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Dealing with a hoarder tenant

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We have a tenant who is renting out a room in a shared flat. She is very nice, pays her rent on time and has been living there for a number of years. She has always had a very messy room, but over the last year or two it has got a lot worse and it seems clear that she is a hoarder. There are piles of clothes all over the room mountain high, just crumpled up not folded, a lot of empty cereal boxes, and other pointless objects which is clear she does not use. There is no order, she literally just chucks things onto piles. It's impossible to walk anywhere in the room without stepping on something.

Anyway the concern is now a matter of health and safety, there is extensive mould over some of the walls, and this week when we had to enter her room to do maintenance work to the radiator (which took an hour to get to, to clear a path) we discovered that there are now mice in her room (no where else in the flat). My father who was there for the maintenance work said that after 15 minutes in there he felt unwell.

We have brought up the issue of the state of the room in the past in conversation but never "formally" discussed it. However on discovery of the mould (which was mostly hidden by her stuff) and the mice, it's clear something needs to be done. As I understand it she is responsible for looking after the room, however when it comes to health and safety I am not sure where the responsibility lies and before opening a formal discussion with her I want to be clear on what the law says in the context of this issue. I have no issue taking responsibility and taking action, but I want to have the correct knowledge when approaching her.

Any advice very much welcome!

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22/10/2012 00:00

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