hoarding neighbor

izzieApril 15, 2008

This isn't a disaster of our own but a neighbor of my pparents. A few doors down from them lives a hoarder. They try to keep everything inside but it spills out onto their driveway. I have heard from a neighbor that he once burned a sofa in the backyard. They live in a suburban area with medium sized yards. They are a couple with 2 children both still in school, I think Jr and Sr. high. They think the husband is the hoarder, he works for a re-cycling business. The city won't do anything about it since it is private property and can't enter the house without a good reason. I am sure it is a fire hazard inside. There have been complaints when stuff is left outside, they seem to take care of it. The inside must be horrible. People have seen the two car garage opened at times and it is stuffed to the ceiling. Any suggestions on what can be done? I understand that people have problems with hoarding and it is a sickness. It seems they are nice enough people but what can be done? They (parents and other neighbors) have thought to call child protective services but no one wants to be responsible for children being removed if it came to that?

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I would call child protective services, and maybe from a payphone if I could so your parents (or whomever) information is not exposed. Those children could be living in a very unhealthy and unsafe environment. We had a similar situation in our neighborhood, and several people called. The state dept of children protective services forced the family to clean up (somewhat), and the children were not removed from the home.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 12:48PM
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I would mind my own business. Nothing posted indicates a special hazard for the children. Find some business of your own to attend to.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 3:50PM
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I would have to agree with the bus driver. I know that when children are removed from their homes they are put in foster homes if they are available. I have visited some of those foster homes. In spite of REaders Digest articles about wonderful foster parents--they aren't all wonderful.
In some neighborhoods, garages crammed with junk and/or made into living spaces are common. I wouldn't rush to consider that keeping junk equates to child abuse. However I can tell you that the Child Protective services can make a family's lives hell even when they have done nothing. Just remember what goes around comes around.
A touching faith in government agencies is great if you live in rural Iowa--the reality is that in many areas they are understaffed overworked and would prefer to spend their time going after people who really are beating and abusing children.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 4:20PM
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bus driver. Yes I agree with minding my own business. I guess I failed to mention that two neighbors are trying to sell their home, which is hard to do in this market. Their realtors have mentioned the collector house isnt helping. So the collectors problem is also the neighbors problem. One neighbor was in the house and said its not as bad as the garage but close, didn't elaborate. It must be a fire hazard. I doubt if anyone will do anything and I don't think I could for previously mentioned reasons. (heard of the "state taking kids away for really no reason) Thats why I mentioned the kids and why peole are relunctant to call a social service agency. I have suggested they send them a friendly letter. But the city has been by several times regarding outside stuff so I am sure they are aware they (the hoarder) have a problem.

Any helpful suggestions before anything bad happens?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 4:33PM
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You don't know they are hoarders. If he's in the repo or recycling business or something like that, he may well be keeping things to sell privately (with permission from whoever he got them from) and may routinely be recycling what he has at home. You can't decide on your own that he's got mental problems, or even that the kids are in jeopardy, not without some real evidence. If your parents are trying to sell their house, that's unfortunate, but it is a free country and all they can do is continue to keep their own place looking good.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 5:05PM
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Yes, I agree. I think the reason most of the neighbors have not done anything more that call the city regarding junk in driveway (backyard too) is because of the kids or at least not wanting to cause neighbor any harm. I doubt if anyone wants to see them taken away, and that is not the intent. I grew up in that neighborhood and everyone looked out for each other. I am just afraid someone is going to call eventually if they don't do something. Its been going on for at least 9 years and now some retirees are trying to sell their homes and its tough out there selling. Any marks against the homes and it makes it even more difficult. Neither choices are good, that is where the dilemma lies.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 5:10PM
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You might want to get some more information before dropping the subject altogether. Of course I'm not a fan of having children removed from the home. But I would be suspicious if they have animals (cats or dogs) in the home. Many of these hoarders do not clean up after their pets, i.e. have feces all over the home which is unhealthy for any human being to live with. Of course, I don't know for sure that's why I started my post with GET SOME MORE INFORMATION. I wish I knew where I read a very interesting thread about the children of hoarders (children who grew up and posted their thoughts). Hoarding is a mental illness and in many instances when the hoarder is "helped" with only a general cleaning they go right back to their hoarding ways. They need psychological help. Maybe you don't want to get involved in getting your neighbors psychological help but find out if they have multiple pets that seem to be neglected and any proof of city services not in place (trash & water, specifically). Some of the really sick ones urinate in containers spread throughout the home (sick, I know). Maybe it's not that bad but from what you post at least the man seems to have some hoarding tendencies. Fire hazards are the least of their worries, germs, rat and insect infestation cannot be far behind in a worse case scenario.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 8:58PM
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If they cleanup the outside when complaints are filed how does the inside of their home detract from sale of other homes. If the real estates is telling people about thme then she should be keeping her mouth shut.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 8:29AM
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if the "hoarder" does not see it as a problem, the HE does not have a problem. the folks wanting to sell may have one, but that is THEIR problem not his. unless there are local laws or HOA to deal with this, he is doing what is well within his rights on HIS OWN PRIVATE PROPERTY.

