Hoarding and Squalor

Hoarding is when someone collects large amounts of items that others perceive lack any value, however, to the person collecting these objects or animals, they are of immense value and cannot be thrown away. Rooms or yards become cluttered and can no longer be used properly. 

Hoarding is defined by the Department of Health as '...the persistent accumulation of and lack of ability to relinquish, large numbers of objects or living animals, resulting in extreme clutter in or around premises.'

Hoarding is a complex mental health issue and it can often be hard for individuals affected or their families to find the help they need.

Points to note:

  • Hoarding can affect all types of people, of any age
  • Prolonged or extreme hoarding may lead to squalor
  • A squalid living environment can exist unrelated to hoarding behaviour
  • Hoarding behaviour and squalid living conditions can affect many aspects of a person’s life, including personal safety, child protection and animal welfare
  • Hoarding not only affects the person demonstrating these behaviours, but can also affect family members, neighbours and animals
  • Such cases often involve professionals from different service sectors working together to develop and provide an effective response. 

Animal Hoarding 

Animal hoarding is the accumulation of large numbers of animals that overwhelms the person’s ability to provide a minimum standard of nutrition, sanitation and veterinary care.


Squalor describes an unsanitary living environment that can arise from extreme and/or prolonged neglect, and poses substantial health and safety risks to people or animals residing in the affected premises, as well as others in the community.