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  • Writer's pictureHamid

Assisted Living Homes

Converting single family homes to assisted living homes

With the aging of the baby boomers and a new generation of seniors with longer life expectancy, it has become more evident the need for alternative forms of living arrangements for the ever growing population of seniors and other group of people with possible need for extra care.

Since its early inception of such ideas, a new alternative to senior living has been emerging, different than the more traditional block housing style. Whether assisted living care of some form is offered or not, these buildings have all been designed with high density and number’s efficiency at its core.

In more recent times however, a new concept has become more popular in the market. That is converting single family homes to a smaller group type living, with limited number of residents. Many of these type homes have since been developed into homes that offer in-home assistance to their residents and have applied for a license to become Assisted Living Homes.

With this growth in number of such facilities, the need for better regulations became evermore critical. As of August of 2023, State of Minnesota legislator passed a bill that has included Assisted Living Facilities, to the group of facilities that require a state license to operate. The license is typically issued by the State Department of Health.

The new regulations basically call for and consist of two steps to follow. First, all existing residential homes that are proposed to be licensed, must obtain plan review and permits from the Minnesota Department of Labor, or the municipality where the house is located.

According to this new rule, the first step required is to file an application for a new Certificate of Occupancy or CO. This application requires the homeowner to address the change of occupancy from a single family residence to an assisted living home. This means some measures will need to be made to bring the home up to a certain level of life safety standards, more appropriate for perhaps the less mobile residents. These homes typically have care givers present around the clock. Based on the home’s total area and number of bedrooms, this code provides guidelines on those safety standards and their extent.

Only when the application for CO is approved and issued the application for licensing for and Assisted Living home could be accepted by the Department of Health, which is the second step in this process.

To submit the application for CO, the State rules require a set of drawings of the home and a building code analysis, demonstrating compliance with the Minnesota State Building Code. All of these documents are required to be prepared and certified by an architect, licensed in the state of Minnesota.

To begin this process, it’s highly recommended for the homeowner to retain the services of an architect familiar with these rules and regulations. They can play an instrumental role in efficiency and effectiveness during this period.

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