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Inheriting a Hoarder House: Treasure Trove or Terrifying Task?

Inheriting a Hoarder HouseIt is hard for most people to understand how a person could live surrounded by piles of boxes, clothing, electronics, animals, furniture, trash and other debris with blocked access to bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) up to 5% of the world population displays clinical hoarding. In fact, there are an estimated 1.2 million people in the United States who suffer from compulsive hoarding.

Sometimes the family members of hoarders are unaware of this behavior…until they inherit the hoarder’s house.

Being presented with a house that is stuffed with items from floor to ceiling is a daunting task. And if you do not live near the house, the time and effort it will take to clean it yourself may simply be impossible.

If you find yourself in this position, you do have options:

  1. Disclaim the inheritance. If there are no other inheritors who want the property, it will go to the state but you will lose any money that is earned from the sale of the house.
  2. Hire a company to get rid of the items in the house, clean it and sell or rent the property.
  3. Take the time to go through the house to identify any valuable items to sell or keep.
  4. Have a public auction or estate sale on site (advertise that it is a hoarder’s house) and throw out everything that doesn’t sell.
  5. Try to sell the house as-is. Some people will welcome going through a hoarder’s house to find those hidden treasures.
  6. Have the house demolished.

In many cases the house may be filled with bio-hazards, so make sure that you take measures to protect your safety as you clean the house.

If you have recently inherited a hoarder house in Denver and need legal advice, the estate administration lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC can help you decide the best course of action. Contact us today at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online.