Nursing Home Evictions During COVID
- Read this in:
- Spanish / Español
The moratorium on involuntary nursing home discharges is expected to end on May 31, 2021. There is help and resources available to nursing home residents who are at risk of losing their housing, but it is important to act quickly. A lawyer may be able to help prevent a nursing home discharge. Iowa Legal Aid helps low-income, elderly, and other vulnerable Iowans in a variety of civil legal matters.
People living in certain kinds of care facilities are not subject to the usual laws that regulate evictions. This includes nursing homes, but not assisted living -- assisted living is treated like normal rental housing for the purposes of eviction. Evictions from places like nursing homes are called "involuntary discharges." Instead of a court hearing, involuntary discharges are heard by an administrative law judge at the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. People can be discharged for a number of reasons, such as nonpayment of the portion of the monthly payment they are responsible for, but also when the facility cannot appropriately handle their care or behavior. People cannot be forced to leave without a plan for how they will be safely transferred or discharged. People must also receive proper notice and a hearing before being discharged.
Governor Reynolds halted all cases involving involuntary discharge for nonpayment in a proclamation issued March 26, 2020. This moratorium has been extended several times, but is currently expected to expire May 31, 2021. This means that all pending nonpayment discharge cases should be stopped, and any new nonpayment discharge cases cannot begin until after the state of emergency is lifted.
Unfortunately, nursing homes and other care facilities will sometimes try to avoid the proper discharge process by sending a resident to a hospital and then refusing to let them come back. If this happens, the resident may still be able to appeal the discharge by filing an appeal with Department of Inspections and Appeals, even if they did not initially receive a proper notice.
Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans.
To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:call 800-532-1275.
- Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161 or apply online at iowalegalaid.org
- If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website iowabar.org. A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.
- As of March 18, 2020, our offices are closed for walk-ins until further notice, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
*As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice.