California Self-Help Evictions & Nursing Home Patients
Nursing home facilities provide safety and ongoing care for all their residents in California. Unfortunately, residents commonly face self-help evictions from nursing homes or evictions without court orders. The California Attorney General recently warned the police against enforcing these evictions, as they are illegal under California law.
Residents of nursing homes have a wide range of legal protections that protect them from self-help evictions. If a loved one is facing a self-help eviction from a long-term care facility, they can defend their rights with legal help from a California nursing home abuse lawyer from Berberian Ain LLP.
What Are Self-Help Evictions in California?
A self-help eviction happens when nursing homes force residents out without a legal court order. Nursing homes may use the following methods to push out residents from their rooms:
- Ordering the resident to leave
- Using threats and harassment to intimidate the resident
- Refusing to readmit (illegally lockout) residents who leave for short-term hospital stays
- Using police resources such as threatening arrest for trespassing to force residents to leave
What are the Effects of Self-Help Evictions?
Residents can face extreme hardship from a self-help eviction. These evictions can leave residents without permanent home options, support systems, and necessary medical care.
Self-help evicted residents may also suffer transfer trauma and become lost and confused. As a result, residents become isolated from their loved ones and may become depressed, which can cause further decline in mental functioning and premature death.
Can Nursing Homes or Assisted Living Facilities Evict a Resident in California?
Federal and California laws offer legal protections for residents to stay in a nursing home. Under these laws, nursing homes and assisted living facilities can only evict residents for the following reasons:
Need for Extensive Medical Care
A nursing home may deem it necessary for a resident to receive care from another facility after assessing their physical condition. Residents can voluntarily relocate and receive assistance from their nursing home to find an alternative facility.
Failure to Pay for Services
The resident must make arrangements with the nursing home or assisted living facility to pay privately or with Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary (SSI/SSP). California law permits eviction if a resident doesn’t pay for essential services within 10 days of the due date.
Inability to Follow Nursing Home Policies
Residents must agree to a nursing home’s written policies to live at the facility with others. They can face eviction if they refuse to follow general policy rules. A violation of these rules may involve a resident committing behavior that endangers themselves, other residents, and facility staff members.
Refusal of Compliance with Federal and Local Laws
If a resident refuses to follow state or local laws despite receiving a notice, they can undergo eviction from the facility. The home may remove a resident if they use illegal drugs, assault staff or residents, or commit a probation violation.
Facility No Longer Operates as a Residential Care Facility
Evictions are possible for residents if the facility stops operations. If a facility surrenders its license and can no longer function as a facility for elderly patients, it may serve evictions for its residents.
What Rights Do California Residents Have Against Evictions?
There are specific procedures that nursing homes and assisted living facilities must follow before evicting residents, even if legal reasons exist. Required steps include the following:
Serve Notice of Eviction
The facility must serve notice of eviction to the resident within 30 days. The facility can send the letter directly to the residents. They can also send the notice to the resident’s legal agents, such as a power of attorney or their legal representatives.
List of Requirements in the Notice
The notice must contain the following elements:
- Date of the eviction
- Reason(s) for the eviction according to federal and state law
- Eviction details such as dates, places, circumstances, and witness statements
- Overview of public and private referral services and case management organizations to help with housing and care options
- Right of residents to complain about their evictions to the Department of Social Services, including the address and contact information of the local Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
- Statement about the legal process for the facility and the rights of the resident to appeal in court
Some exceptions exist for serving notice within the 30-day notice. An eviction must occur within 3 days if the resident exhibits dangerous behavior against themselves and others in the facility, such as a physical or sexual assault.
Facilities that cease or change operations must notify residents 60 days in advance. It must include a plan for relocation, recommendations that meet the resident’s needs, and a list of facilities within a 60-mile radius.
Court Order Eviction
Evictions from nursing homes are similar to evictions from houses and apartments. The facility must go to court and get an order from the judge to enact an eviction. Residents must receive a summons and complaint and are entitled to an eviction hearing.
How Can California Residents Protect Their Rights Against Self-Help Evictions?
Residents and their families can work with a nursing home abuse lawyer to protect their rights to lawful eviction if they face an illegal self-help eviction from a facility. If your loved one’s living facility attempts a self-eviction, help protect their rights by doing the following:
- If your loved one receives a verbal threat of eviction from the nursing home, advise them not to follow the instructions. They must receive a written notice from the facility for a legal eviction.
- Upon receiving the written notice, your lawyer can review the document to determine if it follows all the legal standards under California law. The eviction notice must meet all legal requirements, including identifying one of the legal grounds for the eviction and providing all relevant details.
- If the reason for an eviction is unlawful, the lawyer can help your loved one exercise their rights to a judicial hearing. An experienced lawyer can challenge the notice and any unreasonable means the facility uses to evict the resident.
You Can Protect Your Rights With Berberian Ain Law
A self-help eviction requires working with the lawyers at Berberian Ain LLP, who have experience handling nursing home eviction cases. Our attorneys can assess your loved one with their eviction case by examining the facts and providing guidance on their legal options.
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation to ensure your loved one’s rights to fair eviction practices are protected.