By Atty. Anne R. Tessier
In Massachusetts, when you move into an Assisted Living Residence (ALR) you are entitled to many of the same rights and protections as other residential tenants.
What fees may an ALR charge when you move in? As with other residential rental agreements, an ALR may collect fees up front for first and last month’s rent, a security deposit equal to first month’s rent, the cost of installing a new lock, and the cost of providing a key.
May an ALR charge other additional fees when you move in? An ALR may charge upfront for the cost of activities and other services that are provided in addition to the tenancy. As well as the fees listed above, they may also charge for services such as personal assistance and care, housekeeping, social activities, and recreational activities.
May an ALR charge fees for damages or capital improvements when you move in? An ALR must comply with landlord security deposit laws. They may not charge fees for costs covering damages, capital improvements, or even processing admissions applications, without running the risk of violating those laws.
Must an ALR comply with landlord-tenant law for an eviction? Yes, just as with other types of residential tenancies, ALRs must provide proper eviction notices and comply with residential landlord-tenant laws before evicting a resident.
Recent court cases have held that tenants of ALRs are entitled to many of the same rights and protections as other tenants under landlord-tenant laws, including what fees may be charged up front when moving in and how they may evict a tenant. Further, an ALR’s failure to comply with these laws may be considered an unfair trade or practice in violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection laws.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs regulates Assisted Living Facilities, residents’ rights, agreements and evictions. To learn more about rights and protections when choosing an Assisted Living Residence see Assisted Living in Massachusetts: A Consumer Guide, at https://www.mass.gov/topics/assisted-living.