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At What Point Do We Call Health Services?

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SmilingDog

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Every once in a while I will do an appraisal inspection that simply defies all perception of decent living. I have done appraisals and field reviews with interior inspections where the house is so disgustingly dirty, filthy, rat infested... you get the idea... I feel bad for the people that live there in those conditions, especially if tenants with children.

But what shoudl we do or not do?

Has ANYONE ever filed a complaint with health service in their city? Is it worth bothering getting involved?
 

Darrell Hignite

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I have taken interior pictures just for this reason, then called for their email address....I can send pictures anywhere PDF.....Then my conscience if free.
 

Travis McGee

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2004
Hi George. I have not done the kinds of property inspections you are doing in a long time (did when I was first starting) and so have not called. Glad to hear you are observant and have a conscience. IF it just adults, it is there problem, But if there are children or very old people, it would be worth it to call - try it at least once, see how involving it is . Might not take up too much time and you will feel great. I don't see places like this but make contributions on a regular basis in my area- anything we can do makes a difference. Good luck.
 

Sean Braudrick

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
IMHO - as an appraiser, it's not your responsibility HOWEVER - if there are children involved, I feel it's your responsibility as a human being to report it to social services

If it's just adults, just don't accept the dinner invite!
 

Dick Hemry GAA

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
call the Board of Health regardless if children or not. Property is a blight in/on the neighborhood. Should be cleaned up for neighbors sake if nothing else.
 

Liz South

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Virginia
Did one and called social services - never heard back from them. The best part was the owner's statement that "if I had known you were coming, I would have cleaned up". I had called 4 days before and set up the appointment with his wife.

The house had lots of penicillin in the raw. No clothes in the closet, all over the floor (so I walked on them).

My female bias is that as long as there no kids in the picture, I don't care how you live, but bring kids in the picture and I get alot more protective.

Enjoying a great Saturday here on the east coast.

Liz S. :yellowblack:
 

Judy Whitehead (Florida)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
We've kind of gone through this issue before and most opinions were very divided. I do report in the appraisal exactly what condition the house is in, of course. The worst I ever had was a local Episcopal priest and his family living in one of our big turn of the century beautiful homes. It was one of the worst pigstys I ever saw inside. I had to step on dirty underwear and trash to wade through the house. His daughter and grandchildren were living with them, as well. Of course I did not see rats or any unusual head count of bugs (this is Florida, after all).

I think if it were really bad and appeared unsafe, I would call. Calls can be anonymous and at least you tried.
 

Blue1

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Generally speaking, my thought is that folks have the right to live as clean or dirty as they want. However, I would draw the line if I witnessed child or adult abuse.
 

Mickey Stevens

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Dom. Republic
I worked for Child Protective Services for 5 years after I got out of college. I saw a lot of the kind of homes you're talking about. More often than not the kids are healthy and seem to survive. We couldn't do much about it unless we could show an effect on the kids health. I had one family that I tried for a year to get them to clean the house. We had a contract with an agency that would send a homemaker out to teach them to clean. I tried that for several months and they would just sit and watch her clean. The kids were all healthy so I couldn't justify removing them from the home. This was in a small town with no health dept. of it's own. I got a guy from the state health dept to come out and do an assessment. He wrote a good letter to the people but it still didn't help. In a private residence the state health dept. couldn't force them to do anything either. I finally just gave up and closed the case.

Should you report it to someone? I guess that depends on how bad you think it is. If you're not sure I'd say go ahead and report and let CPS or the health dept. make the decision. They may not be able to do anything but it doesn't hurt to make a call. If you truly believe a child is in danger from this type of situation, most states have laws that require child abuse/neglect reporting.
 

Steve Owen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Missouri
Mickey's post is interesting because of the point that the authorities have to show an effect on health. In other words, being dirty, by itself, may not necessarily be abuse. However, you mentioned rats; that could be a really serious problem. As an appraiser, you should report the infestation in your report. Whether you must report it to the authorities or not may depend on state law or local codes. In my state, we have a number of what are called mandatory child abuse reporters. They include case managers, police officers, teachers, etc. Appraisers are not included as madatory reporters in this state. What that really means has legal technicalities that I am not competent to speak to. If it was my deal, and I saw rats, I would probably make an annonymous call to the child abuse hotline. They will investigate and if there is abuse or neglect they will deal with the situation. However, I don't believe there is any legal requirement for you to report it (at least not in this location).
 
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