Co-op board learns hoarding is a mental disorder

A shareholder of our small self-managed cooperative is in his 80s and has dementia. Due to its hoarding, the building is now infested with cockroaches. At significant cost to the co-op, we fumigated the building; we also packed and removed items from his unit, fumigated them and returned them to him. New clutter has accumulated and the cockroach problem continues. We reached out to her adult children, hoping they could help, but they didn’t. What are our options?

Palisade is a mental disorder that may be linked to dementia, answers the Ask Real Estate column in The New York Times. In cities, where neighbors live in crowded buildings and share walls and hallways, this is often a problem that affects the well-being of others. But residents are entitled to safe and livable living conditions, despite their neighbour’s mental health problems. So far, you and your co-op have done the right thing — you’ve tried to contact the family and sorted out the sanitation issues. As a next step, you should become more energetic with his family. If that doesn’t work, get the courts involved.

“Although it may seem heavy-handed, the right path is to issue a Notice of Default,” said David Kaminskylaw firm director David A. Kaminsky & Associates. The board must send the notice to the shareholder and his family members, explaining that he is in default of owner lease because his behavior created a nuisance and disturbed the other shareholders.

Her family may be ignoring your calls because they are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. “Even if the family will clean the place up, the person will create the same condition in a few days,” Kaminsky says. “I saw it coming.”

The council could also call Adult Protective Services, alerting the agency to the situation and asking for advice.

If none of that works, exercise the nuclear option by terminating his lease and taking him housing court. Your end goal is not to evict an elderly man with dementia, but to force the courts to help him get the help he needs. “Courts are very reluctant to cause an eviction” in this kind of situation, Kaminsky says. “It only happens in extreme cases. They absolutely do not want that to happen.

In all likelihood, the court will appoint a guardian to assist your neighbour, and other social services will also be involved. Again, the goal is to help a person who suffers from a mental disorder.

Comments are closed.