What You Should Expect to See in an Assisted Living Contract

Assisted Living Communities across the country are legally required to enter into a contract with a prospective resident before or at the time of admission to a particular facility. Although there is some variation in the statutes and regulations associated with assisted living contracts from one state to another, the essential requirements essentially are the same from California to Florida and all states in between. In this article, we provide an overview of what you can expect to find in an assisted living contract.

Common Elements of an Assisted Living Contract

In the same way that there can be some variation in what is required to be in an assisted living agreement from one state to another, each assisted living facility (or operating company or individual owner) uses its own contract. Thus, there will be at least some differences in contracts from one assisted living community to another (provided the contract complies with state law and regulations). The primary elements of a typical assisted living community agreement are:

  • Accommodations and services
  • Fees
  • Your rights and responsibilities
  • Termination of agreement

These primary elements of an assisted living contract are broken down further. Each of these elements typically includes sections that address several material (or important) aspects of the agreement between the assisted living community and a resident.

Accommodations and Services

The topics addressed in the accommodations and services section of an assisted living facility agreement usually include the following:

  • Accommodations
  • Apartment
  • Decoration and alterations
  • Basic services
  • Meals and snacks
  • Activities
  • Common areas
  • Transportation
  • Health and personal care services
  • Observation
  • Health needs that the community cannot satisfy or provide
  • Assistance with basic activities of daily living
  • Assistance with instrumental activities of daily living
  • Assistance with storage and management of medications
  • Health Records
  • Excluded services


Four primary issues are addressed regarding fees in an assisted living agreement with a resident:

  • Basic Services Rate
  • Adjustments to Rates
  • Absences from Community
  • Security Deposit

Your Rights and Responsibilities

An assisted living contract enumerates the rights and responsibilities of a resident of a particular community. The three major elements typically found in this section of an assisted living facility contract usually are:

  • Rules and Regulations
  • No Proprietary Interests
  • Absences

Termination of Agreement

Finally, a primary section of a typical assisted living contract in the United States details how that agreement can be terminated. The agreement sets forth the steps that need to be taken to accomplish each particular type of termination:

  • By You
  • By the Community
  • Death
  • Vacating Apartment and Refund
  • Release From Obligations

Who Signs Assisted Living Community Contract?

An assisted living community agreement is signed by a duly authorized representative of the company that operates the facility. The contract is signed by the prospective resident (becoming a resident when the agreement is executed or signed by both parties). If a prospective resident lacks the legal capacity to enter into a contract, the agreement is signed by that individual’s representative (conservator or an individual who previously had been granted a power of attorney to act on behalf of the prospective resident regarding financial matters).

Can You Add Clauses to an Assisted Living Contract?

You may like to have something added to an assisted living contract. It is possible that you may be able to get something important to you added to an assisted living facility contract. Having noted that such an addition may be possible, the likelihood of it happening depends significantly on the position of a particular assisted living community regarding contracts with residents.

While the possibility may exist that some addition by a resident to an assisted living contract might be accepted by a facility, the probability that such addition will occur is not highly probable. Assisted living communities usually utilize form contracts for residents.

What to Do Before Signing an Assisted Living Contract

You must read the assisted living contract before signing. The California Long-Term Care Ombudsman and similar officials in other states routinely hear from residents of assisted living communities complaining about something or another in an assisted living contract. Time and again, it is discovered that a resident did not appropriately read and review an assisted living contract before signing the document.

Many assisted living agreements are 50 pages or longer. Although ideally, these contracts are written in plain language, they typically are written in legalese. If you do not understand an assisted living agreement, hire an attorney to review the contract for you. If you have questions about an assisted living contract, get answers before you enter into the agreement. Therefore, an assisted living community is highly likely to value uniformity in its contracts.