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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Understanding Unsanitary Conditions

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

How often do you use the term “unsanitary” in your everyday exchanges? Maybe you use it in reference to a pile of dirty laundry or ice cream stain on your couch. However, when do you draw the line when distinguishing a dirty condition from an unsafe one? Furthermore, how possible it for homeowners to prevent their spaces from being totally uninhabitable?

What is an Unsanitary Living Condition?

Different states and counties consider various factors before terming a place as an unsanitary living condition. Most, if not all of them, agree on the following features when rendering a place “unsanitary”:

  • Plenty of filth and dirt around the home
  • Waste buildup (both human and animal)
  • Faulty stoves, furnaces, and other appliances
  • Infestations in the form of vermin and/or insects
  • Non-functional electricity, gas, water or other utilities
  • Amateur construction or poor standards of cleanliness around the living quarters

Once any or all of these conditions are noticed in any property, it is automatically deemed unsafe for habitation. However, there is not an exclusive distinction between the two terms “uninhabitable” and “unsanitary”. Uninhabitable spaces feature one or two of the above, while unsanitary places feature several of them.

What Leads to Unsanitary Homes?

In some cases, either the renter or property owner is to blame for the unsafe nature of a residence.  Hoarding is a common disorder among US residents that often leads to unsafe living conditions.  Hoarding involves collecting clutter and keeping them long past their average period of use. Paper items such as magazines and newspapers are among the most common goods to be hoarded. Once these items take over the home, that place easily becomes an unsafe spot – unless a reliable cleaning service is contacted.

How Does Hoarding Come About?

Although the root cause is yet to be fully understood, hoarding is often attributed to critical mental disability or illness. Professionals often distinguish a pack rat from a hoarder by determining whether their disorders are either compulsions or personal preferences. 

Is it Possible to Report Unsanitary Living Conditions?

If you suspect that someone close to you is living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions, you are advised to report it. This will not only benefit them in the long run but also keep your physical and mental health in check. It is relatively easy for pest and rodent infestations to spread. This is a common case especially for houses and apartment buildings located within close proximity of each other. If you have the landowner’s contacts, inform them first before anyone else.

If the landlord does not contact a cleaning service, your local health department is always a phone call away. However, prior to filing a complaint, be one hundred percent clear on your local tenant laws. Ensure you meet the minimum requirements before contacting higher authorities. How long your landowner has to take action strongly depends on the local or state laws. If your loved one has a hoarding issue, consider contacting your local mental health professional.

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