Tough Cleanups: Undiscovered Deaths, Blood, & Hoarder Homes
January 4, 2017

Cleaning up the Bad & the Ugly with Alliance

Written by Alliance Environmental

Being a property manager unfortunately means dealing with a plethora of unforeseen events. Sometimes, they are not the type of events that any one wants to handle or even knows how to handle. For some of these bad and ugly unexpected events, Alliance Environmental Group is here to help in any way we can. Here are some instances where we can assist property managers in sticky situations:

Hoarding/squalor conditions

Squalor conditions are where the unit is extremely filthy and unpleasant. Think of it as a homeless person living in home as if they were homeless; maybe they don’t shower or clean, rotting food is left out, or several animals may live inside. Hoarding is a condition where the tenants accumulate an extreme amount of personal items due to distress at the thought of getting rid of them. For these conditions, you may notice that the tenant always has their blinds closed. You may also be able to pinpoint a hoarder because the blinds are crooked or messed up. This is due to the mass amount of items pressing up against the window. These tenants typically always “squeeze” out the front door instead of fully opening it. Strong odors may originate from the unit. FedEx or UPS may make frequent deliveries (perhaps from a home shopping network).

The key concern with this type of unforeseen event at a property is turning a personal problem into a community problem. The clutter in a hoarder’s unit is a fire hazard and can cause bug or rodent infestations which may spread to other units. The odors can sometimes build up to a strong scent that effects neighboring apartments and even communal areas such as hallways. If the affected area is on a floor above the first, the weight of excess personal items can cause issues within the structure of the building. Tenants such as this are classified as a protected class; meaning, you cannot just evict them. They must have an opportunity to clean it themselves and the property management company is potentially liable for providing them with the resources to do so. If the event is getting out of hand, it is possible to send an annual or biannual notice of inspection to check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to get a better idea of the issue from an inside perspective.

Undiscovered deaths

Deaths are a traumatic experience to discover, so it is important that this type of event is handled properly and with care. This may be the case if your tenant who always pays their rent on time or around the same time is suddenly late. Maybe their vehicle hasn’t moved in a week and you know they typically go to work every day. The odor can be described as similar to roadkill on the freeway or a landfill. It’s also possible that the unit below has discovered a leak from above. Packages, phonebooks, or mail can be piled up by the door.

To handle an undiscovered death, the first step is to call the local authorities first. Depending on what they determine, they might seal the unit off and connect with a family member. This can delay the process of getting both us and them inside the unit; however, there is no reason to panic. Most of the damage inside has already happened, so it won’t make a big difference if we cannot get inside to clean it right away. Alliance Environmental Group provides free estimates and we are typically ready to do the work immediately after responding.

Blood/Trauma Clean up

For trauma scenes that contain bodily fluids or blood, it is best to have a professional company to do the cleanup. Blood borne pathogens need to be treated and disposed of properly. Several bacteria can live outside the body for several days. It is illegal to force a maintenance department to clean bodily fluids.

Methamphetamine clean up

For an unexpected event such as a meth lab cleanup, you won’t know you are dealing with this issue unless the police have come and busted them. Some signs of a possible methamphetamine lab are: tenants are up late at night, dumpster diving, or bringing broken electronics into the unit. If the police have come, tagged the home, and mentioned that it has to be cleaned professionally, call Alliance Environmental Group for a free estimate.

The unit will need to be professionally tested first by third party company. The method and extent of cleanup will be based on their findings. It is possible that the drywall, cabinet, and/or flooring need to be removed. It also may be as simple as needing to wash the walls and hard surfaces. The property management company would need to account for payment at their property, but for HOA’s, most home owners insurance can cover this type of event. Clearance testing is needed post-job to prove everything was completed correctly. These tests are checking for the chemicals that make up methamphetamine.  It is a wet wipe test in which they test small area and it will give you percentage composition of entire wall.

Odor remediation

Alliance has the tools to get rid of most odors as long as we can find the source. The method depends on what is causing the odors. Upon arrival, we need to investigate what best method is to get rid of the odor. Common instances are a dead rodent in a unit or wall, dead animals underneath, etc. On the other hand, it will be difficult to get the odor out if we can’t find the source. For hoarding situations, we won’t be able to guarantee how long the odor will dissipate until the tenant has moved out. Any type of strong Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) can be tamed with our ThermaPureHeat treatments. An example is paint thinner. It will also get rid of the smoke smell from a previous cigarette smoking tenant. Methods of odor remediation include heat treatments, ozone machine, and other possible green chemicals known to dissipate odors.

It is not an easy job being a property manager and running into these types of unforeseen issues can cause more stress and anxiety. Alliance Environmental Group’s Bio/Trauma division is here to assist in any of these events. We maintain a professional demeanor and would be more than happy to provide you with a free estimate. For more information on how to handle these events or for a free quote on these services, call (877) 858-6220 today.

About Alliance Environmental

With more than 75 years of experience, Alliance Environmental Group, Inc. is one of the leading environmental contractors in California. Alliance Environmental provides innovative solutions in the areas of asbestos, lead, and mold abatement; air and HVAC duct cleaning; heat treatment for pest control; structural pasteurization; demolition and emergency response. The company has successfully completed more than 120,000 remediation projects in California and surrounding areas. For more information, go to


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