What to Do if a Tenant Is a Hoarder

Trauma SceneUncategorised

Are you a landlord facing the daunting challenge of dealing with a tenant who is a hoarder, like navigating through a cluttered maze? It can be overwhelming, but it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and seek professional assistance.

As a responsible landlord, providing a safe and sanitary living environment is your obligation, while tenants are expected to maintain cleanliness and avoid causing damage. However, if hoarding behavior becomes a hazard to others, it may be considered a lease violation.

Effective communication and thorough documentation are crucial in addressing the issue early on, especially when it comes to safety concerns and potential eviction. But remember, hoarding is a mental illness, and tenants may have legal protections under fair housing laws.

By collaborating with relevant agencies and professionals, you can find the best approach to support your tenant and tackle hoarding behavior head-on.

Recognize the Signs of Hoarding Behavior

Recognizing the signs of hoarding behavior is crucial for landlords in addressing potential hazards and ensuring the safety of their tenants.

As a landlord, it’s important to be able to identify the signs that may indicate a tenant is a hoarder. Excessive clutter and disorganization in the living space is one clear sign to be aware of. If you notice that the individual has difficulty discarding possessions, even those with little to no value, it may be indicative of hoarding behavior.

Another sign to look out for is the accumulation of items that impede regular activities and living conditions. For example, if you observe that emergency exits are blocked or that the tenant is unable to use certain areas of the unit due to excessive clutter, it may be a red flag.

Additionally, pay attention to signs of distress or anxiety that the tenant may exhibit when faced with the idea of discarding items. Recognizing these signs early on can help landlords take appropriate action and address hoarding behavior in a timely manner.

Communicate With the Tenant

To effectively address hoarding behavior, it’s crucial for landlords to establish open and honest communication with their tenants. Engage in a conversation with the tenant to understand their perspective and needs. Clearly communicate any concerns about the hoarding behavior and its impact on the property and other tenants.

It’s important to approach the conversation with compassion and empathy, as hoarding is classified as a mental illness. Discuss potential solutions and resources that can help the tenant address the hoarding issue. Offer support and guidance throughout the process of addressing the hoarding behavior.

Establish clear expectations and timelines for taking action, ensuring that the tenant understands the consequences of not addressing the issue. Ongoing communication is key to maintaining a supportive relationship and offering assistance.

Remember to document the communication and any agreements reached. This communication with the tenant is essential for addressing hoarding behavior in a respectful and effective manner.

Seek Professional Help and Support

Seeking professional help and support is crucial when dealing with a hoarder tenant. Hoarding behavior can lead to the accumulation of hazardous biological waste, posing health risks for both the tenant and others in the building. To address these concerns, it’s essential to involve mental health professionals experienced in hoarding disorders. They can provide the necessary guidance and support to help the tenant overcome their hoarding tendencies.

In addition to mental health professionals, consider involving a social worker or counselor who can provide personalized assistance to the hoarding tenant. These professionals can help create a plan to address the underlying causes of hoarding and develop strategies for decluttering and maintaining a clean living environment.

Collaborating with organizations specializing in hoarding disorder can also be beneficial. These organizations can offer insights into the best approach for dealing with hoarding situations, as well as provide resources and support to landlords and tenants.

Encouraging the hoarding tenant to seek therapy and counseling services is crucial. These services can help them explore the root causes of their hoarding behavior and develop effective coping mechanisms. By addressing the underlying issues, the tenant can work towards long-term recovery and a healthier living environment.

Document the Hoarding Situation

When dealing with a hoarding situation, it’s crucial to document the hoarding behavior and the condition of the property through photographs, notes, and videos. This documentation serves as evidence of the hoarding situation and can be used for legal purposes if needed.

Take clear and detailed photographs that accurately depict the extent of the hoarding behavior, including any damage to the property. Make sure to document the condition of each room and note any safety hazards or concerns.

Keep a detailed record of the hoarding behavior, including dates and descriptions of incidents or conversations with the tenant. Organize your documentation in a way that’s easily accessible and maintain a paper trail of all communication and actions taken regarding the hoarding situation.

Seek legal advice to ensure that you’re effectively documenting the hoarding situation and following the necessary procedures. By documenting the hoarding situation, you’re able to provide contextually relevant information and protect your rights as a landlord while addressing the needs of your hoarding tenant.

Address Safety Hazards and Fire Risks

Remove safety hazards and address fire risks promptly to ensure a secure living environment for all tenants. When dealing with a hoarder tenant, it’s crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of everyone involved.

Here are some key steps to consider:

  • Clear pathways and exits: Ensure that pathways and emergency exits are clear of clutter, allowing for quick evacuation in case of an emergency.
  • Remove flammable items: Identify and remove any flammable materials or objects to reduce the risk of fire and create a safer living space.
  • Enhance fire safety measures: Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in strategic locations to provide early detection and response to potential fire hazards.

