East Devon: ‘Overwhelmed’ hoarder who lived without heating and visitors in a home piled high with clutter turns their life around

A hoarder from East Devon whose unheated home was piled high with clutter, leaving them too ashamed to have visitors, has had their life turned around.

The ‘overwhelmed’ Seaton resident for many years lived without heating, dangerous electrics and an unusable kitchen and bathroom – ending up in hospital while their home was deep cleaned and decluttered.

The resident, who has not been identified, had two years’ help to reclaim their life and now enjoys inviting visitors into their home.

East Devon

Clutter stopped the ‘overwhelmed’ resident from inviting visitors in.
Photo: EDDC

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has lifted the lid on how annually it steps in to help more than a dozen hoarder and self-neglect cases, in privately-owned and rented homes.

Councillor Dan Ledger, EDDC portfolio holder for sustainable homes and communities said: “This was a very unique case but like many others, this wasn’t just a quick fix, our officers worked closely with the resident over two years.

“We were able to maximise everything we could do, offering every assistance we were able to give, because this resident was eligible for it.

“It really is a good demonstration of the wonderful work and achievements of our hard-working officers, especially when it requires cross-department work, pulling in other organisations, going above and beyond the call of duty.”

He added: “In this case, the resident had become overwhelmed in their own home and didn’t know where to start.

“The help offered made a real impact on their quality of life and when we have revisited, the home is still spotless.

“The resident has since told officers how they couldn’t have done it without their support, and is so much happier now, especially as they can finally have visitors over, which they would have never done before.”

East Devon

The kitchen before the revamp.
Photo: EDDC.

Eats Devon

The new kitchen at the de-cluttered home.
Photo: EDDC.

EDDC said the Seaton resident was taken into hospital and could not be released until their home was clean and safe.

A spokesperson for the district council said: “A specially trained EDDC officer was called in, by a social worker, to help the resident who didn’t know where to start in their own home and had not allowed anyone to enter in years, out of embarrassment.

“The house, which hadn’t had anything done to it since it had been inherited, had begun to fall into a state of disrepair and needed to be decluttered, cleaned and have vital works done to make it liveable.”


The kitchen before, left, and now, right.
Photos: EDDC

The district council said the resident was helped by its environmental health private sector housing team.

The support included home visits, liaising with a social worker, district nurse and occupational therapist, and helping with grant and loan applications to make property repairs and tailored improvements – including a new boiler and specially-adapted bathroom.


The home was piled high with clutter.
Photos: EDDC.

If you are in a similar situation, or know someone who needs help, contact the EDDC environmental health private sector team. Email: pshousing@eastdevon.gov.uk or call 01395 571572.

Extra council cash is made available for homes struggling with the cost-of-living crisis in East Devon


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