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Hoarding: When Clutter Goes Too Far

Deborah Howden
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Article Summary: 

Addresses the challenges that condominium communities face when dealing with residents who have hoarding disorder. Hoarding disorder is a condition in which individuals accumulate excessive items in a chaotic manner and have difficulty parting with them. The disorder constitutes a disability under the Ontario Human Rights Code, entitling individuals with hoarding disorder to certain protections. Condominiums need to differentiate between mere clutter and dangerous clutter, as the latter poses safety risks and may breach the Fire Code. Independent of a fire hazard, any clutter that endangers property, occupants, residents, workers, or guests triggers the obligation to remedy the unsafe condition. Accommodation obligations arise if it's obvious or should be apparent to the corporation that an owner or tenant requires accommodation due to a disability, such as hoarding disorder. Corporations must adjust rules and processes to accommodate hoarders up to the point of undue hardship. Accommodation measures can include creating action plans, involving mental health professionals, identifying support resources, and arranging clutter removal. Legal counsel should be consulted for appropriate accommodation efforts. Hoarding cases are unique, and while accommodation efforts are crucial, hoarding is not compatible with condominium living and must be addressed promptly to maintain a safe environment for all residents.


hoarding disorder, mental health, condominium communities, accommodation obligations, dangerous clutter, safety risks, Fire Code, undue hardship, support resources, legal counsel, unique cases.

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Deborah Howden
Hoarding: When Clutter Goes Too Far
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