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Can You Be Evicted from Assisted Living?

Get the answers to your questions about assisted living and eviction. Residents of assisted living communities have certain rights they can exercise.

By Arthur Bretschneider · Updated Aug 08, 2022

Although senior housing is typically under state rather than federal regulation, all housing falls under federal fair housing law. This includes retirement communities, assisted living facilities, adult foster care homes, and skilled nursing facilities.

This means that you can only be evicted from senior housing if you violate the lease agreement or contract.

Provisions for eviction:

  • Not paying rent
  • Destroyed property
  • Harassment of other residents
  • Violated rules related to noise, weapons, or pets
  • Behaving in a way that presents a direct threat to others

Unlawful reasons for eviction:

  • Race, color, national origin
  • Religion
  • Sex/gender
  • Disability

Some statutes include other protections as well. In California, you are legally protected from eviction based on:

  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Source of income
  • Medical condition
  • Ancestry
  • Genetic information
  • Arbitrary discrimination

You also cannot be evicted from housing because you refuse to follow a care plan, such as taking prescribed medications.

Even if the eviction notice does not explicitly state one of these, you may be able to prove that it is the real reason. If you feel you are being discriminated against by a senior community, document everything that occurs to help support these claims.

Reasonable accommodations

If you are evicted for something included in your lease or contract, you may be able to have the eviction reversed if you can address the problem with a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation would be something that does not cost too much, impose undue burden on the senior community, or requires them to fundamentally change what they provide.  

For example:

  • If you have a memory disorder, you can request a phone call to remind you to pay the rent.
  • If you are evicted for poor housekeeping and you can verify it is due to a disability, you can reverse the eviction by arranging for a cleaning service.
  • If you are evicted because your health has declined beyond what the senior community can assist with, you can request to bring in a private caregiver to provide additional help.

There is no limit on the number of times you can request reasonable accommodations. The senior community must address each new request. If the senior community denies your request, you can file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. However, if you receive repeated eviction notices and don’t follow through with the accommodation requests, the senior living community can move forward with eviction on the basis that your requests are imposing an undue burden.

Senior living communities don’t want to evict residents, but they do have an obligation to keep all of their residents safe and a right to maintain their property and business. Have clear conversations with the senior housing staff so you understand what is expected. They can help you with reasonable accommodations upfront, which is the best way to avoid being evicted. If you do receive an eviction notice, however, make sure you understand the reason and your rights for appealing. Seniorly staff can help answer your questions and direct you to appropriate resources as well.

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written by:
Arthur Bretscheider
Co-founder & CEO at Seniorly, third-generation senior housing operator with 20 years experience
View other articles written by Arthur

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