In addition to accidental property damage, late payments, and neighborly conflicts, certain troublesome situations can sometimes pose greater challenges. If a Phoenix, AZ tenant has a hoarding problem, for instance, it is quite a tricky business that must be handled very carefully to avoid confrontations and legal issues.
As difficult as it may seem, you need to act quickly since hoarding behavior can seriously harm the health and safety of the affected individual, as well as other residents in the building and even the integrity of the property itself. Read on to learn how to deal with hoarder tenants in Phoenix, AZ.
Hoarder Tenants: Things to Consider
It is important to consider several factors when deciding what to do about a hoarder tenant:
Hoarding is a mental disorder that is officially recognized.
A subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder known as hoarding is characterized by excessive acquisition of worthless items, strong attachment to possessions, inability to discard items, severe indecision, poor socialization skills, and organizational difficulties.
Since hoarding has been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, it is protected under federal and state anti-discrimination laws, so tenants who hoard are entitled to fair housing. It means that landlords and property managers have a responsibility to provide adequate assistance to the hoarder and to make a reasonable accommodation before taking drastic measures, like eviction.
Various risks are associated with hoarding behavior.
Frequently, excessive hoarding causes poor sanitary conditions and restricted living areas, which can lead to a variety of problems, such as increased fire hazards, obstruction of emergency exits and passageways, pest infestations, and easier spread of infectious diseases. All of these conditions violate state and local sanitary, electrical, and building codes, as well as different animal care standards.
How to Handle Hoarding Tenants
Because hoarding is a mental disorder, most hoarding tenants will not be able to solve their problem without professional assistance—both for psychological help and to clean and organize their living space. You have a duty as a landlord to help the hoarder improve the condition of their home.
Reason with the hoarder tenant
Identify the most pressing issues and convince the tenant to deal with them first. Identify simple strategies to reduce fire hazards, to remove vermin, to clear blocked passages, and to address anything else that poses a risk to the health and safety of the hoarder and others in the building. Provide sufficient time for the requests to be fulfilled before suggesting other relevant steps to gradually improve the property’s overall condition.
Write a plan for decluttering and cleaning the hoarder tenant’s apartment
Keeping the plan broken up into small and manageable tasks is a good idea. Start by removing food leftovers and empty food containers from the kitchen and decluttering the bathroom, then move on to larger decluttering and cleaning projects.
Establish appropriate time limits for each specific task. Make sure the plan also includes all the code violations at issue, which may help the tenant better understand the severity of the problem.
Get professional counseling and cleaning services.
Hoarders tend to see nothing wrong with their behavior, so they refuse to seek treatment. Nonetheless, you can consult a professional and come up with strategies that will help the hoarder overcome their anxieties and regain control of the situation. Professional cleaning and organizational services can also prove beneficial to everyone. Taking a thoughtful approach will further demonstrate that you tried everything possible before resorting to eviction. It is recommended that you keep detailed records of all the steps taken to accommodate the hoarder, as well as how much time and money was spent.
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