Property Management Trends in 2012: Part 1 – Hoarding


Property Management Insider is looking back at the multifamily industry trends of 2012 and how they could affect the industry in 2013.

Hoarding was unquestionably a property management trend in 2012. Conference sessions, association meetings, blog articles, and lunch conversations between industry peers were consumed by this rapidly growing issue in the U.S. Understanding hoarding has been on several minds in the multifamily industry.

Hoarding presents an array of issues for apartment owners. Extreme cases are not only a distraction to the property but endanger the hoarder and others. Property owners must walk the fine line between maintaining a safe, livable environment for all while not impeding upon the rights of those who are considered hoarders. Handling with kid-gloves, in most instances, is much advised rather than swinging a heavy axe.

The “Epidemic of Hoarding” presented by the law firm of Kimball, Tirey & St. John played to two full houses in June at the National Apartment Association’s annual conference in Boston. Attendees wanted to know more about the condition, which is being classified in the same category as mental and psychological issues. Hoarding, say the industry’s legal watchdogs, is not a protected class but should be treated with the same care under the federal protected class of “handicap/disability.”

This fall, the Dallas Apartment Association, in conjunction with the City of Dallas, hosted a well-attended training session for member properties on how to handle hoarding at apartment properties. The event drew the attention of local media, which chronicled a Dallas resident who was too embarrassed to report a broken heater during a cold snap. She feared that maintenance workers wouldn’t be able to get into the apartment, which she had occupied for 24 years, because it was jammed with so much stuff.

Apartment associations and housing authorities are arming themselves with fact sheets about how to handle hoarders. Questions are being asked, advice is being sought. One fact is known, and that is resolving a hoarding issue takes time – most often many months.

As this “dirty little secret” continues to develop, property owners will continue to deal with hoarding in 2013 and likely much, much longer.

What’s your take?

The issue of hoarding is clearly becoming more visible. How are you educating your apartment community managers and staff to recognize the signs of, and deal with, a hoarder?

Hoarding Articles on Property Management Insider:


Image: Wikimedia Commons



Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

author photo two

Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

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