When a co-op board learns that a hoarder is residing in the building, what should it do—and not do? Take these actions:
Send a Notice:
The first step in resolving the problem is to contact the shareholder and send a notice. This can point out that there have been complaints of odors and infestations. As well as demanding they take immediate steps to correct the problem.
The co-op board is able to enter the unit. Your board should grant access to the super. They may inspect the apartment’s condition and determine the best strategy to get rid of bugs and undesirable odors. The bylaws will specify the notice that you must provide for entry. An acceptable amount of time is often 24 or 48 hours.
If the shareholder permits the super to enter the flat, you can gauge the scope of the issue.
You might need to seek the court for a court order to force access. Shareholders usually ignore any letters and notifications.
Involve a Third Party:
In these circumstances, a board would resort to a relative or close friend who could persuade the shareholder. They need to understand there needs to be a cleaning of the apartment and the removal of the trash.
There are companies that specialize in cleaning up the clutter from hoarders’ apartments.
The shareholder could also agree to put things in storage.
You can ask Adult Protective Services, a division of New York City’s Department of Social Services for assistance in the absence of a relative. They will make an effort to get in touch with the person who needs assistance. They can strive to engage the necessary measures to address the issue.
In such circumstances, you might need to approach the court to name a guardian for the hoarding shareholder if the court determines that the shareholder cannot understand the gravity of the situation.
A guardian is a person or group with legal authority to assume responsibility over and make decisions for another person. This will entail submitting a court petition.
Eviction is a Final Resort:
For behavior that violates the lease and is not remedied after notice, the co-op board has the option of terminating the proprietary lease and expelling the tenant shareholder.
After delivering a notice to cure, or by terminating the lease for undesirable behavior, an eviction and termination of the proprietary lease can happen.
These actions can take a board of directors a lot of time, and in either case, you must give the shareholder the required notice and present witnesses who can attest to how the circumstances are preventing them from living peacefully in their unit.
That is not simple to do, which is why, among other things, an eviction process should be your final choice.