shut up and MYOB. i hate to be rude, but there is really nothing else to say about it.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 10:49AM
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As much as I normally advocate MYOB, it is not a good policy when children may be in danger. I will look for the forum of grown children of hoarders. They would be the first to tell you how living in squallor was abusive and neglectful. Some of what I read was absolutely outrageous. They prayed for intervention! The rest of the world did nothing.-

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 1:41PM
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I am an unabashed hoarder. When I started first grade, we were sharecropping tobacco. The school was the place where I first used a flushing toilet. My older child has only a BS degree, but finished at the top of her class in her health occupations curriculum and passed exams for her licensing in two fields of specialty- passed the first time. My younger son has BS and MS in engineering and is a Registered Professional Engineer. My wife has BS and MA degrees. Yes, do call some government agency about those poor children of hoarders. You can be sure that those people in that agency are anxious to justify the continued existence of their jobs. The head of that agency is anxious to expand his/her empire, just as Donald Trump is trying to expand his. Yes, that will increase your taxes. Yes, they can really change the lives of that family. Just suppose though, that nessie's insulting generalizations are wrong. What then?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 5:58PM
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Yeah, MYOB, you are right. I am just concerned with the talk about it. It is their property to do with what they like and I really don't know the people at all, never met them. I doubt my parents would call, they live a few houses down in back so it doesn't directly affect them and they dont have their house up for sale. It's just the talk about it in the neighborhood, calling and reporting to a social agency, it bothers me. I am not going to continue this but if anyone has a helpful suggestions I am willing to read it....but I am done with this.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 2:53PM
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I am providing an interesting link, from Children of Hoarders. Do a little bit of reading, and then come back and read the original post on this thread. Several things jumped out from that original post "it must be horrible in there" "I understand people have problems with hoarding and it is a sickness" "I'm sure it is a fire hazard inside" "they are a couple with two children both in school" "parents and other neighbors have thought to call child protective services but no one wants to be responsible."

You certainly can Mind Your Own Business. Sleep tight tonight!

Here is a link that might be useful: children of hoarders

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 5:13PM
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Those pictures are not indicative of what I call hoarding. And how does one equate the garage with bedrooms? My garage is cluttered, my bedroom is not.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 8:52AM
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let me guess, you recommend they take away the kids and put them in foster homes. what effect would that have on them mentally, i bet it would be MUCH worse than living in a house with a bunch of stuff.

there are legitmate medical issues for hoarding, but we are talking about the rare case were old folks have only small paths to walk thru their homes. just because someone colelcts a lot of stuff does not make the a "hoarder" inthe sense you are thinking.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 11:05AM
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You mention that "the inside must be horrible", so you've never seen inside the house, how can you make such a judgement? Because of the garage? A lot of people use their garages for nothing but storage. Just because they don't live the way you want them doesn't make them bad parents.
In fact my garage is full of storage and "shudder" hoarded items - shall I add my address so you can call child protection on me?

