Understanding Hoarding Disorder

October 10, 2023

What is Hoarding?

Hoarding is a recognized mental condition, as outlined in the DSM-5 by the American Psychiatry Association, characterized by an inability to discard items, resulting in excessive accumulation that can cause distress and impair living spaces.

The Fair Housing Act and Hoarding

Under the Fair Housing Act, hoarding is classified as a disability, protecting individuals from discrimination based on their condition. Landlords cannot deny housing to someone because they are a hoarder but must approach the situation with empathy and understanding.

Messiness vs. Hoarding

The key difference between being messy and hoarding is the emotional distress associated with discarding items for hoarders. Messiness does not have the same emotional attachment or lead to significant impairment of usable space.

Signs of Hoarding

Signs include overwhelming accumulation of items, blocked exits, overflow of clutter outside the property, and the potential for attracting pests. Severe cases may involve animal hoarding, which is considered a felony in most states.

Preventing Hoarding in Rentals

Landlords can prevent hoarding by including specific language in lease agreements about inspection frequencies and expectations for property maintenance. Conducting regular inspections helps identify early signs of hoarding.

Addressing Active Hoarding Situations

In active cases, approach tenants with compassion, emphasizing safety and the need for clear pathways. Outline clear expectations for cleanliness and offer resources for assistance. Ensure lease agreements comply with local landlord-tenant laws.

Being a Better Landlord

Maintain a human connection with tenants, fostering an environment where they feel comfortable discussing issues. Approach hoarding with empathy, recognizing it as a disability, to work towards a resolution beneficial to all parties.

Thank you for joining us in this discussion on hoarding in rental properties. If you have any questions or experiences to share, please comment below and don’t forget to subscribe for more insights on being a better landlord.

Video Transcript


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