TRENTON – The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill that would permit senior citizen tenants to terminate their leases early when accepted into an assisted living or retirement community.
“There comes a point in many seniors’ lives when they realize it is no longer possible for them to live on their own,” said Senator Gill, D-Essex and Passaic. “Unfortunately, this realization doesn’t conveniently come at the end of their residential lease. Our seniors shouldn’t be economically penalized because of the effects of the passage of time. They should be free to move to an assisted living community when they and their family feel it is the right time.”
The bill, S-2112, would authorize the termination of a lease when the lessee or their spouse, either of whom is age 62 or older, is accepted into an assisted living facility, continuing care retirement community or housing reserved for low or moderate income households. Current law only permits the breaking of a lease upon loss of income from disability or when the landlord is unwilling to make the dwelling handicapped-accessible. Many elderly people find themselves unable to live on their own without falling under the current conditions necessary to break a lease yet the terms of their lease make it impossible for them to move without severely impacting their financial well-being.
“Our seniors deserve all the support we can give them,” added Senator Gill. “When they feel it is necessary for their own health and safety to move into an assisted living or retirement community, they need to be able to make that decision without being strapped to the apartment they are currently living in.”
The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee passed the bill by a vote of 5-0. It now goes to the full Senate for their consideration.