Roommates of 34 Years Functioned as Family Unit
LVT Number: 8978
Facts: Landlord sued to evict rent-controlled tenant's roommate after tenant died. Landlord claimed that tenant and roommate were only friends, and that roommate couldn't get the apartment because she and tenant hadn't been sexual partners. Roommate argued that she was a nontraditional family member of tenant, and that she and tenant had considered themselves sisters. Roommate showed that she and tenant lived together for the past 34 years, shared all household expenses, took vacations together, attended family functions together, and celebrated holidays with one another's families. Roommate's niece and nephew called tenant ''aunt,'' and tenant and roommate had formal portraits taken of themselves together. She and tenant had gotten mail from friends addressed to them jointly, and tenant left a bank account to roommate upon her death. Plus, roommate cared for tenant during her last illness, and arranged and paid for her burial. Court: Roommate gets apartment. She proved that she and tenant had lived together for many years as family members, regularly relied upon each other for daily family services, and jointly attended family functions. Also, to get apartment after tenant's death, it wasn't necessary for roommate to have had a sexual relationship with tenant.
Colon v. Frias: NYLJ, p. 31, col. 4 (7/8/94) (Civ. Ct. Kings; Lau, J)