Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that affects about 4% of the U.S. population. It is characterized by excessive saving of items that others may view as worthless, leading to clutter that disrupts living or work spaces. While there isn't one main cause for compulsive hoarding, it can be triggered by various factors, including trauma, genetics, brain abnormalities, and social isolation. Hoarding often begins in adolescence and grows in severity with age. Personalized and compassionate plans for cleanup are necessary, as each case of hoarding is different and can be caused by a combination of factors. It's important to seek help for compulsive hoarding, as confronting someone who hoards can damage the relationship, and professional aid is often necessary for cleaning and remediation. Various resources are available to help those dealing with hoarding, including warning signs, laws and facts about animal hoarding, and tips on dealing with hoarding parents.
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.