Reality of Hoarding

October 2022

Some find watching someone who throws nothing away while living in filth to be entertaining television.  In high-rise communities this is far from entertaining.

There may be a nasty smell or flies in hallways.  Bugs living among trash may make their way to other suites.  When someone eventually looks inside the suite, it may be littered with empty cans, bags, bottles and trash.  Newspapers and mail may be laying around.  Furniture can be covered by paper and clothing.

Hoarding or pack rat situations rarely get resolved without intervention.  Unresolved, these conditions are a danger to an entire high-rise community.  There is greater risk of fire, pest infestation and other building-wide problems.

The standard condominium management approach to in-suite problems doesn’t work.  Warning letters are ineffective if the recipient is incapable of understanding their problem and dealing with it.  A community-oriented approach can be more effective.  Contact family members or social service agencies.  A local zoning or fire department may offer assistance or programs for dealing with hoarders.

While a written demand is unlikely to be effective, it does show that efforts have been made and could facilitate a court-ordered resolution.  Should legal action become necessary, take pictures as proof.  Condominium corporations do have the right to inspect a suite if violations are suspected.  A court can authorize cleanup of a hoarder’s home and ongoing measures to ensure it remains uncluttered.