How to Start an Assisted Living Facility in Florida

by Bruce Santucci; Updated September 26, 2017
Assisted Living Facility

Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) are built or retrofitted to offer personal care services to the elderly to allow them to live comfortably in a home-like setting. Restrictions for the residents are limited as much as possible and most include various types of organized and planned activities and recreation for their residents. ALFs can accommodate as few as one resident to as many as several hundred. All have a wide variety of personal and nursing services designed to try and meet an individual's personal needs. Starting an ALF is an extensive process. Facilities must satisfy codified regulations and owners must be properly authorized and licensed. In Florida, Assisted Living Facilities are overseen by several state agencies. Here's how to get started.

Items you will need

  • Florida state statutes and rules pertaining to Assisted Living Facilities
  • ALF Survey Guideline Index
  • Assisted Living Facility initial and Change of Ownership application package
  • Community Residential Homes zoning requirements
  • Community Residential Home Affidavit of Compliance
  • Standard license and any additional specialty licenses
  • Background screening
  • Assisted Living Facility renewal application package
  • Background screening package (renewal)
  • Adverse Incident Reporting rules
  • Resident Health Assessment forms

How to Start an Assisted Living Facility in Florida

Step 1
Read and understand ALF Florida state statutes and administrative code.

Read and understand the Florida state statutes and rules pertaining to Assisted Living Facilities. These include Chapter 408, Part II, Florida Statutes, Chapter 429, Part I, Florida Statutes, Chapter 58A-5, Florida Administrative Code, and Chapter 58T-1, Florida Administrative Code. These documents will give you a legal overview of the owner's responsibilities.

Step 2
Review the ALF survey guideline index.

Read and understand the ALF Survey Guideline Index. This document gives an excellent and detailed overview of what you are expected to do as an owner and/or operator of an Assisted Living Facility in Florida.

Step 3
Complete the ALF application package.

Complete the Assisted Living Facility initial and Change of Ownership application package. This consists of 16 forms. Which ones you fill out will depend on whether you are starting an ALF or purchasing an existing facility.

Step 4
Follow all zoning and building code requirements.

Prepare or construct your Assisted Living Facility according to the community residential homes zoning requirements. After you have completed the renovation or construction of your facility, make an appointment with a building code compliance officer, then sign and submit the Community Residential Home Affidavit of Compliance.

Step 5
Take classes and the Florida state exam for a standard ALF license.

Take the necessary classes to pass the ALF Director's course. This state exam will test your knowledge of the legal, operational and building code requirements in Florida. If you pass the exam, you will receive a standard ALF operating license and additional continuing education requirements that you must meet within a year of receiving your license. You can get additional specialty licenses by studying and testing for each license.

Step 6
Background clearance

Submit to a level II FBI background test before you begin operations. Background clearance is necessary before you can begin running your facility.

Step 7
File and post forms

Make the Assisted Living Facility renewal application package available in office files or in a timed tickler file on your computer. You should also include the background screening package when you are ready to renew your license. Post the Adverse Incident Reporting rules and the Resident Health Assessment forms in a visible place for your employees. Each of these forms must be part of each resident's file.


  • Full guidance and information at each step of this process is freely available from the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. Additional details on Assisted Living Facilities, along with a list of approved ALF trainers, can be found at the Department of Elder Affairs website.

About the Author

Bruce Santucci works as a freelance researcher, writer/editor, trainer,video narrator, and handyman for BAS & Associates, Inc with published articles in the New Meridan Magazine, Handyman Magazine and eHow. He also researches health products and writes regularly for numerous website and blog owners. He graduated from Seattle University in 1976

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