Get a grip.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 10:01PM
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Chances are izzie's hunch is right, though. I have the same situation next door. There is nothing you can do about it. Children involved, huge junkyard, no shades on windows and stuff piled up high against the windows. The town says it's their civil right to live like that if they want and there really is nothing we as bystanders can do about it. As a matter of fact, they could sue you for harassment. Just imagine the pickle you'd be in if that were to happen. It's a chance I will not take. I have my own children to look out for. We're removing ourselves from the whole situation and we will take a hit on the sale. But oh well.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 9:03AM
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I'm pulling this thread up because this subject is being discussed on the Organizing the Home forum. I thought possibly all the people who take the MYOB position might want to see the trailer to a movie done by a child of a hoarder.

Bus driver - you claim you are a hoarder. Is this the way you live? Or are you just a common variety pack rat?

Here is a link that might be useful: Movie Trailer: My Mother's Garden

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 6:06PM
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I have a hoarder living next door. Thank God she keeps everything in her garage and down here in Texas everyone has a 6 ft fence. She works all day and half the night. Her lawn was beginning to look bad so we asked her if she would like to go in on a bag of fertilizer/weed killer and my husband spread it for her. Now she loves us and feels good about her yard. For us all it took was a little reaching out. For the woman in the film - that's a sickness.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 12:02AM
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This isn't the first time DavidandKasie have been rude - I think it's more the norm than not. Apparently, D&K thinks this is a Jerry Springer forum that allows you to bash others for voicing their opinions.

I digress...

Have your parents introduced themselves to the owners? Why not try to get to know them before jumping to conclusions about what kind of parents they may be? They may be truly good hearted people, and you'll never know unless you take the time to get to know them first. They seem considerate enough if they take the time to clean up when neighbors complain about their "junk" lying around.

I can think of much worse things than a pack rat. Though we may not all agree with the lifestyle, it's better to accept people for who they are - faults and all, and don't assume that they are bad parents because they live differently than you or I. If the children are happy and healthy, then it's probably best to just let it be. I'm sure the school would have recognized any social or psychological issues with the children if there were any.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 9:44PM
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David and Kasie weren't being rude, just expressing their take on things, and they're right - it's one thing to be a clinically depressed 'hoarder' with OCD and a houseful of newspaper-wall påths, another to be an eccentric pack rat as many of us are, and the term hoarder should not be thrown around without more explanation... to me, a 'hoarder' is someone who buys out the grocery when some disaster is predicted, leaving nothing for anyone else!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 2:18AM
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kimcoco, i am not being rude. you think i have some personal vendetta against you or something jsut because in another thread i pointed out that you were wrong in an assumption. keep in mind that people all over the world read these forums and jsut because somethign may be true in your neighborhood does not mean it is true across the country, the world, or even across town.

my post was simply to express my feelings that all sorts of terms are thrown around now and applied to broad base of folks. just because some one acquires and keeps lots of stuff does not make them clinically a hoarder inteh original sense. true "hoarders" are usually elderly and literally have only narrow paths thru their homes to get from one place to another and really NEED help.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 12:38PM
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to me, a 'hoarder' is someone who buys out the grocery when some disaster is predicted, leaving nothing for anyone else!<?I>

Lucy, that is not how the term "hoarder" is used in a clinical sense.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 9:49PM
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Lucy was just pointing out the fact that the term is common, and used for various purposes...I agree on the disaster thing...how much toilet paper do you need for a 2-day storm?
I think you are think of compulsive hoarding there, which is a symptom of OCD, ICD, and ADHD variously.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 11:43AM
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It was mentioned way upthread that someone thought the husband was the hoarder. Does anyone in the neighborhood ever speak to the wife?

If you are truly concerned about the situation and not just trying to stir things up, strike up a conversation with the wife. Maybe say you are thinking of having a neighborhood garage sale and would she be interested? Or you're going to the dump and hate to pay the fee without an entire truckload- does she have anything that needs thrown out?

