Private seniors’ residences (RPA) are a type of rental housing for independent and semi-independent seniors. They offer personal care and assistance. They are privately owned and operated but must meet government standards of quality and safety to get certified.
How to Apply
Apply directly to the residence you want. The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS or department of health) website has a register of private seniors’ residences you can search by region or by services offered (French only).
The residence may want to evaluate your independence to see what your needs are. It can refuse you if, for example, you need services it doesn’t offer.
Once you’ve chosen and been accepted by a residence, you sign a lease. A lease is the legal agreement you have with the residence that says what you and the residence must do. To learn about the responsibilities of landlords and tenants, see the Renting section of our website.
Choosing Your Services
Before signing the lease, the residence must give you a list of the personal care and assistance services it offers and their cost. Here are examples:
- help with bathing and dressing
- housekeeping and laundry
- help with medication
- nursing care
- social activities
You choose the services you want to include in your lease, and the cost becomes part of your monthly rent.
If you want any personal services that are not included in your rent, you pay for them separately when you use them.
The residence might include some general services with your unit, such as heating or internet access.
At-home support for people with a loss of autonomy is available even if you live in a private seniors’ residence because the residence is your home. Contact your local community services centre (CLSC).
Signing the Lease
The residence must use the standard lease form available from the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL, formerly Régie du logement or rental board).
The residence must attach a document called Schedule 6 to the lease. It is also available from the TAL and includes these things:
- services included in your basic rent
- personal care and assistance services you have chosen and their cost
- your total monthly cost including basic rent and personal care and assistance services
The residence must also give you a copy of the building rules, such as rules for using common areas.
You can learn more about signing a lease in a private seniors’ residence on the TAL’s website.
Each month, you pay the total monthly rent set out in the lease.
When it’s time to renew your lease, the residence might want to increase the rent or cost of personal services included in your lease. The residence must send you a written notice. You can refuse the change in writing within 30 days of receiving the notice. To learn more, see our article “Renewing a Residential Lease and Rent Increases”.
Important! Newly constructed residences that have been open for less than five years may have different rules. Ask questions and read the lease carefully before signing.
Quality and Safety Standards
The government sets quality and safety standards the residence must meet. Here are some examples of standards:
- a minimum number of staff on duty
- staff qualifications, including first aid
- fire safety plans and sprinkler systems
- call-for-help systems installed in rental units
- procedures to find residents who might be missing
- procedures for keeping residents cool during a heatwave
The government can inspect the residence at any time. You can get information about the residence and check whether it is certified on the MSSS website (French only).
You have basic rights, including the right to be treated with dignity, respect for your privacy, and to live in a clean, safe environment.
The residence must give you a copy of its code of ethics that spells out the conduct expected of staff toward residents.
You also have rights as a tenant. To learn more, see the articles in the Renting section of our website.
How to Resolve Problems
If you have a problem with a private seniors’ residence, you can try speaking first to the person in charge at the residence. If your residence has a residents’ committee, you can also speak to the committee.
If this doesn’t solve the problem, you can take further steps, such as contacting a complaints assistance and support centre (CAAP), the Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL, formerly Régie du logement or rental board), or the service quality and complaints commissioner for your integrated health and social services centre (CISSS or CIUSSS). See our article “Housing for Seniors: Your Rights and Recourses” to learn more.
Are You Being Mistreated?
You have the right to know existence and the content of the anti-maltreatment policy to protect seniors and vulnerable adults. Your facility must post its policy in a public area and on its website, or you can ask staff for a copy.
As of June 2021, private seniors’ residences must inform their residents of:
- the complaints procedure for their integrated health and social services centre (CISSS or CIUSSS)
- who can file a complaint
- how to file a complaint
- the contact information for the service quality and complaints commissioner.
If you have been mistreated, you can file a confidential complaint with the service quality and complaints commissioner for your integrated health and social services centre (CISSS or CIUSSS).
In an emergency, you can also call the Elder Mistreatment Helpline (1-888-489-2287) or the police (911).
Other Housing Options
If your private seniors’ residence no longer meets your needs, other housing options that offer more support are available. See our article “Housing Options for Seniors Leaving Their Home” to learn more.