Hoarding and Squalor

Girl in hoarding and squalor

Many of us are guilty of keeping things far longer than we need, whether it is a favourite item of clothing, distant memorabilia or maybe a bygone collection, however seldom does it get to the point where we can't sleep in our bed, have a bath or cook a meal due to the accumulation of items in these areas.


When this situation is realised then it is safe to say that someone has moved from a problem of clutter into one of hoarding. Hoarding can be described as the inability to discard items such as newspapers, electrical items, obsolete Items, clothing and even food packaging; items which appear to have little or no value to anyone else.


Squalor is characterised by the neglect in hygiene resulting in a health risk to the person, their family, their animals and in extreme circumstances to their neighbourhood. Squalor can result from a situation where hoarding has overwhelmed the home owner and they can no longer physically get to the areas requiring cleaning. Alternatively squalor may be unrelated and due to a lack of enthusiasm or desire to conduct adequate cleaning. Many life events can trigger situations of squalor including change of status, bereavement, general poor mental health and depression.

What action can Council take?

Properties subject to hoarding and squalor conditions can have significant impacts on people living in the affected home, their families and also on neighbouring residents.

Legislation permits Campbelltown City Council to take action on properties that are unhealthy or unsightly.

  • Council Officers are only able to assist with external areas of a property and cannot assist where hoarding and squalor are contained within a residential dwelling.
  • Hoarding and squalor cases often take time to rectify and can be ongoing over a period of time.
  • Council's Environmental Health Officers often work with families and care providers to rectify premises where hoarding occurs and support the resident.

Report it

To report a hoarding and squalor premises, please contact our Customer Service Section on 02 4645 4000.

Getting help

If you are concerned about your own behaviour, or about someone else, the Macarthur Disability Services can offer guidelines and resources.