Hoarding in Orange Could Land You in Jail

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ORANGE VILLAGE, Ohio -- If you are one of those people who just can't throw anything away and hate to do home repairs, Orange Village is not the place for you.

The Orange Village Council updated their uninhabitable dwellings ordinance to make hoarder houses a public health risk.

Now, the building commissioner can kick the occupant out and force the owner to shape up, or be shipped out.

With the new ordinance, people who are repeat violators who repeatedly ignore those clean-up notices can now be sent to jail.

The city's attorney said violators could face up to 30-days in jail for the first offense, and 60-days in jail for the second offense, if they do not comply.

Some of the forbidden conditions include:

  • Excessive garbage in the dwelling
  • Beds and bathtubs containing items to the extent that there is no room for sleeping or bathing
  • Kitchens that are unusable due to cluttered stoves, sinks and tabletops
  • Human and/or animal waste
  • Many unkempt pets in need of care
  • Broken doors or windows

Firefighters said a house fire in nearby Cleveland earlier this month was partially due to hoarding.

"This would be a classic case of what you would classify a hoarding situation. There was debris, items stacked up in every room on both levels," Larry Gray with the Cleveland Fire Dept. previously said of the Cleveland house fire.

The attorney for Orange Village said the ordinance is also aimed to get landlords to clean up rental properties and make repairs.

People in the area have mixed reactions.

"It might be kind of a good idea. I feel like they wouldn't do it unless it is really bad, and out of control, so it might be nice to have something to keep people in check," resident Mary Flenner said.

"I think it's going a little too far. I think if it's your own property, you should be able to do what you want with it," said Jennifer Tobeson.

The city's attorney said if someone is unable to keep their property up because of age, disability or mental illness, they will work with them, and they won't be sent to jail.