Hoarding and Homelessness Law

Speaker: Rachel Coyle
Chambers: 36 Group

Hoarding and Homelessness Law
Rachel Coyle
Barrister
The 36 Group

This seminar will cover

Symptoms
Someone who hoards may exhibit the following:
• Inability to throw away possessions
• Severe anxiety when attempting to discard items
• Great difficulty categorizing or organizing possessions
• Indecision about what to keep or where to put things
• Distress, such as feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed by possessions
• Suspicion of other people touching items
• Obsessive thoughts and actions: fear of running out of an item or of needing it in the future; checking the trash for accidentally discarded objects
• Functional impairments, including loss of living space, social isolation, family or marital discord, financial difficulties, health hazards

DSM-5
• The person has a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions regardless of value.
• The persistent difficulty with discarding or parting with possessions regardless of value is due to a perceived need to save the items and distress is associated with discarding them.
• Hoarding is not due to other medical conditions (for example, brain injury).
• Hoarding is not better accounted for by symptoms of other mental disorders in DSM-5 (for example, dementia, OCD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), schizophrenia or psychotic disorder).

Treatment Pathways
Treatment pathways include:
• Medication.
• Cognitive behavioural therapy.
• Restructure or intensive sessions with skilled therapists including home visits.
• Motivational interviewing.
• Skills training (for example, organisational, decision-making and problem solving skills).
• Exposure to sorting or not acquiring items.

Mental Capacity Act 2005
(MCA 2005) and Social Care Act 2012
These are formal committees of the local authority. Their statutory duties are, in conjunction with clinical commissioning groups, to:
• Promote greater integration in the approach to health and social care provision in its area.
• Plan how to best meet the needs of their local population.
• Tackle local health inequalities.
• Produce a joint strategic needs assessment and joint health and wellbeing strategy for their local population.

Tri-partite Approach
• A needs assessment under the CA 2014 to identify the person’s needs for care and support.
• A mental health assessment under the MHA 1983 in respect of the diagnosis, notwithstanding the DSM-5 versus ICD-11 debate which can potentially be resolved.
• A mental capacity assessment for the purposes of the MCA 2005 on the specific issue as to whether the person lacks capacity to make decisions about cleaning or tidying their accommodation.

Legal Options
• Injunctions
• Possession and Eviction – Section NOSP
• Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 s5
• Community protection notices (CPNs) combat ongoing anti-social behaviour on) as well as positive acts by individuals.
• National Assistance Act 1948 s21 /47
• Local authority removal powers where a person is suffering from chronic disease or being aged, infirm or physically incapacitated are living in insanitary conditions and are unable to devote themselves to or are not receiving proper and attention.

• Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978
• Public Health Act 1961 S34 “Rubbish” includes rubble, waste paper, crockery, metal and any other kind of refuse (including organic matter).
• S36 fumigation to destroy vermin.
• S79 noxious matter.
• S83 “filthy or unwholesome condition”.
• S84 cleanse, purify, disinfect.

EPA 1990
• S79 statutory nuisance.
• Fixed penalty notices.
• Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 S4.
• Animal Welfare Act 2006 S9.
• welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice.
• Sanctions include a fine of up to £20,000, up to 51 weeks imprisonment, and a prohibition from owning or dealing with animals in the future.
• Mental Capacity Act 2005-S2
• Inability to make decisions S3
• Best Interest Decisions-S4
• Care Act 2014

You can contact Rachekl Coyle via her clerks on this e mail
public@36group.co.uk

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