Occupant Had Mother/Son Relationship with Tenant
LVT Number: 12226
Facts: Landlord sued to evict apartment occupant after rent-stabilized tenant died. Occupant claimed she had pass-on rights to the apartment as a nontraditional family member. She said that she and tenant had lived together in a mother-son relationship from 1990 to 1994. Landlord pointed out that there was no proof of formalized legal obligations or joint financial transactions between tenant and occupant. Court: Occupant wins. At the trial, occupant proved that she lived in the apartment with tenant for more than two years, that she shared household expenses and necessities with tenant, that they engaged in family-type activities together, that they held themselves out as the equivalent of a mother and son, that they regularly performed family functions, such as caregiving, and that they engaged in other patterns of behavior, showing an emotionally committed relationship. Occupant took care of tenant while he was dying of AIDS. Both of them received public assistance, and neither had wills, checking accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, powers of attorney, jointly-owned property, or health proxies. Given the relatively low income of tenant and occupant and their lack of financial assets, documents showing a formal legal relationship weren't needed to prove occupant had a nontraditional family relationship with tenant. And a number of witnesses testified that tenant and occupant had a devoted mother-son type relationship.
King David Development Co. v. Arteaga: NYLJ, p. 27, col. 4 (3/11/98) (Civ. Ct. NY; Hahn, J)