Broad Overview of the Califorina Eviction Process in Residential Care Facilities
If you or your loved one is currently being threatened with being evicted from a residential care facility or have recently been removed from one, contact my office for a free and confidential case evaluation.
The facility must strictly follow the law and if they don’t, the resident may be able to sue the facility for damages. A residential care facility is a highly regulated business and evicting a resident from a residential care facility is a complex legal procedure.
California has specific laws to protect residents in residential care facilities from being wrongfully evicted from their facility. See, Health and Safety Code § 1569.54(a)(2); 22 Cal Code Regs § 87701.3 – (steps to protect resident who must be relocated from transfer trauma).
To protect elderly persons, California law that must be complied with to lawfully transfer or evict a resident. Health and Safety Code § 1569.269(a)(22).
Persons may only be removed from a residential care facility for one or more of the following reasons:
- Not paid rent for 10 days;
- Broken the law and continues to break the law even after written notification of the violation;
- Failed to comply with one of the facilities written policies that are intended to make it possible for residents to live together AND is part of the admission agreement;
- If after an evaluation, it is determined the care facility is an inappropriate placement for the resident – 22 Cal. Code of Regulations § 87463;
- If the facility changes its purpose and no longer accommodates people like the resident.
- If the resident is engaged in behavior that is a threat to the physical and/or mental health and safety of themselves or others. 22 Cal. Code of Regulations § 87224(b).
But even if good cause exists to evict the resident, the facility must follow strict legal procedures, or the resident will be allowed to stay and may sue the facility for any harm they suffered.
Residential Care Facility Eviction Procedures
Eviction procedures are complex, and California has extensive regulations that govern eviction procedures in residential care facilities.
First, the facility must establish that they have a lawful reason for evicting the resident.
Second, the facility must follow the proper eviction procedures. Those procedures start with providing the resident an eviction notice.
Depending on the reason for the eviction, the facility may provide, 3-days, 30-days or 60-days’ notice.
Evicting a person from a residential care facility on 3 days’ notice is even more complicated. If you, a loved one or a friend has received a 3-day notice at their facility, contact me for a free consultation.
There are many rules and procedures that must be followed. If any rule or eviction procedure is overlooked, then the resident may have significant recourse against the facility.
A 3-day eviction notice may only be used if (1) the resident must have engaged in behavior that threatens the safety of themselves or others; and (2) the facility has first obtained written permission from the Department of Social Services. 22 Cal. Code of Regulations § 87224(b).
The facility has the burden of providing evidence that supports evicting the resident on 3-days’ notice.
To evict a resident for (any reason listed in 22 Cal. Code of Regulations § 87224(a)) the residential care facility must give the resident 30 days written notice. See, 22 Cal. Code of Regulations § 87224(a).
If the resident has lived at the facility more than 1 year, the facility must give 60 days’ written notice. California Civil Code §§ 1946.1(b)(c).
The Notice Must be in Writing and Contain Specific Language
All evictions notices provided to residents in residential care facilities MUST be in writing. If the notice is not in writing, then the facility may not lawfully evict the resident.
The notice must contain all the following. If it doesn’t, then the notice is not legally valid. If you have been served with an eviction notice, contact my office for a free review and consultation. Health and Safety Code §1569.683; 22 Cal. Code of Regulations § 87224.
- The date the resident is required to leave the facility;
- The reasons that the resident is being evicted, including sufficient facts that will allow the resident and their lawyer to determine the circumstances and persons with knowledge of them;
- Information regarding alternative housing and resources the resident can use to find alternative housing;
- All necessary information regarding the residents right to file a complaint with the department of social services regarding the eviction AND information about how to contact the state ombudsman.
The eviction notice must also contain the following statement:
“In order to evict a resident who remains in the facility after the effective date of the eviction, the residential care facility for the elderly must file an unlawful detainer action in superior court and receive a written judgment signed by a judge. If the facility pursues the unlawful detainer action, you must be served with a summon and complaint. You have the right to contest the eviction in writing and through a hearing.”
Any eviction notice served on a resident of a residential care facility that does not contain any of this information is invalid.
The eviction notice must also be properly served on both the resident and the resident’s responsible person. That means personally serving the notice on the resident and mailing a copy to the resident’s responsible person.
A responsible person means a person that has authority to act for the resident.
Typically, the responsible person is a guardian, conservator, the residents authorized agent (power of attorney or health care directive), their spouse, domestic partner, family member or person chosen by the resident to act in the capacity of a responsible person.
In cases, where the facility has served a 3-day notice they are also required to provide a copy to the Department of Social Services.
If you or a loved one are being evicted from a residential care facility, contact my office for a free case evaluation. I can review the notice and give you advice regarding your options.
Ways a Resident May Challenge the Eviction
Further, facilities may not use the eviction process to retaliate or otherwise discriminate against residents.
Residents at residential care facilities are also afforded all protections under state landlord-tenant law. That includes the Federal Fair Housing Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and the American’s with Disabilities Act, (ADA).
A resident at a residential care facility has the same rights as an ordinary tenant living in an apartment. They may sue their landlord for violations of those rights. That may include, wrongful eviction, retaliation, and engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices.
In addition, the resident facing an eviction at a residential care facility may also be protected by the American with Disabilities Act. Here’s a list of some of the options that could be available to you.
If you are facing an eviction or transfer at a residential care facility, contact me for a free and confidential case evaluation. I may be able to assist you with the following:
Filing a Complaint with the Department of Social Services & Request an Investigation
One of the first tools available to a resident and their attorney is filing a complaint with the Department of Social Services and requesting an investigation of the facility.
This investigation may turn up violations of the resident’s rights that immediately halt the facilities efforts to remove them.
Challenging the Eviction in Court
Second, a resident may also hire an attorney and challenge the eviction in court. In some cases, an attorney can find violations that will prevent the facility from completing the eviction.
In other cases, an attorney can identify violations that allow the resident to sue the facility for their failure to follow the law in starting an eviction.
A good lawyer can be a great resource for a resident facing an eviction. I strongly urge you to contact my office if you are in the situation.
Suing the Facility for Violating the Residents Rights
Some of the violations an attorney may find could give rise to a separate lawsuit for several violations of the law. In many cases, the violations are clear and can be easily proven.
Here is a list of some potential causes of action that may arise when a residential care facility doesn’t follow the law evicting a resident.
If a residential care facility forcibly tries to remove a resident without following the legal procedures required to evict them, that could give rise to an action for wrongful eviction.
Such an action may include allegations that the facility violated California Civil Code § 1160 (if refuses to readmit patient after a short stay at the hospital and his or her medical condition is still appropriate for an RCFE).
It may also include an allegation of forcible entry and detainer under California Civil Code §1159 (if the facility enters the resident’s room and attempts to forcibly remove the resident by (“force, threats or menacing conduct”).
If the facility locks the resident out or removes their possessions from the facility, then it may include allegations of violations of Civil Code § 739. That code section comes with significant remedies for a tenant. They include any actual damages sustained by the resident, $100.00 for each day the landlord remains in violation of the statute, attorney’s fees for the resident’s lawyer, injunctive relief to prevent the continued violation.
California Civil Code § 1942.5
It is illegal to retaliate against or attempt to evict a resident for an unlawful purpose. California Civil Code § 1942.5 et seq.
If a residential care facility attempts to evict a resident within 180 days after the resident does any of the following, then the resident has a defense against the eviction:
Takes any action pursuant to California Civil Code §§ 1940 through 1954.05;
Makes any complaint with the Department of Social Services or another agency about the tenantability of the residence.
Further, it is unlawful retaliation for a residential care facility to evict a resident for organizing other residents or exercising their other rights under the law.
California Government Code § 12955(f) – California’s Fair Housing Act
And of course, it is always illegal to retaliate against a resident for exercising any right granted to them under the Federal or California Fair Housing Act.
That includes a resident complaining about violations of fair housing laws at the facility or cooperating or assisting law enforcement in their investigation or efforts to investigate fair housing violations.
In addition to wrongful eviction, a facility that physically removes an elder from the facility or locks them out may also be sued for elder abuse.
California has extensive laws that protect people over the age of 65 from certain types of physical and financial harm. See, California Welfare and Institutions Code §§ 15600 – 15675.
You can read more about the elder abuse laws here, but for purposes of eviction, this is what you need to know. In California, Elder Abuse is broadly defined as –
“Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult” means either of the following:
(a) Physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering.
(b) The deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering. California Welfare and Institutions Code § 15610.07.
If the resident proves the actions of the facility in attempting to evict them rise to the level of elder abuse, the resident may be awarded additional damages. These include attorney’s fees and potentially punitive damages.
Get Help Now
If you or a loved one are being evicted from a residential care facility, contact my office for a free case evaluation.