Help For Those Clearing Out A Hoarder’s House
Experienced sensitive and discrete decluttering and hoarded house clearance specialists carrying out the removal and disposal of accumulated possessions, rubbish and clutter from the home of a hoarder whether deceased or still occupying a property in the most sensitive and private manner.
After many years of providing help for hoarder’s Avery Associates are specialists and the most experienced company in the UK when dealing with the clearance of properties, including gardens and outside areas which have become unusually full of hoarders collections and clutter, to the point that significant additional resources are required to clear and clean-out the property. This often arises as a result of compulsive hoarding, which may be a manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD.
The UK’s Leading Compulsive Hoarding Clearance Specialists
Whether the property or the owners are in The UK or overseas, and you have the task of clearing out a hoarders house and cleaning, if the sufferer is still alive and living in the property, or sadly they may be deceased, in either case we are able to help. As team leader and company owner Jeffrey Avery deals with all enquiries with the utmost discretion and is now one of the countries leading authorities in all matters relating to compulsive hoarding, as well as providing physical and psychological support for OCD or hoarding sufferers together with their families and friends with the utmost sensitivity.
Jeffrey Avery and Theresa Rickard are de-cluttering specialists and together Jeffrey and Teresa have worked all over the country and carried out countless hoarded house clearances in London, Surrey and the home counties for affected individuals, local authorities, private clients and law firms in many extreme and diverse cases of hoarding. We are the only company in the country that are able to offer hands on service, delivered with understanding, care for the sufferer, advice, physical and psychological support and above all total client discretion.
Will And Document Finding
Avery Associates are also experts at finding important items hidden amongst the mass of hoarded household contents such as wills, personal papers and financial documents that could be crucial to solicitors and surviving family who are winding up a probate estate. We regularly find financial papers relating to banking affairs, shares, investments the last will and testament and other valuable items that the beneficiaries were unaware of.
Special Financial Arrangements For Executors Awaiting Funds
Further to this we are able to assist with deferred payment if the estate is not in a position to settle accounts until probate has been granted or perhaps waiting for funds from the sale of a probate property. We understand how financially difficult it may be for executors using personal funds during the probate process so we try to be as accommodating and flexible as possible.
This bespoke and considerate service has made us one of the most popular choices with firms of probate solicitors, executors and members of the public all over the UK.
Jeffrey Avery is available seven days a week to offer confidential help and advice in matters relating to compulsive hoarding and probate valuation and can be reached directly by mobile phone on 07967 646499 24 hours or at our head office on 0208 640 0044 so feel free to call anytime.
Common problems that arise when clearing a hoarded house include:
- The sheer weight of possessions may cause a fire hazard, structural damage to floorboards and electrical and water services, creating trip and other hazards.
- Hazardous and toxic materials may be present, which, when originally stored, were legal, but now require special handling. (eg Asbestos).
- Often items of value are hidden among what appears to be rubbish. These require careful sorting and handling so that they can be handed back to the owner.
- Animal hoarding – In cases where pets were present in large numbers, there may be additional health hazards present which require special treatment.
- Body Fluids – Sadly in some circumstances a person has passed inside the property and the body remained undiscovered for some time and in this case we are professionally trained and able to remove any blood spills or fluids then eliminate any unpleasant odours remaining. Thus leaving the property in a hygienic and respectable condition
The following video presented by Jeffrey Avery gives you an insight into what’s involved with hoarding and house clearance and one of the many cases he has dealt with.
We have all the necessary facilities to deal with such cases, and, just as in a normal clearance, we will make every effort to re-use and recycle all items recovered, in order to ensure that as little as possible is disposed of in authorized local authority waste disposal facilities.
We are always available to clear a hoarded house, loft, garage or other parts of the premises. (For example, where you want to make use of a garage to house a vehicle, which has become full of old furniture and other accumulated possessions.) Within a few hours, any hoarded area will be clean and tidy, and available for use. We can clear a hoarded property, (or part of a property) within hours.
In all cases of hoarding, whether compulsive, or due to ill health, we will always guarantee our clients confidentiality. We are able to provide accurate video footage and digital photos of household possessions and valuables to safeguard loss as a consequence of negligence or theft, especially in cases of Alzheimers disease or Dementia where relatives may be located many miles from the property or overseas.
All our staff are CRB checked and required to sign confidentiality clauses as a condition of employment, and no details of the clearance will ever be disclosed to any third party without the permission of the client.
In the past year we have carried out more than 40 instances of hoarded property clearance, including:
- A house where the owner had over 30 animals, who were never allowed out, and where parts of the property had become heavily contaminated. In this case our specially trained team cleared and cleaned the premises, thereby restoring it to its original condition. In this case we also arranged for our carpenter to replace some of the floorboards which had rotted away.
- A third floor flat with over a ton of books, CDs and long play records. Hidden behind some of the books, which made two of the rooms in the flat inaccessible, we located important financial documents and a will, which were returned to the relatives of the owner.
- We cleared a garage, with 60 bags of cement, which had hardened as a result of damp, among other items, such as wood, etc. Parts of the floor had cracked, as a result of moisture and cold, and we arranged for the roof and floor to be repaired, so that the building was left clean, clear and completely serviceable.
In respect to hoarding we have dealt with many scenarios and adverse conditions and are able to deal with any situation.
