Live-in Lover Gets Apartment
LVT Number: 10187
Facts: Landlord sued to evict tenant's roommate after rent-stabilized tenant died. Roommate claimed he was a family member entitled to pass-on rights. Roommate showed that he and tenant had been lovers for 20 years, that they lived together and slept together from 1988 until tenant died in 1994. Roommate also showed that they shared or relied upon each other for payment of household and family expenses. In recent years both men received public assistance. Neither had a checking account. Neither was financially sophisticated; they had no major assets, credit cards, jointly owned property, wills, or domestic partnership agreements. A friend testified that tenant and roommate held themselves out as family members to friends and family. Court: Landlord loses. The court found roommate to be a very believable witness. He showed that the relationship was long-term, that he and tenant intermingled finances, engaged in family-type activities, and held themselves out as family through words or actions. Given their poverty-level existence, there was no need to formalize any legal obligations with each other.
West 40th St. Realty Assn. v. Sullivan: NYLJ, p. 26, col. 6 (11/22/95) (Civ. Ct. NY; Strauss, J)