Can Assisted Living Take Your House?

Author: Andrea Miller

Reviewed By: Rachel Rose

Assisted living can take your house if you sign a contract for services and don’t make the agreed-upon payments. If they sue you for the past-due balance and win, you must pay the court judgment. Otherwise, the assisted living community has the right to place a lien on your home, which could impact your ability to sell in the future.

What Is a Lien?

Judges use liens to collect debt. If an assisted living community files a lien on your house, it becomes public record. In this case, if you attempt to sell or refinance a property that has a lien, you have to clear it first by repaying the debt.

Most liens appear in public records, enabling you to conduct a search to determine if one affects your home. This search can usually be done through local government websites or by visiting county clerk’s offices, where detailed records of property liens are maintained. For example, if you’re looking for property in Maricopa County, AZ, you would use the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office website.  

Are Caregivers Responsible for Family Members’ Long-Term Care Debt?

Caregivers don’t take on family members’ long-term care debt. Federal law stops nursing homes and assisted living facilities from suing family members after a resident dies or becomes unable to pay. In addition, the Nursing Home Reform Act prevents long-term care communities from asking family members to guarantee a resident’s debt.

On the other hand, if you signed the long-term care contract as a guarantor for a loved one, you would be legally responsible for the debt. In this case, you must arrange to pay or the assisted living community could file a lawsuit against you.