At Griswold Law, we are exposed to challenging hoarding conditions on a daily basis. It is our job as the court-appointed health & safety receiver to remedy the effects of extreme hoarding at residential properties across the State of California.
By the time a hoarding situation is in front of us, countless attempts at addressing the condition have failed. A city ultimately brings a lawsuit against the affected property’s owner and seeks the appointment by the court of a neutral third party receiver to take control of the property and remedy the conditions. The physical labor of moving items out of the house for storage, recycling or garbage, cleaning the property, and addressing any property system deficiencies is arguably the easy part. The challenge is establishing a working relationship with the occupant, gaining the occupant’s trust, and creating a team of people with a common goal. Ideally, the “team” would consist of concerned family members, organizational counselors, an experienced contractor and crew and a project manager charting the course.
Our scope of duties as the court-appointed receiver in hoarding situations is limited in that the appointment order focuses on the physical condition of the subject property. Once the property conditions are rehabilitated, our job is essentially complete–save for other administrative responsibilities. However, on a practical level, potentially the most important step is yet to come. Our hope is that the receivership process triggers a long-term active role played by family members, friends, neighbors and community advocates to aid the occupant as he or she deals with the challenging mental condition of hoarding. To that end, we take a hands-on approach during the last phase of a hoarding receivership to ensure the occupant has the resources, tools and plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle going forward.