Résidents en maisons de retraite : quelle actualité ?

A l’heure où une polémique fait rage sur les tarifs des maisons de retraite et où la Secrétaire d’Etat aux Aînés tente de rassurer les familles sur ce point, deux décisions de justice récentes retiennent l’attention en ce qui concerne la prise en charge des personnes âgées en maison de retraite et les conséquences qui en découlent, notamment au plan du logement. L’une d’elle a été rendue par la Cour de cassation, s’agissant du placement dans une maison de retraite d’une personne âgée locataire et le sort subséquemment réservé à la location de son domicile. L’autre décision a été rendue par le Conseil d’Etat, s’agissant des conditions de renouvellement de la prise en charge de l’aide sociale et des frais d’hébergement en EHPAD ((Etablissement hébergeant des personnes âgées dépendantes.)).

Site de Pat. Seiler - CONGRES FNADEPA juin 2009 (Cité des Sciences PARIS)Placement dans une maison de retraite et abandon de domicile

Lorsque le locataire abandonne, volontairement ou non, son domicile, la loi n°89-462 du 6 juillet 1989 (art. 14) détermine une liste limitative de bénéficiaires de la continuation du bail. Pour autant, l’expression « abandon de domicile » n’a pas été définie par ladite loi. On sait simplement, d’après la jurisprudence ((Cass. Soc., 20 juillet 1953, D. 1953. 631.)), que le départ doit être brusque et imprévisible. Il résulte logiquement qu’un départ annoncé ne peut être considéré comme un abandon de domicile (ex : retour au pays d’origine ou séparation concertée).

L’attendu principal de la décision de la Cour de cassation ((Cass. Civ. 3ème, 26 novembre 2008, n°07-17.728.)) mérite d’être repoduit :

« Attendu que pour rejeter la demande en continuation de bail, l’arrêt retient que Mme […], locataire de l’appartement litigieux, a été hospitalisée à l’hôpital du 15 mars 2003 au 2 mai 2003, puis à la clinique du 2 mai 2003 au 4 août 2003, date de son admission à la maison de retraite, qu’il résulte du certificat médical établi le 17 janvier 2005 que, pour une raison de santé impérative qui nécessitait des soins et une prise en charge adaptés dans une maison médicalisée pour personnes âgées, le maintien de Mme […] à son domicile était impossible, qu’il est ainsi établi que l’hospitalisation de Mme […] a été motivée par la nécessité de lui prodiguer des soins, qui en raison de son âge et de son état de santé, ne pouvaient l’être à son domicile, et non par la nécessité de lui faire subir une intervention chirurgicale urgente, que le placement de Mme […] en maison de retraite est intervenu à l’issue d’un séjour hospitalier de plus de quatre mois, que ce placement, qui suppose une procédure préalable d’admission, ne peut être considéré comme un événement brutal et imprévisible ;

Qu’en statuant ainsi, alors que le placement définitif d’un locataire en maison de retraite imposé à une des personnes mentionnées à l’article 14 de la loi du 6 juillet 1989 constitue un abandon de domicile au sens de cet article, la cour d’appel a violé le texte susvisé ; »

Les juges de la cour d’appel, dont l’arrêt a été censuré, ont peut-être pensé que le placement était dû à une maladie lente et évolutive, telle qu’Alzheimer. Mais la Cour de cassation en a décidé autrement. ((Pour approfondir cette question, les lecteurs peuvent utilement se reporter à la revue Actualité Juridique Droit de l’immobilier 2009, p. 453 (note Nicolas DAMAS).))

Site de Pat. Seiler - dessin réalisé pour la MEAHAide sociale et frais d’hébergement des personnes âgées : précisions sur les conditions de renouvellement de la prise en charge

La seconde décision présente à juger un point plus délicat, spécialement sur le plan humain et financier.

Une personne âgée a été accueillie dans une maison de retraite à Limoges avec, depuis le 1er mai 1999 et pour une durée de 5 ans, une prise en charge de ses frais d’hébergement par l’aide sociale, ses droits expirant le 30 avril 2004. Mais l’Union départementale des associations familiales (UDAF) de la Dordogne, tuteur de l’intéressé, n’a demandé le renouvellement de l’aide que le 7 mars 2005.

L’admission à l’aide sociale n’a donc commencé à courir qu’à compter de cette date. L’UDAF a alors contesté la décision de la commission départementale d’aide sociale (CDAS) de la Haute-Vienne en tant qu’elle fixait la date d’effet au 7 mars 2005 alors que l’association requérante revendiquait une prise d’effet rétroactive au 1er mai 2004 afin de ne pas pénaliser le pensionnaire, personne particulièrement vulnérable. La commission centrale de l’action sociale (CCAS) a alors confirmé la décision de la CDAS, contre laquelle l’UDAF s’est pourvue en cassation devant le Conseil d’Etat.

La Haute juridiction a suivi son commissaire du gouvernement dans ses conclusions ((RDSS 2009, p. 532.)) , Mme Anne COURREGE, et qui a considéré que :

« En réalité, il nous semble possible de considérer, dans ce cadre, que le renouvellement n’a qu’une portée recognitive. Il constate la persistance du besoin ayant justifié l’admission à l’aide sociale, besoin qui n’a bien évidemment pas disparu du seul fait que la date fixée par l’administration est atteinte. A cette aune, on peut admettre que le renouvellement des droits puisse rétroagir à la date de l’expiration de la précédente prise en charge. Même si l’analogie a ses limites, vous pouvez trouver une inspiration dans votre jurisprudence selon laquelle le fonctionnaire doit être placé dans une situation régulière ou encore dans celle qui considère que la « nature des choses » ou le risque de vide juridique peut impliquer certains effets rétroactifs de décisions individuelles. »

Dans son arrêt du 23 mars 2009, le Conseil d’Etat ((CE, 23 mars 2009, n°303888.)) a considéré que la commission centrale d’aide sociale avait commis une erreur de droit. Une solution dont il faut saluer le bon sens.

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