That is just to get a conversation going, mind you. You could feel out what her thinking is and go from there. If she expresses a need for help, then help. If she recognizes her husbands tendencies but is keeping tabs on things let it go.

I would not want any of my neighbors presuming things about me only by way of seeing what is in my garage. You need evidence of something wrong before getting authorities involved. Families have a right to live however they want and it is a fine line when you are trying to decide whether to interfere or not.
Do the children have friends over? Do visitors ever go into the home?

I think simply "talking" to them would be a great first step.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 12:38PM
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One of the big things in our society at the moment is safety. Safety comes at a price. That junk may be the supply of spare parts for some automobile restorer. Clean up that mess! Stop the restoration! Our rural county did just that. Health and safety were the justification. More safety means less personal freedom. Your local librarian must supply to law enforcement upon request the records of materials that you checked out of the library, Federal law. And severe penalties are dictated for any librarian who informs you of any such request. Thousands of examples are available. How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of safety?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 12:39PM
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How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of safety?

How mentally ill must someone be before government agencies step in to help?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 9:44PM
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How mentally ill must someone be before government agencies step in to help?

if it is truly OCD hoarding then they need help. if it is like the VAST majority of folks(most everyone DOES do it), then they don't need help other than maybe someone with a strong back to help toss stuff out.

and yes, EVERYONE hoards. look around your house at all the pictures, jewelry, clothes, furniture, etc. how much of what you have is REQUIRED to live? anything beyond that is hoarding for personal pleasure. the proud grandmother who has 200 pics spread everywhere on the walls and shelves is guilty of hoarding paper with no meaningful value to anyone else. where do you draw the line, are YOU going to turn her in and have her placed in a mental hospital, or are you going to let her have the things she cherishes and MYOB.

it is the same thing, maybe an extreme example, but teh same thing.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 11:13AM
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Everyone be sure to be neat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Neat

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 11:41AM
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These folks are a few doors down? Are we talking about 2-3 houses down, condos down, or apartment doors down?

I am reminded of Dolly Parton and "two doors down the neighbors are having a party."

I do not look at two- three houses down for any problem.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 3:22PM
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I have been reading the bad neighbor threads because I just returned from a visit with a friend who has bad neighbors. I too have suffered the hearbreak of bad neighbors and now live where I have no neighbors.

However, the small town in which I live is a virtual junkyard. A lot of people are blatantly violating state statutes but the state has no money to enforce their own junk laws.

One person is a true hoarder. He grieved his taxes one year and we on the Board of Civil Authority had to go in and inspect his home to see if his claim was valid.

The scenario was junk to the ceilings with winding paths throught the house. He has 2 children that he and his partner home school. In my opinion the home is a true fire hazard. The local health officer and the state say they can do nothing because the children are healthy.

The other situation is an illegal junkyard. It is located in an area with a high water table so I imagine vehicle fluids are draining into the watershed. Again, after years of calling the state they do nothing.

The town has been at an impasse with these people for years and all we can do is wait until the state decides to start enforcing their statutes.

If the children of the hoarder are healthy it is highly unlikely that they would be removed. The hoarder has certain rights that others may not like but unfortunately they might have to live with it.

I agree with the posters who suggested trying to get to know the hoarder and see if they indeed want help. Otherwise it's his business to do what he wants on his property. If you want to quietly pursue this in other ways, start by checking your state statutes on junk, the placement of it to boudary lines, etc. Give a call to the board of health for feedback.

But I am afraid your parents and neighbors are stuck with this guy. Every neighborhood has 'em.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 3:49PM
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David: Sorry you have to deal with this as a job I have seen the good plus you name it in the last 17 years here.
Frankly, the city can adopt all the minimum property standards they want. Without enforcement, those codes are worthless.

Try to get four neighbors bordering your property to even agree on a simple fence. I could not.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 9:37PM
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I have to go with the live and let live people on this. Just rereading original post - 1) unhappy with look of neighbours 2) thought about calling childhood services.

