Atlanta Resident Facing a Hoarding Cleanup Notice

If your property in Atlanta is a mess and you’ve just received a hoarding cleanup notice to be done by a certain date or face legal proceedings, what do you do? Perhaps you have just inherited property, are renting a house or apartment, or own your own home and have just received a hoarding cleanup notice from the city of Atlanta to clean it up. No matter how the property has come to be in this condition, you are faced with a lot of material to clean up in a short amount of time before legal action will be taken. You are not alone in this situation however. Many people put off cleaning up their hoarded property until formally ordered to do so.

Hoarding While Renting an apartment or house in Atlanta

Legally, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for hoarding alone. Hoarding is now legally considered a mental disorder and anyone formally diagnosed by a medical professional cannot be evicted for hoarding under the Fair Housing Act which prevents discrimination when renting out property. However, if a tenant’s hoarding is doing damage to the property, increases the risk of fire, or is affecting the quality of life for other tenants, a landlord can evict someone for the damage hoarding can cause. Such damage can include:

  • blocking emergency exits
  • storing dangerous or explosive material
  • damaging the ventilation system, fire alarms, or sprinkler systems
  • damaging the property
  • housing animals in a manner against the lease agreement
  • storing perishable food in a way that attracts pests or mold

If an Atlanta landlord suspects a tenant is causing damage to the property via hoarding or otherwise, they can notify the tenant they will be inspecting the property on a certain date. If they find damage or potential damage during that inspection, the landlord will typically give a tenant a specified amount of time to remedy the situation before beginning legal proceedings to evict them. If a tenant does not clean up the property in that timeframe, then a landlord is able to give them final notice to move out.

Atlanta city orders hoarder cleanup notices

If a person owns their own home, the city can order a hoarder cleanup notice giving the property owner a certain number of days to rectify the situation or face heavy fines or other legal action including the condemning of their property. At the end of that time, if a person is able to show they have made a concerted effort to clean up their property, the timeline to clean up the property fully may be extended. If no such effort is made, the city is legally able to take official action against the property owner such as declaring the property uninhabitable. The specific proceedings and consequences depends of the rules and regulations of your local city ordinances.

Cleaning up the hoarder property – a solution

No matter who ultimately owns the hoarder property, if you have been served a hoarding cleanup notice, you need to do so in a short amount of time. Aside from digging in and doing it yourself, a real struggle that can take a lot of time if you’re the one who lives there, a much faster and more efficient solution is to hire a property cleanup company to come help you out.

Whether indoors or outdoors, a hoarder cleanup company can be the solution you need. Not only can you get help with a seemingly overwhelming problem, but a hoarder cleanup company can respond immediately whenever you call and provide fast service. Among many other service options, a property cleanup company can:

  • remove trash and recycling
  • donate unwanted items
  • clean out urine, feces, and other hazards
  • deep clean the house or apartment
  • remove odor
  • find lost valuables

A good hoarding cleanup company will always be respectful of you and your property as they help you thoroughly clean things out and put the property to right. When they are done, your property will be cleaned quicker than you ever thought possible and you will be in compliance with your landlord or city’s regulations.

We’re here to answer any questions

If you have any questions about hoarding cleanup services or want to talk about your specific situation, give us a call at 770-766-4562 and we’ll be happy to help.

What Do I Do with a Hoarder Home After an Unattended Death?

It’s difficult to lose a loved one when they die. Even more difficult is when the person died unattended in the midst of a hoard and you are the executor of the estate left to clean it up.
When a person hoards belongings, the house and property gradually becomes overwhelmed with items and/or garbage, making it difficult for people to move around the home safely. There are often small, narrow pathways through the hoarder home, if any, with items precariously balanced on either side. These small passageways make it difficult for people to get out of the house if they are having health problems and nearly impossible for first responders to get in. Combine that with the lack of sanitation and working plumbing in many hoarders’ homes and the fact that hoarders rarely, if ever have people over, and you have many hoarders who die unattended with their bodies being left undiscovered for weeks, months, even years.

When you’re the executor of the hoarder’s estate and the one left to deal with cleaning up the hoarder home along with the bio hazards left over from their unattended death, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Call the Home Insurance Company

Most home insurance companies will pay to clean up any damage from the unattended body along with any damages to the house when removing your loved one. This can include anything the body and bodily fluids touched as it decomposed as well as items in the home impacted by decomposition odor . Coverage will change depending on the insurance company so make sure you know what your coverage is and take full advantage of all services offered.

Don’t Clean It Up Yourself

When an unattended death occurs, anything the decomposing body touches is automatically labeled a biohazard and thus, medical waste. To dispose bio waste requires adherence to all state and federal regulations. Add to this the threat of blood-borne pathogens, viruses, and bacteria, let alone the emotional implications, calling a professional cleaning company trained in dealing with biohazards to at least clean out that area of the hoarded home can be vital to your health.

