This week the question for Ask Landlord Hank is about a hoarder and whether an eviction can happen during covid-19. Remember Hank is not an attorney and is not giving legal advice so check your local ordinances.
Dear Landlord Hank:
How can I evict a hoarder during COVID-19?
Dear Landlord Valerie:
If your tenant is truly a hoarder, then they may be protected under the Fair Housing Act, as hoarding is considered a mental disorder that is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.
So you won’t be able to evict for hoarding.
Also, you need to be able to tell the difference between hoarding and being a slob and poor housekeeper.
Hoarding normally goes way beyond being messy and disorganized and having too much stuff. Often there is only a narrow walkway to get through the property as you wind through mountains of items.
Are entry and exits blocked, are items blocking ventilation, or have food items began attracting rats and vermin?
If the tenant has been paying rent, there may be an eviction moratorium as well.
Please contact a local attorney who deals in landlord/tenant law to see where you stand and what options you have with a hoarder.
If you truly think the property condition is a safety hazard, try for photo documentation, then contact your local fire department and health department for guidance.
Be respectful of your tenant, and don’t threaten them. That will only make matters worse.