Why not just 'anonymously tip' the police that there's a drug lab there (or a grow op) as we call the marijuana things in BC)...with a bit of luck those people'll be out of there and maybe a real drug lab will move in.

I can think of many things I'd rather not live next to, if they are compliant with the law, then let it go. There's a big gulf between what might be a true illness, and then we have to consider if it's our business or not, or if it's being managed, or if it's just 'our' opinion that they're not living the way we'd like...

I don't think I'd like my life and home under such scrutiny, how 'bout you?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 3:05AM
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If stuff is overflowing from the house/garage and the husband is burning furniture in the yard, I would suspect compulsive hoarding (not collecting or frugal re-using). I have recently done extensive research on compulsive hoarding, trying to understand a friend, and it seems that in some cases hoarders gravitate towards jobs that facilitate their compulsion (husband works at a recycling facility). Animal hoarding is fairly common and can occur without the neighbors noticing anything until a really insane number of animals has been acquired; it is almost always accompanied by extensive animal waste all over everything inside the house. The spouse is either also a hoarder or an enabler. The concern for the children is legitimate in the sense that unhygienic conditions are common. One approach no one has mentioned is to ask your kids, does anyone know these kids? has anyone ever been invited over? zero invites to the house suggests pathological hoarding (read children of hoarders, this theme comes up over and over again, "I could never have anyone visit"). Children should not be reared in squalor, having to eat standing up because all the flat surfaces are covered with rotting food.

I recently treated a teenager who (nearly) went blind in one eye becuase there was cat poop all over the floor of their house and she got toxoplasmosis from it.

I have interacted with children's protective services in two states and the reality is that 1) you will have to give them something more than a junky exterior before they will open an investigation, 2) they will not remove the kids from a cluttered but sanitary house, 3) even if the place is a complete germ pit, they will probably not remove them urgently to fosterage if there are no signs of physical abuse, and 4) if there are any other relatives in the area that is the first place the kids will be sent to.

My vote is to try to get more information, and then decide whether to MYOB.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 5:09PM
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Hording is actually a form of OCD..Obsessive Compulsive Disorder...and without treatment, chances are slim to none that the person will be able to stop hording.

Here is a link that might be useful: Obsessive Compulsive Duisorder Info

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 12:35PM
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A very sad situation developed in a neighborhood. A resident was the victim of a disease called hoarding. Hoarding is not a synonym for "collecting." Hoarding is an obsessive-compulsive disease that causes individuals to create floor to ceiling piles of trash in their homes and environs. The individual reached the point where her home and yard were filled with trash. Her home became a fire hazard, and all of the trash was attracting an increasingly larger number of rodents, creating a health hazard. The neighbors, concerned for her well-being and their general health, asked their district supervisor to intervene. He worked with the fire department, the health department, mobile crisis, zoning enforcement, office of the county attorney and the community to clean up the house and yard.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 8:43PM
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I have a hoarding mother. What a mess. I haven't been in the house in years, she won't let me in. The last time I was there only two rooms were accessible via paths. The rest were piled so deep with who-knows-what you couldn't get in the doors.

The health department in her city doesn't intervene in these situations. She is in her late 70s and lives alone.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 12:36PM
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But why aren't you doing something? Work with her doctor and other family members to work it out. Social workers can be rounded up, I'm sure, even if the official dept. won't step in. At her age, she is probably seriously impacting her health by not eating, or eating the wrong things, not paying attention to various health concerns, and who knows what hygiene issues might be relevant by now. You can't continue to just let her keep you out, but must take enough control to just go in (with others) and get a really serious look at everything. And if there are any animals involved, they'll need to be taken out and taken proper care of as well.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 2:57PM
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My next door neighbor was a horder. I mean awful - like houses you see on TV where people are evicted by the Health Dept for being so filthy. When she got too old to take care of herself and needed to move to a retirement community, her church helped her clean out. 3 full size dumpster loads! The church people came every day for 2 weeks and got it all cleaned out.

My neighbr was a DEAR lady - and I do miss her terribly! I don't miss the junk outside, but I miss her sweetness. The new owners are really snotty and rude.