For free advice and information on clearing a hoarded house, or on de-cluttering, contact Jeffrey Avery directly on 0208 640 0044.
More information on the causes of compulsive hoarding
Compulsive hoarding may be characterized as the obsessive collection of goods, to the point where this has a detrimental effect on a persons life. Although most of us acquire possessions, or have a collecting hobby, we do not do so to the point where our accumulated goods have a detrimental effect on our everyday lives.
There is no precise definition of compulsive hoarding, but symptoms may include:
- Acquiring and failing to discard of large quantities of possessions, most of which have little or no value.
- Living space so cluttered that normal life becomes difficult.
- Distress or impairment of normal functioning as a result of the hoarding.
- Reluctance or inability to return borrowed items.
Hoarders may believe mistakenly that items are, or may in the future become extremely valuable, or may be overwhelmed by the amount of possessions that have built up over the years. An example might be the retaining of a particular type of toy, or the failure to remove out of date food from a fridge.
Commonly Asked Questions And Examples Of Client Enquiries
Enquiry Nov 2016
Dear Mr Avery,
Thank you for speaking to me yesterday re house clearance and deep clean of my brother, P’s house
Because we had to collect mail and relevant papers relating to my brother’s affairs, my sister and I have made a couple of visits to the property.
My brother’s death involved the police and they informed us of the appalling state of the house and on arrival we had to search through mountains of paperwork, dirt etc
and bag up soiled bedding and clothing. It was evident that Peter had not, through illness, been able to clean or maintain the property or look after himself. We already knew of his hoarding
tendencies which was the reason I contacted you some months back when he was still alive. He of course refused any intervention in spite of a concerted effort by the family to encourage him to get a professional body in to sort his affairs.
We worked through each room bagging rubbish and discarded paperwork which we felt was not relevant and these bags are sited throughout the property.
This was such an emotional and traumatic task and left us exhausted. We agreed then that the house needed completely emptying and cleaning very thoroughly before being put up for sale.
The house is a three storey building. The ground floor includes a garage, garden room, small utility room and a toilet. The first floor is an open plan lounge dining area and kitchen. The kitchen was in a terrible condition so I did a cursory clean but there is a food cupboard full of tinned food which he couldn’t use as he had lost the use of his right hand and was unable to use a tin opener.
There are some worktop appliances and a very old fridge. The cooker is in need of a good clean although fairly new. On the top floor are two decent sized bedrooms and a third smaller one in which he used to store photographs and other collections of stuff related to hobbies.The main bathroom is also sited on this floor.We removed family photos and binned much of what was in there.
We did not have time to look inside a store cupboard on the landing of the top floor and I think also on the ground floor there was a cupboard containing paperwork from his working life which is unwanted but we didn’t have time to bag up.
We are satisfied that there is nothing there that remains that we would wish to keep unless you found any photos we may have missed. We would like all the contents left to be disposed of. This would include a three piece suite, two computers, small round dining table and chairs and sideboard, two beds, bedside tables, free standing wardrobe, curtains and carpets and any other small occasional tables. The fridge needs discarding too. In fact everything there so we can leave a blank canvas.
P** had been admitted to hospital many times and we believe had lost a set of keys during one stay, including one for his Mercedes car (currently in the garage) and keys for access to the rear yard via the utility room and garden room but would be happy for you to change locks if you deemed it appropriate. Whether the yard can be accessed via a neighbour’s premises or there is an outside door in the boundary wall, I do not know.
The yard contains bushes and pot plants well overgrown. There is a small front garden also in need of attention but this may be outside your remit.
As I explained to you on the phone yesterday we had to obtain a key for the Mercedes which has taken time and trouble and considerable expense. The car has been garaged for some time and we will probably need to arrange to have it brought back up to Liverpool. It has been garaged for a few years and are not sure of its road worthiness. The garage can be accessed from a door in the hallway which is unlocked. There are a few old paint tins and boxes which can be discarded. There is a spare wheel for the car which needs to be left with the vehicle.
I mentioned the key safe located outside, on the right hand side wall near the front door in which is the key for opening the front door. The lock is delicate but works. The code is
****. My sister and I would be quite happy for you to go into the property to assess the work needing doing without us being there to avoid another journey down to Hatfield from Liverpool. The key would need to be returned to the key safe on your leaving the premises.
Please let me know what you think.
Enquiry Jan 2017
My elderly father passed away a few months ago, leaving my widowed mother alone in the four bed family home. We have encouraged her to downsize to a more suitable property to suit her independant living and we are in the midst of the purchase process, hoping to complete in March.
Being the family home for over 35 years it of course has lots of clutter but in addition, my mother has a hoarding issue which mainly presents itself in the inability to dispose of papers, newspaper cuttings etc. For example several rooms have become dumping grounds for plastic bags filled with papers. It’s sad to see and we have tried to tackle it in the past but she is very protective. She now realizes that of course the house now needs to be cleared for the sale. She is moving to a small Edwardian two bed cottage and will only be able to take a few items of furniture.
My sisters and I are trying to make the move as less traumatic as possible for her.
Hoarding may or may not be related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Several traits are common to hoarders, such as depression, drug addiction, acoholism but it does not seem to involve the same neurological mechanisms. The condition may also be related to ICD, or Impulse Control Disorder.