Property Tax Limitations, Hoarding Disorder, and Observed Hoarding Behavior
By Joshua Hall
Individuals with a hoarding disorder (HD) have difficulty discarding or giving away possessions. HD often leads to an accumulation of materials over time that can greatly affect the quality of life for hoarders and their families. To my knowledge there is not a comprehensive measure of HD by geographic area to see if there is geographic variation in observed HD behavior. My hypothesis here is related to observed HD behavior, not the cause of HD. Many US states have enacted property tax limitations. In some cases, like California's Proposition 13, these limitations put a cap on the annual increases in property taxation as long as the home is not sold. On the margin, this encourages people not to move when their housing needs change, such as when there are no longer any children in the house. To the extent that moving forces the elimination of some possessions, property tax limitations such as those in California under Proposition 13 should lead to an increase in observed HD behavior.