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No way to evict a hoarder that owes over $25K, landlord laments

(Screenshot from Haglund's video)

What can you do if you are a landlord and you have a hoarder who owes over a year’s worth of rent?

Nothing, says Carl Haglund.

Haglund took video of one of units at the Admiral Apartments, which he says he works hard to maintain for working families. He said his carpenter, who was replacing doors at the 23-unit building in the Rainier Valley, called him and told him he better come have a look.

“He’s a hoarder,” Haglund said of the tenant.

He said there was dog feces everywhere and dozens of boxes of tennis shoes.

“He owes over $25,000 in rent,” Haglund estimated, adding that even before the eviction moratorium in Seattle prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the renter was behind.

He said they had filed an eviction, but they worked out a repayment plan. Once the pandemic hit, Haglund said the man just stopped rent payments altogether.

“He’s not paying rent, he’s still going to work,” Haglund said. “And we can’t evict him.”

Additionally, Haglund pointed out that hoarders are a protected class.

Hoarding is considered a disorder and renters with the disability are a protected class under the Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities Acts, according to the Journal of American Academy of Psychiatry and Law.

“There is an incentive to leave him in the apartment because, ultimately, the government has no choice,” Haglund said of all the back rent owed across the country.

Carl Haglund is no stranger to controversy. In June 2016, the Seattle City Council passed the “Carl Haglund Law,” which protects tenants’ rights. The law was spearheaded by Councilmember Kshama Sawant in an effort to stop “slumlords” from raising the rents of residents.

Sawant told KTTH’s Jason Rantz that landlords were able to raise rents even if they had pending housing code violations, such as mold or rat infestations. Some landlords allegedly did this in order to sell the property to developers — rising in value despite lowering quality. This way the property would more easily be sold when the time comes.

“You don’t have housing providers on your show that provide good quality workforce housing for working people — men and women and families in the city of Seattle,” Haglund told Dori. “You may have had a housing provider in the past, but they’re developing Class A apartment buildings. My company specializes in being in the trenches.”

Haglund said hoarding is old hat for him.

“Carl, let’s stay in touch. I want to find out how this all turns out in the end,” Dori said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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