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CCL Issues New Policies to Protect RCFE Residents from Unlawful Evictions
CANHR is very pleased to report that Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing (CCL), has issued new policies aimed at protecting residents of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) from unlawful evictions. The policies are posted at http://ccld.ca.gov/res/pdf/11rcfe01.pdf
CANHR and other advocacy organizations urged the Department to establish the policies and worked extensively with the Department to develop them.
Some highlights include:
Expanded Eviction Rights of Residents: The policies direct CCL staff to enforce protections added by SB 781 (Leno) in 2009. SB 781 requires RCFEs to notify residents that they cannot be evicted if they stay at the facility beyond the eviction notice period unless the RCFE files an unlawful detainer action in superior court and obtains a written judgment signed by a judge. RCFEs must also advise residents that they have a right to fight evictions in court and comply with other requirements of SB 781.
Resident’s Right to Care While Eviction Pending: Residents who challenge evictions often worry that they will be neglected. The policies address this issued directly by instructing CCL staff to inform the RCFE that it must continue to provide care and supervision to, and meet the needs of, a resident for as long as that resident resides in the facility.
Rights of Persons Who Become Eligible for SSI to Stay in the Facility: The policies help prevent unlawful evictions of residents who run out of money. Citing California regulations, the policies strongly assert that RCFEs cannot evict private paying residents for nonpayment when they qualify for SSI and begin paying the SSI rate for basic services. The policies state: “Thus, when a resident in a residential care facility for the elderly becomes a recipient of Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment benefits, the facility must continue to provide basic services to the resident at the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment basic rate.”
Limiting 3-Day Evictions: The policies help prevent inappropriate approvals of 3-day evictions – which require prior written approval from CCL – by placing the burden of proof on the RCFE to establish that good cause exists. Further, they require CCL to interview the resident and witnesses in these situations and to examine whether the RCFE has met its duties to the resident. The policy states that an involuntary psychiatric hold, known as a 5150, is not by itself sufficient evidence for a 3-day eviction notice. When a resident does not leave the facility after receiving an approved 3-day eviction notice, the policies direct the facility to seek an unlawful detainer action in superior court if it wishes to pursue eviction.
Proactive Reviews of Eviction Notices: Under current regulations, RCFEs must submit a written report of any eviction to CCL within 5 days of servicing the resident. When it receives these reports, the policies instruct CCL to promptly review them, evaluate compliance with all eviction requirements, and contact the resident for information if necessary. If the RCFE is engaged in an unlawful eviction, the policies require that “appropriate citations must be issued.”
Enforcement: The policies state that “the licensee must be cited” if he/she does not comply with eviction requirements. Additionally, if a facility issues an invalid notice, the policies require CCL to “advise the licensee that he/she must immediately notify the resident and/or the resident’s responsible person or conservator in writing that the timeframe for the thirty (30) day, or three (3) day eviction process, will not begin until the resident is properly served with a corrected eviction notice that complies with the requirements of Health and Safety Code section 1569.683.”