A newly signed law clamps down on how long retirement facilities can hold onto senior citizens’ Continuing Care Retirement Communities fees, a move which advocates say could benefit upwards of 10,000 seniors across the state.
Under the new measure, Assembly Bill 2747, which Gov. Phil Murphy signed Friday, CCRC facilities such as assisted living facilities and long-term care units are limited in how long they can hold onto these refundable fees after a resident leaves the facility.
These fees often number in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and under contracts prior to the signing of the law, could be held indefinitely while senior facilities look for new residents, often a yearslong process.
The new law limits how long senior facilities can hold onto the fee, but as for a timeline only indicates that “residents should see shorter wait times for the refundable entrance fee.”
“For far too long, retirees and estate holders have been victimized by a system that allowed greedy CCRCs to hold their scare financial resources hostage for years on end,” said Sen. Kip Bateman, R-16th District, and a sponsor of the measure.
Bateman pointed to the story of Patricia Lund, who in 2009 left a senior facility after having lived there two years to move in with her family. But, according to Bateman, she still hadn’t received her refundable entrance fee of over $160,000, Bateman said.
“Absent a maximum refunding period, there is little incentive for the facility managers to aggressively market any particular vacant unit,” reads a joint statement from Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey, both D-11th District and A2747 sponsors.