Nov 16, 2022

10 Questions to ask your retirement community about rent payments

Manny Cominsky

If you’re moving into a senior living or retirement community after years of home ownership, you may not be used to making monthly rent payments. But even if you’ve been renting for some time now, it’s important to make sure you have all the relevant information about your lease and your community’s monthly rental payment policies. This will help you stay on top of your payments and avoid any late fees or penalties. To make sure you have all the information you need to easily and successfully pay your senior living rent each month, make sure to ask your community representative at least some of the questions below:

Do you have any move-in fees?

One thing that people often forget is that many senior living communities - in addition to your first month’s rent - will also charge a one time move-in fee. This fee can sometimes amount to several thousands of dollars, so make sure to ask any senior living community you’re looking at whether they charge a move-in fee, how much it is, and if there are any options for flexible payment. 

Do you have any additional fees like pet fees? 

While you might be familiar with the concept of paying a slight increase each month on behalf of your furry friend, you might not know about other additional fees that can come with senior living.

Make sure to ask whether your community charges any fees in addition to your rent, such as a pet fee or a second resident fee.

One of the most common fees - and also most surprising for new or prospective senior living residents - is a fee charged for having a second person living in an apartment. Couples are often surprised to learn that the listed rent is slightly below what they end up paying due to the additional second-person charge.

Do you have an online payment portal?

While some senior living communities allow their residents to pay their rent online each month using an online payment website, many senior living communities do not. If your community offers an online payment website, you will be able to make payments online each month using an electronic or online payment method. If they don’t, you will likely pay each month either by check or by providing your community with your banking information, and allowing them to make withdrawals from your account each month. Of course, if your community doesn’t have a payment portal another option is suggesting they adopt Sunbound Pay!

Do you accept credit cards?

Even if your community offers methods for online payment, they may not be able to accept credit cards for payments each month. If your community does accept credit cards as a form of payment they will likely charge a service fee in order to do so.

Be sure to confirm with your community what payment methods are available, and what fees are associated with any of those payment methods.

Before you make any credit card payments make sure to ask about the relevant fee structure.

Do any payment methods carry processing fees?

While we’re talking about credit card fees, we might as well mention that it’s a good practice to inquire about any fees associated with various forms of payment at your senior living community. Each community is different, regarding not only the forms of payment that they will accept but also the fees associated with those methods of payment, so it’s a best practice to make sure you know the full details of your community’s fee structure.

Do you have automatic payments?

If your community offers an online payment portal, it is likely the website can automatically charge your selected payment method each month. But even if your community does not have an online payment portal, they can likely provide you with a form of automatic payment by drawing from your bank account each month on a predetermined date. Many communities will keep a resident’s bank account information on file for this purpose.

When is senior living rent due each month?

Like most any other rental, the rent for senior living communities is generally due on the first of the month. That being said, communities sometimes have payment dates a day or two into the month. Make sure you know exactly when rent is due each month to avoid paying any late fees.

Do you charge late fees?

Making sure you know when your rent is due, and how to pay each month, is vital to make sure you avoid paying any late fees. Most communities charge a penalty if your rent is not paid on time each month, with the fees sometimes costing several hundreds of dollars. While some communities provide flexibility with regards to paying late fees, many do not, and so it is very important to understand your community’s late fee structure.

Do you allow multiple payers?

While many senior living residents have multiple people helping to pay for their care each month - generally family members like adult children - senior living communities may have trouble coordinating payments from multiple sources and request a single individual make all payments. If you foresee yourself having multiple individuals help pay for your care each month, make sure to discuss this with the community to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and your rent is paid each month. But of course the easiest way to have multiple people pay for senior living each month is to use Sunbound Pay!

How can I see my senior living bill each month?

If your community provides an online payment portal, you will likely be able to view your history of payments and charges in some sort of payment history area of the website. But regardless of whether your community has an online payment website, you should also be able to access and receive physical paper copies of your bill each month directly from your community. While your community will keep these on file, they may also send them to you monthly either in the mail or by delivery to your apartment. Make sure to confirm with your community how they will send you your bill each month to stay on top of your monthly finances.

To learn more about how Sunbound can help make senior living more affordable for you or your loved one, send us an email at or request more information on Sunbound. Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living and is on a mission to make senior living affordable for everyone.

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