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WOAH! You Cannot Evict A Hoarder

  • September 9, 2020

You’ve probably seen the hit reality TV series about individuals who are hoarders. For many people, a hoarding situation is something to shudder about and forget, but for many property managers and real estate investors, hoarding tenants and the complications are all too real.

Hoarding Defined

Hoarding is a mental disorder recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, and therefore, these individuals are one fo the protected classes of the Fair Housing Act. As a landlord or property manager, you can’t legally deny tenancy to a hoarder or evict them for hoarding, as this is legally considered discrimination.

Instead, landlords and property managers must make reasonable accommodations for a hoarder to live comfortably.

There is a difference, however, between being messy or dirty and being a hoarder. To determine which type of tenant you are dealing with, you need to assess the extent of the home’s condition. Hoarding typically goes beyond just being a slob and impacts the safety of the house, blockis entrances and exits, interferes with fire alarms and ventilation, creates an environment that attracts pests, and generally creates hazards for the occupant and others.

What Can You Do About a Hoarding Tenant?

Before evicting a tenant, a landlord or property manager has a few steps they need to take first.

  • Conduct a property inspection, documenting everything. Take photos and video, noting any damages.
  • Have a conversation with your tenant and offer them help. Many communities have counseling and outreach services for mental health. You can also offer to schedule a deep clean-up of the space.
  • Consult an attorney. While all rental properties are required to follow the guidelines of the Fair Housing Act, different states and municipalities have their own regulations about landlord-tenant relations.

If none of these steps result in an improvement of the house, then eviction may be the best solution. Bear in mind that you’ll need a valid reason for the eviction, so legal counsel can help you avoid violating anti-discrimination laws.

Grounds For Eviction

The condition of the property may constitute a violation of the lease. Review the lease carefully, and compare the findings from your inspection with the requirements of the lease. While you can’t evict the tenant for hoarding, you can evict them if the hoard is creating conditions and situations that violate their lease.

Common lease violations include:

  • Keeping pets in violation of the lease. Your lease may have a “no pets” policy or may allow for one pet, with an additional pet deposit. Additional animals would violate the lease. Also, keeping pets in a way that breaks the law, such as neglect of outright abuse may also be grounds for eviction.
  • Direct damage to the property.
  • Interfering with alarm systems, including CO2 monitors, sprinkler systems, fire alarms, other utilities.
  • Blocking entryways and exits.
  • Improper storage of perishable items, such as keeping food past the expiration date or leaving food out to rot, attracting pests, and causing mold.

Conclusion

While real estate investors, property managers, and landlords can’t legally evict a tenant for being a hoarder, they may have recourse if the effects of hoarding violate the lease. However, hoarding situations are just one of many examples of why you should engage a professional property manager. PropertyManagementQuotes.com can find you the experience you need at ZERO cost to you!

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