Tips on Cleaning Out the Hoarder Home

After the body is removed from the property, it’s up to the executor of the estate to restore the home to a safe and healthy condition. Here’s some tips to get you started:

  • Create a list of valuable and treasured mementoes: Write out a thorough list of anything you want people to look for while cleaning out the hoard (photographs, jewelry, important papers, family heirlooms). Make copies and distribute them to everyone helping you.
  • Wear protective gear: Depending on the severity and type of hoard, it’s vitally important to wear personal protective gear and a respirator to protect yourself and anyone helping. This is especially true in the case of an unattended death as the smell will have permeated the hoard.
  • Don’t sort through it all yourself: Losing a loved one is hard enough. Having to go through their hoard by yourself can take months, even years. Instead of putting your life on hold to deal with the property, hire a cleanup company with hoarding cleanout experience. They will look for your valuables, donate what they can, clean out the rest, and some even restore the property before you put it on the market. Even if you can only afford to hire a company for a part of the cleanout, speeding up the process in this way is well-worth it.
  • Exercise caution: When sorting through a hoarder’s home, you never know what hazards you’re going to find. Between animals, pests, urine, feces, rotten food, and medical paraphernalia, exercise extreme caution when moving around.
  • Sort into three piles: Starting with one room at a time, sort your loved one’s hoard into three piles: garbage, donate, and potentially keep. Place all items you may want to keep in one place to go through later. Remember, things you wanted may be unsalvageable and need to be thrown away.
  • Take breaks: Be aware of the emotional and physical implications of such a task and take breaks as needed. You can even set your phone to remind you.
    Remember as you’re dealing with your loved one’s death and taking care of cleaning out their property to take care of yourself. It can be easy to put your own life on hold as you deal with their estate but remember to step back and do the things that give you joy.

Call a Professional Biohazard and Hoarding Cleanup Company

When faced with this type of a situation, call a professional biohazard and hoarding cleanup company. A high quality company will have extensive experience in biohazard and hoarding cleanup and can provide you with the knowledge you need to move forward. A reputable company will offer give you information over the phone as well as go out to the property and provide you with a free estimate. They can help you discern what will be covered under the insurance and what may not be. Undiscovered death combined with a hoarding cleanup situation can be overwhelming. Let the professionals help.

If you have any questions about our unattended death cleanup and/or hoarding and clutter cleanup services, call us 24/7 at 770-766-4562 and we’ll be happy to help.

4 Types of Hoarding Cleanup Companies

With our culture of buying items we don’t need, it’s no surprise some people accumulate a lot of unnecessary objects in their homes. Most of us can name several things off the top of our heads that we no longer use yet still have. Among us, though, are people who accumulate a large amount of belongings without throwing anything away. This disorder is called “hoarding” and is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.”

As a way to help with the cleanup of a hoarder’s home, several types of businesses have developed services to clean and sort out the vast accumulation of items. These services range from simply removing and recycling the unwanted items to providing a professional organizer who walks with the client through the cleanout process and helps them deal with the remainders. While some companies offer all these different services, others may only offer one or two.

To help you decide what services you need, here are four kinds of hoarding cleanup services commonly offered:

Junk Removal

Junk removal companies arrive with a large truck and take away whatever items you point to. This can include appliances, furniture, electronics, building material, and mattresses, among many other things. Some will even sweep the area for you when finished. Many of these companies place an emphasis on responsibly recycling or donating whenever possible.

What these companies are not equipped for is dealing with bio hazardous material such as animal waste, human waste, and any human remains as they are not trained to deal with dangerous material and don’t wear personal protective equipment.

Clutter Cleanup

A clutter cleanup company takes time to get to know the client’s specific needs and will check with the client before throwing individual items away. Like a junk removal company, they are not equipped for dangerous material but are more hands-on in helping get unneeded items into bags and boxes before removal. These types of companies also dispose of anything that’s not wanted—recycling and donating whenever possible.

Professional Organizer

A professional organizer walks with the client through the cleanup experience and has often had training in psychology and organization. They help the client decide what to keep and what to discard along with helping them find valuable items and legal documents. Once all the unwanted items have been removed, a professional organizer will work with the client on how to straighten and organize the remaining items as well as providing follow up services to help the client develop new habits.

Typically, a professional organizer works alongside a clutter cleanup, junk removal or hoarding cleanup company and does not remove the items themselves. Their work is mainly in working directly with the client.

Hoarding Cleanup

A hoarding cleanup company often provides any or all of the above services with the addition of dealing with hazardous material and will thoroughly clean the area afterwards. These companies will come in and remove all items to discard as well as cleaning any remaining items and the surrounding area. The staff usually wear personal protective equipment and are equipped to handle animal waste, human waste, and any other dangerous items such as needles, bio hazardous waste, and chemicals. If the client wants a professional organizer as well, they can often supply one or provide a referral for one they work with regularly.

What Kind of Hoarding Cleanup Company Do You Need?

Before you call a company to help you clean up a hoarding situation, think about what items need to be discarded, how well separated they are from items to be kept, and if there are any dangerous materials or bio hazardous waste to be disposed of. You will also want to consider what emotional support or organizational help you may need throughout the process.
After you’ve answered these questions for yourself, research local companies and make sure the company you call provides these services and is a good match to your needs.

If you have any questions about our hoarding and clutter cleanup services, call us 24/7 at 770-766-4562 and we’ll be happy to help.