Risks of Hoarding and Hoarding Cleaning Interventions

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Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with a hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. In many cases, this results in hazardous health conditions, fire, and safety risks.


Hoarding may begin with the accumulation of belongings resulting in cramped living conditions that become impossible to clean and sanitize but the consequences do not end there. The growth of bacteria, pest infestations, and biological decomposition are serious health risks for residents and anyone entering the premises. Older adults living in hoarding conditions reported significantly more health issues. Some of the health conditions that may result from hoarding are lung conditions, hematological conditions, frequent infections, increase risk of falls and head injuries, and more.


When the conditions become extreme then not only it is a risk for the hoarder but it becomes a risk for the health and safety of the community. The property they live in is a fire and safety hazard and pest infestations can spread to other properties and can become difficult to eradicate. In a 2015 article in The Atlantic about how hoarding is making firefighting harder, the author wrote that the firefighters she spoke with were finding “hoarding conditions” in “about 25 percent of the homes they enter.”


In Toronto a landlord can file for an N5 Notice to terminate a tenancy early due to property damage and overcrowding that can result from hoarding. The city can also declare the property a fire or health hazard for the community which may result in fines and evacuation of the property until the risks are resolved.


Hoarding cleaning interventions are the one thing that can help resolve both city violations and N5 notices and allow the individuals to continue living in their home or rental.


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Hoarding cleaning includes junk removal, gross filth cleanup, degreasing, odor removal, disinfection and decontamination of the property. The main goal is to restore the property and resolve any city code violations. A hoarding cleaning intervention will not only allow individuals to continue leaving at their home but will also improve their health and protect them from falls, infections and pest infestations.


In some cases the city of Toronto will provide funding for hoarding cleaning services, depending on age, mental health, addictions and severity of hoarding conditions. For information and resources visit https://www.torontohoardingnetwork.ca/


Trax Restoration offers discreet and compassionate hoarding cleaning services and has been working with family members, social workers, lawyers, mental health professionals, landlords, and property managers. We provide an on-site assessment and quote, give us a call today at 905-882-3141.