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When Hoarders Abandon

Sometimes foreclosures come with bonus super surprise gifts – like years of accumulated trash. When hoarders abandon a unit (hey, they suffer financial hardship as well) to a foreclosure, by the condominium corporation or the bank, the nearby residents often get the bonus of smell and vermin as parting last words.

At some point the condominium will use by-laws (almost every condominium has these) regarding smells, health, and safety to enter the unit and have all the trash removed. If the property has a mortgage, or the bank has possession, in most cases the costs of cleanup will be paid by the bank. Because outstanding fees imposed by the condominium on the unit need to be paid before sale, there is a pocket to pull the cash from.

In the case of a foreclosure by the condominium on a mortgage less unit, the banks will usually award costs and allow the condominium to collect out of the proceeds of sale.

One response to “When Hoarders Abandon

  1. Chris Jaglowitz (@chrisjaglowitz) 13 December, 2011 at 7:15 am

    This is the easiest scenario going. Where a unit is abandoned, the condo simply does whatever work needs to be done and charges back the cost to the unit. It’s the same as for grow-ops.

    The banks are usually relieved that the condo does the work for them, as the condos are able to do a better job and for a lower cost, and the banks are then able to say to a complaining mortgagee that: “Our hands were tied. The condo had first right to do the work.”

    Also, it’s rare that a hoarder actually abandons their unit. They often fight until the bitter end, destroying their equity in the home in the process and making life hell for their neighbours, as you correctly point out.

    After watching TV shows like “Hoarders” and “Intervention”, it seems to me that families need to use the tough love approach to help their loved ones get treatment and get their acts together before the person loses everything because of this illness. It’s heartbreaking to see someone’s life’s work and savings go up in a puff on account of this disease. If families are unable to get through to their loved ones, then they can be sure that that the worst case scenario is likely to happen. As a lawyer acting for the condo corporations, we do whatever we can to make contact with the families, advise them of the utterly devastating consequences that will arise, and then plead for them to break through to their family member and convince them to shape up. Very often, the families are already exasperated and will eventually tell us to do whatever has to be done as they have exhausted their influence and have reached the end of what they can accomplish. While I often ask myself whether these families have actually done whatever they can, it’s not my place to judge and I sleep with a clear conscience knowing that we’ve done whatever we can at our end.

    Thanks for shining the light on this issue. Cases like this seem to be occurring more and more frequently.

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