As a landlord, it can be incredibly concerning to inspect your property and find that your tenants are not looking after it in the same way you would. It can also be a very difficult subject to raise with your tenants especially if they are perfect tenants in every other respect! To discover that your tenants are hoarders is not as unusual as you might think and needs to be handled very delicately for everyone involved.
The definition of hoarding is “a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.” Surprisingly, this is something some tenants can slip into over time and may not always be a problem from the start.
It is worth remembering that hoarding is usually a reaction to something your tenant is experiencing so although it can be frustrating from a landlord’s perspective, you will need to be mindful that this is probably something they are incredibly embarrassed and sensitive about.
Equally, this isn’t something which can be ignored or brushed under the carpet, as hoarding can cause damage to a rental property and could become a health risk to tenants.
If you begin to see a hoarding problem develop then the first step is to schedule more regular routine visits. This way you could monitor whether it is getting better or worse over time. You may find that it is just a temporary blip and your tenants are able to resolve this themselves.
However, if the problem seems to be getting worse rather than better, then it needs to be addressed. Sometimes it may be easier to discuss this with a family member, if you know your tenant’s next of kin, and approach this in a non-judgemental way. If they see you as someone who is understanding then the chain of communication is much more likely to stay open. Hopefully with the right support they will be able to get the help and support that they need.
If you find that this approach isn’t working and the problem is becoming more severe then it may be worth getting environmental health involved. Similarly, if you think the tenant is struggling with their mental health then social services may be able to offer guidance and support.
As a last resort, you could consider asking the tenants to leave the property and ending the tenancy. However, although this means you will get your property back it doesn’t mean the problem is resolved and will then become an issue for the next landlord and could leave you in a challenging position if you are asked for a reference.
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