Occupant Lived with Tenant for 35 Years as Nontraditional Family Member
LVT Number: 15512
Facts: Landlord sued to evict apartment occupant after rent-controlled tenant died. Occupant claimed that he had lived with tenant as a nontraditional family member for 35 years. He originally lived in the apartment as a boarder but became intimate with tenant within five years of moving in, after tenant's husband died. Occupant said that he reimbursed tenant for his share of rent bills and household expenses. He showed that he had joint investment accounts with tenant, and she left a substantial portion of her estate to him. Tenant also left $5,000 to occupant's sister. Tenant's two children and her grandchild submitted sworn statements confirming that tenant and occupant had a long-term relationship and appeared as a couple at family functions. Tenant' s grandchild considered occupant his grandfather. Pictures of the couple at many family gatherings were also submitted to the court. Based on the documents and statements, occupant asked the court to dismiss the case without a trial. Courts: Occupant wins. As a senior citizen, he needed only show that he had lived with tenant as a family member for at least a year before she died. Occupant submitted substantial proof that he had lived with tenant as a nontraditional family member for many years. So he was entitled to remain as a rent-controlled tenant.
Melohn v. Franklin: NYLJ, 12/19/01, p. 23, col. 5 (Civ. Ct. NY; Wendt, J)