I am a first time landlord, and worked very hard to rehab the downstairs apartment into a beautiful unit I am proud of. I rented to a young lesbian couple with a daughter. Their former landlords gave good reports, but I am beginning to think that one was a friend posing as a former landlord. They have been there 6 months, and there are piles and piles of boxes and clothing and shoes (easily 200 pairs)everywhere. Yesterday, I spoke to them about the hallway to the bedrooms and bathroom (I had to do some maintenance in the bathroom, and had trouble getting the door open far enough to enter it) and she cleared the debris in said hallway. I have consulted my attorney, several landlord/tenant agencies, and the fire prevention captain. All tell me there is no criteria for judging what constitutes hoarding, and I have no legal leg to stand on except to not renew their lease in another 6 months. Meanwhile, I am living above a tinderbox, and am terrified that if there is a fire, my home will be a total loss.
I need to reword the lease for subsequent tenants, in order to establish criteria for hoarding and fire safety. Is there any printed legislation regarding hoarding? Is there possession guidelines, such as 10 cu ft per person, or do I just make up my own rules?