HOA wants to inspect homes of people suspected of hoarding – By CLAIRE WEBB – THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Geat article !!!

LAGUNA WOODS – Residents in Laguna Woods Village’s largest homeowners association who are suspected of having excessive clutter in their homes could be compelled to allow the HOA to inspect their homes for hoarding and to remove the clutter under a new policy.

The United Mutual board gave initial approval last week to a policy that prohibits hoarding in the association’s 6,323 units. The board would rely on residents to report those suspected of hoarding, after which an inspection would be ordered, according to the policy.

What is clutter?

According to the HOA policy, clutter could be large quantities of books, magazines, broken appliances, furniture, rotten food, human waste and clothing kept in a disorganized manner.

The HOA board can choose to report the clutter to local law enforcement, the fire department or health and safety officials, the policy states.

The policy is aimed at preventing safety hazards and protecting HOA property. In United Mutual, residents are part of a corporation, which owns all real property such as the residential units and carports.

“It’s a question of whether the property is being damaged. Our fiduciary duty is to take care of the property,” United Mutual board president Gail McNulty said. “Our whole job is to make sure that United stays as healthy as it can.”

Marcia Wilson, manager of the Social Services Department in Laguna Woods Village, said the department typically follows up on two to three reports of hoarding each month.

“It’s a growing problem,” Wilson said. “It’s putting everybody at risk. They don’t need this stuff, but it gives them peace of mind.”

Hoarding is the failure to discard a large number of possessions that appear to be useless and take up living spaces that can’t be used because of clutter, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency’s task force on hoarding.

Once a hoarding complaint is filed, an inspection could be ordered. The board must get residents’ permission to enter units. Residents who refuse inspections will be called before the board for a disciplinary hearing.

If the board determines the hoarding policy has been violated, the resident would have 15 days to remove the clutter. If a resident refuses, the board could seek a court order to force the resident to remove the clutter, fine the resident, suspend the resident’s privileges in the community or proceed with eviction.

The policy requires a final vote in February before it goes into effect.


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