarders often greatly exceeds these limits. And note that when these animals become malnourished and do not get the care they need, their safety and health are jeopardized.
Homes of animal hoarders are often accompanied by more clutter, presenting hazardous health conditions associated with germs, animal waste, and bacteria within the home.
A person can be identified as a garbage or trash hoarder when they display an inability to discard waste, garbage, or trash. Also, note that garbage hoarders frequently rummage through other people’s trash in order to find “treasures” of their own. As you can imagine, this inability to differentiate valuable items from harmful waste can be a cause of concern.
Sentimental hoarding is a type of hoarding where individuals have difficulty letting go of objects that hold emotional value to them, such as gifts, letters, and photographs. It's not just about having a lot of sentimental items, but the inability to part with them even if they are no longer needed or useful. This type of hoarding can cause clutter and can lead to living spaces becoming hazardous and uninhabitable.
Media hoarding involves an excessive accumulation of newspapers, magazines, books, or other forms of paper. People who struggle with media hoarding may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of paper they accumulate and may be unable to part with it due to the belief that it may be useful in the future. This can also lead to clutter and can cause fire hazards due to the volume of paper stored in one place.
Hoarding can have serious consequences not just for the individual, but also for their families, friends, and communities. Beyond the physical hazards associated with hoarding, it can also lead to social isolation, relationship problems, and financial difficulties. Hoarding can also lead to health and safety issues, such as fire hazards, unsanitary conditions, and increased risk of injury.
It's important for individuals who struggle with hoarding to seek help and support from mental health professionals, support groups, and loved ones. With the right resources, it's possible to overcome hoarding and lead a happier, healthier, and safer life.
For landlords, maneuvering around the complex issues concerning hoarding and tenant rights can be tricky. Because of the connection between hoarding and mental illness, your tenant, by law, is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). One wrong move, and you could face a lawsuit.
As a landlord, everything and anything that happens on your property becomes your problem. Hoarding affects over one million people in the US in some capacity, which means that as a landlord there is a high likelihood that one of your tenants may hoard. Due to hoarding being recognized as a mental disability, hoarders are protected under the Fair Housing Act and cannot be evicted for the act of hoarding. Though they do have rights as a tenant, if the hoarding causes a breach in the lease, that may be grounds for eviction. Many times, hoarding may cause emergency exits to be blocked, old food to attract rodents, and cause damage to the apartment or home – this would be a breach of the lease.
Hoarding is a severe problem for a large amount of people around the world. It tends to be first-world nations like the United States that have greater incidences of hoarding. This is likely because people here have acquired disposable income. The more you learn about hoarding, the more you realize that you do not have to have disposable income to become a hoarder. People often collect free and found items as part of their hoard. Over the past 50 years, the number of people who are hoarding has increased exponentially.