The Renter's Guide

From time to time management will receive complaints, from tenants in their building, that one or more of their neighbours appears to have over loaded their unit with material things or sometimes even with animals.

The party that brings the complaint will request that management take immediate action against the tenant in question.  The party complaining is, of course, very concerned about the safety of the building and the health and safety of the other tenants. This type of situation is commonly called “Hoarding”.  Then there are similar situations whereby tenants are accumulating things in their unit and are not able to dispose of same, due to psychological conditions.

It is important for management to understand and be aware of the mental condition of the tenant(s) who are displaying this type of behaviour, as it may affect any actions that are taken by the landlord. This insight will help both the tenant in question and the landlord in trying to resolve the matter. Hoarding can be defined as "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (ODC)”.  People who suffer from this disorder are not normally aware of their problem.  They are not cognizant to what is useful and what is not, and therefore they become attached to items and it becomes difficult for them to dispose of them.  The mental state of hoarders is very different from clutterers.  Clutterers will fill up space in a disorderly fashion and then do not know how to deal with it.

It is not easy for the landlord to evict a tenant in this situation, even though one may argue that this behaviour may fall into one of the categories which allow the landlord to evict them, as they are clearly defined in the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.

If a tenant does not remedy a situation as noted in the Notice to Terminate a Tenancy, then the landlord can open an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board.  The board will then schedule a hearing. The notice of the date of the hearing will be sent to both the tenant and the landlord.  The tenant will then have the opportunity to present their position to the Board. If the tenant is found to have a psychological disorder, the tenant will be protected from eviction under the Ontario Human Rights Code, which forbids the discrimination of people who suffer from psychological conditions, and therefore cannot be evicted.   It is very important in such circumstances, that the management company keeps very detailed notes on every development.  It would also be very helpful and important that the management company, together with a health provider and the fire department, work together to try and resolve such circumstances without taking the eviction steps.

What is important to understand is that the biggest issue with hoarding is that hoarders do not see anything wrong with their collecting behaviour and very often do not have the insight of inconvenience they are causing to others. They do not realize that their accumulation of things is excessive or that it is putting others in jeopardy.

 

 

Shlomo Sharon is CEO of Taft Management Inc. and a member of CCI since 2002. Taft Management Inc. is an ACMO 2000 Certified Property Management Company and has been providing property management services since 1996. Visit the website www.taft-forward.com for further information or email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .