When you rent your property to someone, you do your best to run a thorough background check. Unfortunately, one thing that may not show up on an application or a credit check is whether a person has hoarding tendencies.
People who hoard think they need to save things they will actually have no use for, from old magazines to broken appliances to junk. Storing all these things in limited space can lead to problems like fire hazards. It can also cause structural damage to your property. If you think you have a tenant who hoards things, you should know what to look for and how you can respond to the issue.
Hoarding Structural Damage
People who hoard often pack every room from the entryway to the wall. The practice can spark many serious structural problems, such as:
- Mold damage: Many people who hoard keep spoiled food because they fear throwing anything out. Bad food can encourage mold growth in cabinets and refrigerators. Sometimes the growth becomes so prevalent that it spreads to the floors and walls of your property, which will require mitigation to repair. Long-term mold damage can compromise the building’s structural integrity, too, weakening wood, tile and other surfaces.
- Plumbing problems: Clogged drains can occur when objects stored nearby fall into a bath or sink. If the tenant doesn’t contact you for help, it could be months before the clog is repaired. Sewer leaks and other sanitation issues can result from clogged drains. Unfortunately, these problems may impact other residents of your property, too.
- Pet-related damage: People who hoard sometimes collect animals instead of or in addition to things. When dozens of animals reside on your property, it can lead to pet stains and smells getting all over your floors and other surfaces, causing damage that will need to be professionally repaired. Odors can linger for years without proper treatment.
- Damage to building structure: Most buildings aren’t built to withstand the weight of a ton or more of hoarded belongings. Busted TVs, years’ worth of newspapers and old toys can add up to a lot of mass. Without reinforcement, a structure could collapse.
- Vermin infestation: If a property has lots of bad food and animal waste, vermin such as mice as well as flies and cockroaches may be drawn to the area to feed. Your tenant or their pets could get sick from the vermin, which is a concern in itself, but the insects and rodents may also chew up cabinetry and stain the carpets.
Hoarding can also cause other issues. While there are no laws against hoarding, the practice can lead to law violations as a byproduct of collecting too much stuff, such as blocking emergency exits, ventilation systems or sprinklers.
Hoarding Cleanup Services in Chicago
Have you suffered hoarding property damage from one of your tenants? We offer hoarder property restoration and cleanup services for landlords in the Chicago area. We can deodorize and sanitize the property before you show it to other tenants. Call us at 773-346-6767 to discuss our services.