Hoarding issues? - 'we can help'
Published: 5 June 2019
Help is at hand for council house tenants who are having issues with hoarding.
We are planning to introduce a new policy for dealing with hoarding in our properties. The report will go before People Scrutiny Committee on Thursday (6 June).
The report highlights how excessive hoarding can contribute to health and safety issues including risk of fire and blocking of escape routes as well as contributing to underlying stress-related mental health problems.
Cllr Laura Wright, Lead Councillor for Housing Development and Services, said: “Excessive hording has to be dealt with sensitively. Hoarding is a recognised mental health problem which affects an estimated 2-5% of the UK population. However, hoarding can present a high risk of fire, personal injury and damage to our properties. It can also affect neighbouring households. We have a duty to ensure the safety of our residents and of neighbouring households, wherever possible.”
Many people collect items at some point throughout their life, however, there are some people for whom collecting becomes an unmanageable pattern of behaviour. If a tenant is having difficulties dealing with hoarding, the housing team can work with them to plan and manage their own clearance or engage with an organisation to assist.
While carrying out regular property and tenancy inspections, officers have identified hoarding to various degrees. There are currently 48 live cases being addressed with tenants, of which six are assessed as having significant levels of hoarding where intense housing management is needed.
Cllr Wright said that engaging tenants in managing a hoarding problem effectively with support from other agencies is the best outcome but if tenants were unwilling to help tackle the issue and if it was representing a hazard, tenants could be evicted from the property as a last resort.
“Eviction would be the last resort under the new policy, only if all other avenues had been exhausted,” stressed Cllr Wright.
The report says how an enforcement only approach can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety as well as the tenant continuing to hoard or increase their behaviour. It can also lead to a lack of trust and engagement with housing staff in the future.
The report says how introducing a new policy would give the housing team clear guidelines and an understanding of how to tackle issues of hoarding on a day to day basis.