So - be aware, sometimes you might get what you wish for. Call CPS, the city code enforcement - any Big Brother agency you wish - then they might get rid of the neighbors and get a few more bucks for the houses for sale. BUT they might get snotty, rude people instead and wish for the old hoarders back.

And a little story about Child Protectie Services - my friend adoped 2 boys who are brothers who were taken away from their neglectful mother by CPS and put into foster care. The foster parents kept them in cages, burned them with cigaretts, beat them with boards - for 2 years! When CPS was there they kept everything hidden and the kids were too scared to tell. After 2 years CPS finally found out and put them in another foster home - my friend- ad up for adoption. My friend who adopted them always wonders if they might have been better left with their neglectful mother. At least she didn't abuse them. These boys will never get over what they lived through for 2 years.

And don't worry about fire hazards. My cousin's house burned to the ground and she is a compulsive housekeeper - no clutter anywhere. She left her coffee maker plugged in all the time & it caught fire while she and her husband were at work and her kids at school. The house was a total loss. And my hoarder neighbor lived in her house for 32 years with never a fire but MOUNTAINS of trash.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 11:01PM
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Lucy, I assume you are posting to my hoarding mom post.

I have to grin widely because you haven't met my pistol packing (literally, she is licensed to carry a concealed weapon and usually has at least two with her), Camel-smoking, bowling league member mother. There is nothing about her that says passive, helpless, or mentally deficient. She eats all her meals out. She quit cooking years ago at the urging of my stepfather (who is in a care home) and my little sis. Her cooking was only edible by herself and now she no longer bothers.

She's wiry, ornery, and peculiar but plenty capable. She also seems to be perfectly happy surrounded by her mounds of crap. Yes, it is a fire hazard, I'm sure. She has no animals but feeds and neuters all the strays in the neighborhood.

Sis and I have discussed what to do with the house when she dies. She has advocated for a match and a can of kerosene. I told her fine, after I find the family photo albums. That being said, my family members live well into their late nineties so we have a few years to ponder our options.

My sis lives two hours from her and I live in another state, a distance that works for our relationship and my mental health. She wasn't a very nice mother to me. I will hop a plane if summoned or needed but in the meantime, I will leave her in peace.

The fruit didn't fall far from the tree. My grandmother was also a clutter collector and quasi-hoarder. Her generation was more inclined to that, I think. When she had to be placed in a nursing home at age 90, my mother paid the rent on the apartment for more than 6 months. She couldn't begin closing up the place. I finally got on a plane and spent 12 hour days for a week packing and tossing things from grandmother's two bedroom place. Guess what, all that stuff that wasn't tossed in the dumpster is at MY MOTHER'S HOUSE. I'll get to see it all again when the time comes! Oy. Family.

But hey, Lucy, if you want to call in social services to visit my mother, I'll email you her address. I'd love to be the fly on the wall. Really. (Big grin.)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 12:51PM
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"Hording is actually a form of OCD..Obsessive Compulsive Disorder..."

Yes, and as such is a documented mental disorder. It requires a definitive diagnosis by a medical professional, not an armchair diagnosis made by the neighborhood busybody looking over the fence.

Not directed at you, but we are losing our freedoms one by one in this country, and I reserve the right to become an eccentric old lady without social services being called in.

If you know this family and they need help, by all means call for help. But if you are just catching glimpses of their lives through a door inadvertantly left open, butt out.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 1:27PM
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You know, homes stuffed to the rafters with who knows what junk and papers are firetraps, and if I was living next door to one of them, I'd darn well want someone to check out the place and find out what was happening (NOT just if there was a messy garage though). Plus if a fire started for whatever reason, whoever was inside would probably never be able to get OUT.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 2:46PM
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but we are losing our freedoms one by one in this country,

Not to get too far off topic, but exactly what freedoms have we lost? The Supreme Court just ruled, confirming the second amendment. What freedom did you have in the past that you don't have now?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 4:28PM
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"What freedom did you have in the past that you don't have now?"

FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigations.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records questions.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.

RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.

FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.

RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 10:35AM
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Freedoms lost? What about a ticket for parking on your own lawn? What about a citation for having upholstered furniture on the porch at your house. What about a citation for having grass sprigs growing in your graveled driveway? These laws exist in parts of the State of NC. Busybodies griped about these terrible things enough to get laws passed prohibiting them.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 12:45PM
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The issue of having a hoarding neighbor is NO ONE'S concern except that neighbor. It's no one's business what goes on IN MY HOUSE. Just as it is no one's business what goes on in yours. Fire hazzard? That's my problem and if I want to live that way, it's my business. Call CPS on me? You'd better have probable cause otherwise I'll call a lawyer in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 5:06PM
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A fire hazard is a problem for anyone who lives close by to the property it's on.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 6:08AM
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Having worked in the social services field for the past 3 decades, I sincerely doubt a social worker would place children (especially teenagers) in foster care solely because their home is messy, or even filthy. Generally the parents are given ample opportunity to clean the place up before children are removed from a home unless there are other abuse/neglect issues.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 6:57PM
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I have been looking at comments made. I think some protest too much in city and neighbors complaints. This is a suburban area with 1/4 to 1/2 acre lots (or so) so not so big, it would be different in the country were you don't have to look at neighbors messes. This family really does have an issue. I have seen the two car garage.It is, or was packed full of garbage really past the rafters up to the roof. more and more junk in the yard every month, probably cause won't fit in house anymore. The door no longer functions so is stuck open. Update..the city became involved and are working with them, they do have a deadline. They live near my parents, I don't think they called if that matters to anyone. I guess they (city) have been trying to work with them for over a year. It is definately was a fire hazard. I guess the city recently passed some rules re up keep of houses due to a higher amt of rental houses the last few years and affects home owners also....FYI. It is not unusual for cities to have rules regarding general up keep of your property, painting, siding, removal of brush,junk, mowing grass...etc. I have a broken hand so my typing isn't great, excuse any mistakes. I really was done with this, some people really bent out of shape and where down right mean. I just thought I would give an update. So go ahead and start the bashing now.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 12:57PM
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NO bashing here...no one alive now and born in the US remembers the health issues engendered by tenements. Rats as disease carriers cannot be overlooked. So, cearbhaill and others, if a property falls into disrepair to the extent that it seems like a rat heaven, if it is next door to me I am going to be screaming about it. The OP's example is just right for rats...places to hide outside, places to hide inside, prime breeding quarters. How would the owners every know?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 1:38PM
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rileysmom17, rats live where they live. in our old neighborhood every evening right around dusk you could watch dozens of rats come out and run the fence lines and power lines. there was no large piles of junk around or anything. they lived in trees and came out every night. so should the city demand every tree be cut down to eliminate them? just pointing out that rats do not have to have piles of junk to live. you would be amazed how many go past your house every day and night in the storm sewers and trees.

teh original posts onteh subject say that the stuff was IN THE HOUSE AN GARAGE and that "other people had seen it". never that the yard was piled high with stuff or that the OP had seen it themself. now the story is that the yard is piled high and the OP has seen it. so either things changed and got worse over the last few months, or the story ain't adding up. probably a little of both since we are only hearing 1 side of it.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 4:57PM
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"Hording is actually a form of OCD..Obsessive Compulsive Disorder..."
Yes, and as such is a documented mental disorder. It requires a definitive diagnosis by a medical professional, not an armchair diagnosis made by the neighborhood busybody looking over the fence."

Busybodies aside...that does not negate the fact that hording is NOT the norm...as such, rarely if ever is a hoarder not afflicted with OCD.

Those who hoard are indeed ok with all the junk; THAT is a symptom of the diseaseÂÂas the "hoarding" alleviates their compulsion...which is WHY they hoard to begin with....such as those OCD sufferers who compulsively wash their hands..it alleviates their "compulsion" but ONLY temporarily, which is why they keep washing..and why the hoarder keeps adding to the hoard.

