Hoarders and Property Management
When managed properly, a rental property is a good addition to an investment portfolio. It is a good source of passive income for owners. On the flipside, landlords and property managers often encounter a variety of challenges when renting out to tenants.
Whether it’s a non paying tenant or one who is disruptive, who causes trouble with neighboring residents, it is always a headache.
In this article, we will discuss another major challenge - hoarders and property management.
Hoarders VS Messy Tenants
Messy tenants vs hoarders, what’s the difference? A whole lot.
Messy tenants may just be slackers in terms of housekeeping and tidiness. There may be an occasional pile of garbage not thrown out at once or unwashed dishes left overnight.
Hoarders, however, go beyond being just untidy. They can cause problems that go beyond unclean surroundings. Hoarding can lead to a property becoming an unsafe place to live.
Hoarding is a type of psychological disorder that compels a person to accumulate items and consequently get emotionally attached to them. This is regardless of whether the items are of value or just plain junk. Hoarders have the compulsive need to acquire increasingly more items.
At the same time, they also don’t throw out anything for fear of losing something useful, valuable or important. This results in piles of accumulated items that over time affect the living conditions within the home. And even worse, they can cause serious sanitary and safety issues.
Hoarders and Property Management - The Dangers of Hoarding
As a property owner or manager, your goal is to maximize your investment by making sure your home, apartment or condo is well maintained while being rented out. Hoarders and hoarding can seriously affect your property’s value by making it a health and safety hazard. If taken to the extreme, they may also cause structural damage.
What are the dangers of hoarding?
Hoarders and Property Management - Health Risks
Hoarding can cause diseases and illnesses due to the following:
Pest Infestation. With rotting materials and decomposing in every corner, could rats, cockroaches, ants and other vermin be far away? The presence of pests and vermin in a property leads to countless diseases.
Moreover, an infestation can also lead to property damage including holes in the walls or cabinetry, carpet stains or a pervading stench that is difficult to get rid of.
Mold Growth. A hoarder’s home provides the perfect breeding ground for mold growth - stale air, lots of decaying material, high level of humidity. Spoiled food, dirty food containers and other materials kept for years harbor mildew, fungus and mold.
Severe mold growth can lead to health issues like allergies and asthma, damage to the respiratory system and can aggravate pre-existing health conditions.
Mold growth can also cause structural damage when molds affect walls and floors and remediation can be a messy process.
Poor Quality of Air. Clutter equates to accumulation of dust everywhere. In addition, toxic compounds like ammonia or formaldehyde from decaying materials are released into the already stale air.
Poor air quality causes respiratory problems including chronic cough, shortness of breath and asthma. If clutter gets into the air vents or block airways, this can cause serious carbon dioxide build-up.
Unsanitary Conditions. Essential activities such as house cleaning, cooking, even bathing can become impossible in a hoarder’s home. Poor personal hygiene and lack of proper meals, coupled with stale air and even presence of molds make those living within a hoarder’s home prone to illness and disease.
Because of lack of regular cleaning, germs and bacteria can multiply freely and cause serious health problems.
An even worse situation is if there is animal hoarding. Keeping pets is one thing, but having too many animals living together in an often confined space makes the spread of germs and disease easier.
Physical Injuries. Not only does hoarding pose danger to health, it can also cause physical injuries, including tripping/falling or having things collapse on top of a person.
Hoarders and Property Management - Damage to Property
The biggest headache that hoarders bring to landlords or property managers is damage to property.
Fire Damage. In a home where hoarders reside, there is a constant danger of fire starting within. What can cause fire?
Much of the clutter is made of flammable materials. Fire can start through spontaneous combustion or if items come into contact with sources of heat like incandescent bulbs, stoves or heaters.
Due to rodent infestation, rats and mice can chew through electrical wiring that cause failure and fires.
Because of the sheer amount of items present, fire can spread fast and may be difficult to control once it has started. It can cause substantial damage to property and may even result in total destruction of a home or building.
Structural Damage. Damage to property due to fire is just one of the hazards that hoarders pose to property. Hoarding can also lead to property becoming structurally unsound and unsafe for habitation.
The weight of all the accumulated belongings may actually be to the point that it can cause structural collapse. Floors and load-bearing parts of the house are designed to support a certain amount of weight. Beyond this, floors may buckle and support walls or beams may collapse under the stress.
As already mentioned above, rodents may cause holes in the walls or floors, destroy insulation or break duct works.
Because of all the clutter, access to within hoarders’ homes are often restricted. Therefore, maintenance work on HVAC systems, sprinklers, electrical systems, and plumbing may go unaddressed for long periods of time. This results in continuous deterioration leading to potentially irreparable damage.
Water damage in hoarded homes is common because leaks can often go undetected and unaddressed, eventually causing substantial damage to the home. Not to mention the time and cost it would involve to remove the tenants contents to gain access to the damaged areas for repairs.
Clogged drains may also be left unrepaired. This can result in sewer backups, not only causing leaks into floors but also cause sanitation issues.
Hoarders and Property Management Can Be Expensive
Having a hoarder tenant poses a big problem and can be detrimental to the value of rental property. An effective and thorough screening of prospective tenants is a way to reduce risk of renting to hoarders. Another way to reduce risk of possible hoarding is to conduct probationary inspections for new tenants.
A home or an apartment unit that has been rented out to hoarders becomes expensive to empty out, clean and restore before it can be rent ready again. The best way to do this is to call on restoration professionals to help assess the damage and repair what is needed to get the property back to its original condition.
FIVE STAR RESTORATION
If you have a recently vacated property and have experienced property damage because of hoarder tenants, FIVE STAR RESTORATION is the company to call.
Our experts can remove, contain and clean quickly and safely so your rental property is restored to its original condition. We help maximize your investment by getting your property rent ready again in the shortest time possible.
Call us today at 951.368.2227 for fast round-the-clock response.
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