When’s the last time you thought about your neighbors? Most people don’t put much consideration into their neighbors when purchasing a house or condo. The truth is, who you live next to and across from in your building can directly affect your living situation.
This is especially true when it comes to condo living. With all of the residents living in a more confined space than a single-family home, who your neighbors are and what they do becomes even more important. Things like hoarding in your HOA can significantly affect your daily living situation. In addition, hoarding situations can also affect your property’s value.
So, what can you do about hoarding in your HOA?
While it’s true the actions of others are outside our control, there are some steps you can take to make sure your investment is protected. Learn how you can address a hoarder situation in your HOA in the article below. Read along with us until the end, and you’ll have some actionable steps you can take to make life in your condo a little easier.
The Risks of Hoarding
There’s no denying that hoarding is a mental disease. It can be a symptom of someone who is stuck in a bad place. While it’s a tragedy, it doesn’t change the fact that it can be potentially dangerous for the people around them.
Condos don’t offer the same “breathing room” that single-family homes do. If you’re dealing with hoarding in your HOA, you’re in much more danger than someone dealing with a hoarder a house or two over on their residential street. Let’s take a look at some of these risks down below.
Hoarding Makes Fires More Dangerous
The biggest risk of hoarding in your HOA is the fire risk. Condo units that are full of junk give fires a chance to spread more rapidly. It also makes it hard for firefighters to do their job.
Fires cause enough chaos on the scene. The flames and smoke already make it difficult for first responders to do their job. Having to worry about tripping over boxes, piles of papers, and other debris only makes it more difficult for them to keep you safe.
Hoarding Invites Pest Infestations
In addition to fires, hoarding situations can bring about pest infestations. In some cases of hoarding, people hold on to half-empty food containers. This waste lying around can be a breeding ground for pests like ants, roaches, and rats.
Eventually, when these animals have nowhere left to go, they can creep over into the neighboring units. It can be frustrating to suddenly have to deal with pests when you’re doing your best to keep your unit clean. Also, if a neighbor who’s hoarding doesn’t do what they can to clean up their unit, your pest problem may continue to come back.
Debris Can Be An Eyesore
One of the more obvious risks of hoarding is visible debris. Hoarders have a problem with throwing anything away. As a result, their collection of debris will eventually outgrow their condo unit.
Where does the debris go when that happens?
Well, it’s more than likely that it will end up being stored in visible locations around your building. It can be frustrating and put you in a foul mood to have to stare at the debris on the way to your unit every day.
The debris piled up outside the neighboring unit can also decrease your unit’s property value. This can be especially problematic if you’re looking to sell your unit any time soon.
Condo Units Can Develop Mold Issues
Hoarding in condo units can result in major mold issues. Much like pest infestations, mold can be very hazardous to residents’ health. If a black mold infestation occurs, it can be potentially fatal. The mold spores are dangerous enough for the person doing the hoarding. But, what makes it more of a problem for neighbors is the fact that it can spread.
Because of the proximity of condo units, mold infestations can spread to the unit next door through the vents and walls. This condo unit is your home. It’s also an investment. You shouldn’t have to deal with waking up one day to a surprise mold infestation. You’ve worked too hard.
Preventing Hoarding In Your HOA
So, what do you do? Like we said in our intro, it’s hard to govern the actions of others, especially when they’re adults that own their own condo unit. Fortunately, as a condo resident, you can use the HOA to your advantage.
Every HOA has written rules which residents need to follow. These are typically referred to as DC&Rs or Deed Covenants and Restrictions. They will outline many aspects of community life. One of the things they’ll outline is the appropriate condition of your condo unit. The HOA will tell you that your lawn and unit need to be kept up, and your front yard needs to be kept free of debris.
Depending on the HOA, they may even get as detailed as governing the color of paint you use on the outside of your unit. When dealing with hoarding in your HOA, you should look at your copy of the HOA guidelines. There may be verbiage in there that allows the HOA to investigate and take appropriate action against any neighbors who are hoarding.
You can usually find these types of guidelines in the sections of your HOA documents that discuss the safety of other residents. There may even be provisions that allow your HOA to inspect the premises or take more aggressive actions.
Although your safety is at risk, it’s also important to be compassionate toward the hoarding resident. Start with the least intrusive solution. If nothing is getting done, then you can start to pursue more aggressive remedies.
If you’re dealing with hoarding in your HOA it’s important to know your rights as a resident. There are steps you can take to improve your living situation. If you’re living in an HOA that’s dealing with a hoarding issue, Spaulding Decon can help. Contact us today for more information on how our skilled team can provide your HOA community with hoarding remediation services.
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