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  • Legal FAQs

    Hoarder tenant - can I give notice?

    i have a woman renting a room in one of my HMOs who despite my requests is a hoarder.

    She has a double bed and an en-suite and her room was so packed that she had a little strip of the bed to sleep in and the other half was packed with boxes and bags from bed to ceiling. You can’t access sockets, the en-suite shower is not used as a shower as it’s full of boxes etc.

    Ive offered her the lift and the shed in order that she clears out her stuff. Neither have been used. She got rid of some stuff so she can sleep in the bed but it’s starting to creep back in. I’ve offered to provide a cleaner/sorter to help her.

    So despite her removing some stuff to the point where I said it was ok (but still not like a bedroom, more of a store room) I had to go into her room today with a carpenter for something else and the shower is back to being full of stuff, the room stinks and is just generally unacceptable.

    I wrote to her to say that I want her to clear out her stuff and get her room to the standard of the other rooms in the house but she keeps challenging it saying it’s better than it was, there is nowhere else to put her worldly possessions etc.

    What can can I do? She pays her rent on time and gives me no other problems.

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    It depends. If she is causing a nuisance then you can give notice under Ground 14. It will be a discretionary ground though, so you will need to show that this is causing you problems.

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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

    I simpathise with your plight in an HMO this is really a nightmare

    I have had hoarders but in a flat Not HMO and it was annoying to see the rubbish mount up

    But when she left I just got a guy in with a skip and had it removed so it was an easy fix no harm done

    but yours is a different kettle of fish

    best of luck

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    Learn Change and Adapt ?????

    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.


    Not having access to sockets sounds an issue to me. If something was plugged in and forgotten, there may be combustibles very close by?

    I'm sure an HMO inspector would not like what they see? Probably best to contact the NLA/RLA, whichever you're a member of, and find out what they have to say?

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    We have a video on this topic, recorded with John Stewart from the RLA:

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    Thank you all for your kind responses. I will keep you posted.

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    It would irk me as well as I am a minimalist but let me play Devils Advocate for a bit

    Hoarding Disorder is a recognised mental health condition and should be treated as such

    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hoarding-disorder/

    I have had hoarders as tenants and also in my family

    I bought 2 sheds and used 3 garages to contain it

    As  a minimalist it does yes grate on the nerves

    I`m sure my minimalist nature also grates on other people nerves

    The fact that it as even  grates on their nerves grates on my nerves

    So I let tend to let hoarders get on with it as its their life . I may signpost them to get help

    If I intervene with a tenant who is a hoarder  I might make it worse,  especially as there are likely to be other associated mental health disorders associated with the hoarding and the hoarding is just a visible manifestation of these other disorders. What you see as helping which i can see you are trying to do may unconsciously make her anxiety / depression etc worse as you are seen as an interfering busy body etc etc . So I would focus on the practical health and safety which affects you in your role as a LL and even though your intentions are entirely honourable hand the other bit over to the medics.

    You say you want it to the same standard as other rooms .

    What does that mean exactly I wonder .  You are setting that standard .

    Its a personal standard which is fine but not an industry standard

    So you have to look at your own standards and determine as best as you can where you sit on the sliding scale between the extremes.

    There is no right or wrong of course just self awareness

    Imagine you were yourself a bit of a hoarder and the  tenant was more of a minimalist

    Would you be saying to her  - your room  looks far too bare ,cold and soulless

    I want some artefacts on the shelves and warm pictures on the wall and some flowers etc 

    Would she then perhaps say  -

    Why on earth would i want those  -these are just  materialist possessions we just dont need and this is why people are so messed up. She may have a point

    You may say - Let me take you to the shops and we can buy some stuff to brighten it up etc

     So we all have different lifestyles 

    So I try to detach myself from the  superficial snapshot and concentrate on the health and safety legalities

    1) Her mental health - signpost to professionals as if I dabble i may get it wrong and cause harm

    2) Fire risk - can she exit the property/ plug sockets covered -  fire service to do a free assessment 

    3) Smell - is this personal hygiene/ damp / sewage / waste food - Get EHO in to advise .

    She pays her rent on time so i would say give her help not give her notice

    If after that help you could still be liable to prosecution on health and safety then you have grounds to evict

    But I find  what is `generally acceptable` to others is sometimes `generally unacceptable` to me

    And vice versa of course



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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com