Hoarding and Fair Housing (Updated 2023) - Grace Hill
Back to Blog

The Link Between Hoarding and Fair Housing

Posted on August 1, 2023 by Grace Hill

A senior woman in her 60s at home, sitting in a messy, cluttered room, looking away with a serious expression.

Hoarding is a mental health disorder that is often misunderstood. It can have serious consequences for those who suffer from it, as well as the people living around them. Property managers of multifamily properties need to understand the important link between hoarding and Fair Housing to ensure the health and safety of all residents.

In addition, this means property managers must address hoarding issues proactively to mitigate potential safety hazards and compliance violations. Educating staff and residents on hoarding awareness, creating policies and procedures to address hoarding issues, and engaging in regular inspections can help ensure that multifamily properties remain safe and compliant. And implementing a reasonable accommodation policy for hoarders can help residents get the assistance they need to manage their hoarding while also protecting the property and rights of other residents.

The Connection Between Fair Housing Laws and Hoarding

Fair Housing laws play a critical role in addressing hoarding in multifamily properties. Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate against individuals with disabilities, including those with hoarding disorders. Hoarding is considered a disability under the act, as it is recognized as a mental health disorder. Property management professionals must understand that hoarding is a symptom of a larger mental health issue and should be approached with compassion and understanding.

While the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination, it also allows for reasonable accommodations to be made for individuals with disabilities. Therefore, property managers must provide necessary accommodations to hoarders to ensure equal access and enjoyment of their housing. 

Property owners and managers should work with the hoarder and mental health professionals to determine the most appropriate accommodations for supporting the individual’s recovery while also maintaining safety and compliance of the property.

By understanding these laws and implementing appropriate accommodations, property owners can create a supportive and inclusive living environment for all residents while also ensuring the health and safety of the community.

Addressing Hoarding One Step at a Time

Addressing hoarding is a complex and sensitive process that requires careful consideration and compassion. Here are some tips to help address hoarding in a way that complies with Fair Housing:

  • Ensure there is an understanding that hoarding is a disability under the Fair Housing Act. 
  • Use a standard assessment, such as those provided by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization or the International OCD Foundation, to guarantee an objective evaluation.
  • Understand what state and local laws apply to your specific situation and how to apply them appropriately.
  • Give the resident a chance to rectify the situation.

Hoarding is a mental health disorder that can have serious consequences for the hoarder and the community around them. It can lead to safety hazards, non-compliance with building codes, and negative impacts on the overall well-being of residents.

Property owners and managers have a responsibility to maintain safe and compliant living conditions for all residents. Understanding Fair Housing laws and the rights of individuals with hoarding disorders is crucial in order to provide appropriate accommodations and support. 

By working with hoarders and mental health professionals, property owners can create an environment that supports hoarders’ recovery while also maintaining the safety and compliance of the property.

Want to learn more about how to protect your company from Fair Housing complaints? Check out our Fair Housing Courses and talk to our multifamily experts today!

Grace Hill’s marketing content team aims to create informative resources that help multifamily and commercial industry professionals elevate their performance. From blog posts and ebooks to infographics, checklists and webinars, the Grace Hill team has a singular focus: creating meaningful and engaging content that resonates with real estate professionals across the industry.  However, what makes Grace Hill so unique is the range of collective experience and collaborative spirit of its marketing content team. A group of talented writers with expertise in the real estate industry, overall management effectiveness, marketing strategy, and operational efficiency, the team provides new ideas to take performance to the next level. As a thought leader, Grace Hill's content team constantly pushes the envelope, experimenting with new resources and tools to keep industry professionals ahead of the curve.  Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out in the real estate industry, the content team at Grace Hill is creating resources to help you succeed. Learn more about Grace Hill on LinkedIn.

Learn More About The Author

Scroll to Top