It is a no win situation for the individual...because without professional help, no amount of hoarding will alleviate the reoccuring compulsion to hoard.

In addition, the poster originally mentioned stuff spilling out on to the drivewayÂÂa burned couch in the yard...so it is hardly confined to the interior exclusively.

Last but not least, on lots that are small in size, fires often travel to neighboring propertiesÂand the more fuel to feed the fire the more intense and hard to control it isÂ..and the more likely it will affect neighboring properties, threatening nor only the homes, but the lives of residents and the poor firefighters who have to deal with the issue.

The concern is indeed very valid for ANY neighbor in this situation.

IMOÂI would call the town/county fire marshal, to see if there is anything that can be done on that endÂ

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 11:58AM
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D&K - are you talking tree or wood rats? They aren't the same as the ones that like to live in peoples junk and houses so don't confuse the issue.

I don't think there is anyway to really assess what's going on the OP's situation.

However I do think that MYOB is not always the self sanctified high road people want others to think it is. It can be a good thing, but it can also be a way of saying I want to raise my children the way I want to so I'm not going to tell anyone else what to do, which is not always good. In fact it can be awful. So when someone's kids are in jeopardy people of that persuasion just sit back and ignore it. As with most things there are times to MYOB and times to intervene.
If you don't want more legislation taking away your freedom then people need to watch out for each other more. It's when they don't that the law has to step in. Dealing with others problems is no fun. But sometimes it has to be done.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 2:23PM
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yes, they are tree rats. but just like other rats they carry fleas and disease. ever hear of bubonic plague? what about Lyme disease? both are carried by fleas and ticks that live on rats.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:58AM
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I read this posting and threads with quite a lot of disbelief.

My father is a bit of a serious "pack-rat" as we term it. We lived in lovely -and very expensive!- neighborhoods across the US and UK. One of my aunts said it was from HIS GROWING UP IN THE AMERICAN FOSTER-CARE SYSTEM ... he was never allowed to own more than he could carry in a sack from one DREADFUL foster home to another.

Now, growing up, our garage was always packed to the roof, as were the attics, but our house was IMMACULATE! My mother was the unofficial "Lysol Queen". Unless someone has proven intimate knowledge of the children's welfare being endangered ... or any other similiar situations ... I do agree: Find something meaningful in your own life to worry about!!!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 4:15PM
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I forgot one very important point to reiterate that was touched on above: Has anyone made introductions with this family in question? They do not need to be LIKED by the neighbors, but some of this speculation about the seriousness of this situation might be either dispelled or proven (in which case action can legitimately be taken).

As a child of an "over-collector" I will not lie. I over-collect. I have a house in Switzerland literally busting at the seams, but with museum quality paintings, furniture, glass and silver far different from my father's seemingly chaotic collections (my father says "two of anything constitutes a collection!"). To some people such as modernists and minimalists my massive collection might look like a massive junk collection. But it is well organized and generally focused. I have individual pieces of "junk" worth more than most people's homes and I take great pride in displaying my collections (even though I HATE dusting fragile glass and polishing silver). My overflow is stored in a secured-facility in Connecticut USA. I can not pass up a good auction. My father's solution (mind you, not most peoples' option) was to buy more and larger houses in which to store and decorate with what would not fit in garages and attics until he had 5 or 6 homes. My father in law is also a pack-rat (albeit highy organized) and built a 40'x100' barn on one of his ranches. The point is this: collecting might be a sickness, but organization is a skill. Some people just need help with the latter. Maybe these neighbors are such people.

Don't take these pack-rat neighbors at face value. Make introductions. So much of this speculation and "what should I do" stuff is flat out cowardice. Good God, have some balls!!! These might be nice people and open to help and suggestions like the lady mentioned above who could not care for her yard on her own. I'll bet these people feel very isolated despite having so many neighbors. Have a block party if you are afraid to confront them directly! Safety in numbers if that's what it takes.

Just some thoughts.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 5:38AM
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As Judge Judy says "Grow up, mind your own business and quit being a trouble maker"

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 1:22AM
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