Hoarding is a condition characterized by the obsessive and irrational need to keep excessive belongings and trash. The National Study on Compulsive Disorganization has developed a scale that defines the levels of hoarding to aid professionals and affected individuals in determining the severity of the problem. Level 3 hoarding is when the hoarder is unable to see the severity of the situation and downplays the dangers presented by their hoarded home. Characteristics of level 3 hoarding include poor personal hygiene, an excessive number of pets, evident flea, spider or rodent infestation, strong odors in the hoarder's home, extensive clutter that makes tidying up impossible, extremely soiled flooring, unusable bathrooms or bedrooms, narrowed hallways, accumulation outside of the hoarded home, two or more appliances in disrepair for six months, and light structural damage in the hoarder's house. Helping a level 3 hoarder often requires the assistance of professionals who can create custom cleanup plans while working with mental health professionals to ensure that the hoarder gets the help and support they need during the difficult cleanup process
Hoarding is a complicated condition highlighted by the obsessive and irrational need to keep things like trash and excessive belongings. The National Study on Compulsive Disorganization has developed a scale that defines the levels of hoarding to aid professionals and affected individuals in determining the severity of the problem.
Level 3 hoarders can’t see the severity of their situation and downplay the dangers presented by their hoarded home. People that have created level 3 hoards are often combative when confronted with the reality of their situation.
Some of these characteristics are defined in the earlier stages of hoarding but have increased in intensity as a person passes through the various stages.
Due to obtrusive piles of stuff and broken plumbing, personal hygiene is visibly declining. Dirty clothes are worn, teeth are not being brushed, bathing isn’t occurring as frequently as it should, and the toilet may not work. This is the first stage where the declining hygiene of a hoarder becomes visible. Visitors and friends, whether inside or outside of the hoarded property, will start to wonder why the hoarder isn’t taking care of themselves.
The number of animals in the house now overwhelms the hoarder’s ability to care for them. Pet excrement will be throughout the house and not centralized into a few locations. Feces and urine will be present on items within the hoard itself. The animals themselves may start suffering from medical ailments that the owner cannot pay for due to the daily upkeep cost on their hoarded animals. Pets will not be adequately spayed or neutered, increasing the risk of the animal population exploding beyond what already exists.
Pests can be seen in the home. Fleas are found on furniture, spider webs exist between objects in the hoard, and rodents will occasionally be seen jumping between objects around the house. The house is not yet overrun by vermin, but immediate action needs to be taken to restore the hoarder’s living space into something livable and healthy.
The amount of rotten food, dirty dishes, garbage, and pet excrement creates a pungent odor within the hoarder’s house. It is not yet overpowering, but it is strong and disagreeable. It permeates all spaces within the home, but it can’t yet be smelled outside.
When rapid accumulation of items causes your house to no longer be a conceivable place for storage, and piles that had been spilling into each other are now jumbles of stuff occupying entire portions of the home… the hoard has now reached unmanageable levels,
A professional cleaning company is usually needed and many times can be covered by insurance. We have noticed often thick layers of dust over everything in the hoarded house. Level 3 hoarders have an excess of dirty clothes lying around the house. This clothing may be mixed in with clean clothes, and the hoarder may no longer have a working washer and dryer.
The house’s clutter, vermin, and pets will have created a situation on all the floors that cannot be rectified by a deep hand scrub or a carpet cleaner. Layers of debris have been ground into tile and carpet to the point that the original color of the surface is often not visible in main walkways.
Items have entirely taken over at least one bedroom or bathroom. Not only is the bed or tub unusable, but the entire space is filled with so much stuff that it is impossible to enter the room. This is the first level that guarantees the non-use of an entire room in the house.
Surface and space underneath furniture are stuffed, but the clutter has also started to accumulate around the perimeters of rooms and hallways. This impedes natural movement through these spaces, and often pathways have been created through what is quickly becoming a wall of stuff.
The hoard has spilled outside and is now viewable to people approaching the house or property. Due to accumulation, entire porches will be unusable, and clutter will exist in piles forming in yards.
Two or more of the appliances within the hoarded home are unusable. This is usually because they quit working, often for a simple reason, and the hoarder couldn’t reach the appliance to fix it. Things like a bathroom may be overflowing onto objects stacked around it, and the bathroom no longer serves its purpose to the owner.
There is an area of the home that now has structural damage due to the size of the hoard and the inability to access the immediate area. The roof may be leaking, the floor may be buckling, or the drywall has cracked. Because of the excessive number of items in the hoarded home, it is impossible to address this structural damage without cleaning the space.
Hoarding is characterized by symptoms that are distressing to friends, family, bosses, and neighbors. A level 3 hoarder is most likely in a significant amount of denial about the severity of their situation.
We will provide you with the professionals you need to assist the hoarder in your life. PPE gear will almost always be required in level 3 hoarding situations. Get expert help cleaning the garbage and feces out of the hoarded home.
At Spaulding Decon, our trained biohazard remediation professionals know how to clean up a hoarder’s home, and we understand the emotional attachment that exists to the belongings. Our teams can create custom cleanup plans while working with mental health professionals to ensure that your loved ones get the help and support they need during the difficult cleanup process.
Learn from our 15+ Years Experience with Hoarding Assistance. Hoarding is destructive to your property values as well as theirs. There are many ways to go about working with a harder to get them to clean up the mess. In this free eBook download, Spaulding Decon teaches you lessons learned from dealing with Hoarding Cleanup and the psychology behind hoarding disorders.
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.