Addressing safety hazards and fire risks is essential for the protection of not only the hoarding tenant but also other occupants in the building. By removing hazardous materials and implementing fire safety measures, you’re taking proactive steps to mitigate the risk of bodily harm, health issues, and property damage.

Regular inspections should be conducted to identify and address potential safety hazards, ensuring a safe living environment for all tenants. Remember, prompt action is crucial when it comes to addressing safety concerns and fire risks associated with hoarding behavior.

Understand Fair Housing Laws and Protections

To ensure compliance with fair housing laws and protect the rights of hoarding tenants, it’s important for landlords to understand the legal implications and protections surrounding hoarding disorder.

Hoarding behavior, although challenging for landlords to address, is recognized as a disability under the Fair Housing Act. This means that hoarders are considered a protected class, and eviction based solely on their hoarding activity is prohibited. However, it’s essential to note that violations of lease terms and code violations can still lead to eviction.

When dealing with hoarding situations, it’s crucial to document the hoarding situation carefully for legal purposes. This documentation can include photos and videos that depict the extent of the hoarding behavior. In cases where the tenant doesn’t respond to notice or when legal action becomes necessary, seeking advice from an attorney is recommended.

Furthermore, it’s important for landlords to understand the potential risks associated with hoarding, such as the presence of biohazardous substances like human bodily matter, human blood and body, medical waste, and clinical specimens. Proper management of these materials is crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of both the hoarding tenant and other occupants of the property.

Collaborate With Relevant Agencies and Professionals

Collaborating with mental health professionals and social services is crucial when addressing hoarding behavior in tenants. By working together with these agencies and professionals, you can provide the necessary support and resources for the hoarder tenant.

Here are three key reasons why collaboration is essential:

  • Ensuring Safety: Hoarding behavior can create dangerous living conditions, with the accumulation of biological waste and potential biohazards. By collaborating with relevant agencies and professionals, you can address these safety concerns and take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk of infectious diseases or accidents.
  • Navigating Complexity: Hoarding cases can be complex and require specialized knowledge and experience. By seeking guidance from organizations experienced in hoarding cases, you can tap into their expertise to navigate the intricacies of the situation and find the best course of action.
  • Gaining Expert Support: Seasoned inspectors can play a crucial role in supporting and assisting throughout the process. Their expertise can be invaluable in conducting detailed inspections, identifying potential safety hazards, and providing formal reports to document the severity of the hoarding behavior.

Consider Eviction as a Last Resort

Consider eviction as a last resort when dealing with a hoarder tenant, prioritizing the safety and well-being of the rental property and other tenants. Hoarding behavior can lead to the accumulation of biohazardous waste, such as blood and body fluids, which can pose serious health risks. If the hoarded items are contaminated with potentially infectious materials, it can create biological hazards that can endanger not only the hoarder but also the surrounding individuals.

In such cases, eviction may be necessary to mitigate these risks and ensure the overall safety of the property.

Before considering eviction, it’s essential to exhaust all available services and outlets to rectify the hoarding situation. Seek legal advice and explore other options, such as reasonable accommodation under federal and state disability laws. Document specific lease violations and communicate them clearly to the tenant, emphasizing the potential health hazards associated with their hoarding behavior.

Eviction should only be considered when reasonable accommodations and attempts to help the tenant haven’t been successful, and when the safety of the property and other tenants is at risk.

When eviction becomes necessary, it’s crucial to follow the proper legal procedures and seek guidance from professionals to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. Prioritizing the safety and well-being of the rental property and other tenants is of utmost importance, and eviction should be viewed as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Do About a Hoarding Tenant?

If your tenant is a hoarder, approach the situation with compassion. Seek professional help and ensure a safe living environment. Communicate early, document the issue, address fire hazards, and collaborate with agencies. Eviction may be justified in certain cases.

Can You Evict a Tenant for Hoarding in Ontario?

You can potentially evict a tenant for hoarding in Ontario if it violates the lease or poses safety risks. Seek legal advice, document the situation, communicate with the tenant, and consider assistance from professionals experienced in hoarding cases.

What Happens When a Hoarder Is Reported?

If a hoarder is reported, it is important to address the situation with compassion and seek professional help. Landlords should document the issue, communicate with the tenant, and consider legal options if necessary. Collaboration with relevant agencies is crucial.

Is Hoarding Illegal in Canada?

Hoarding is not illegal in Canada, but it can violate lease terms if it creates hazards or damages the property. Landlords should approach the situation with compassion, seek professional help, and consider eviction if necessary.


In conclusion, dealing with a hoarder tenant can be a challenging situation for landlords. It’s crucial to approach it with compassion, seek professional help, and maintain effective communication.

Documenting the hoarding situation and addressing safety hazards are important steps to ensure a safe living environment. Understanding fair housing laws and collaborating with relevant agencies and professionals can help in effectively addressing hoarding behavior.

Eviction should be considered as a last resort after exhausting all available services.