Tenant Wants to Add Name of Common-Law Wife to Renewal Lease
LVT Number: 13999
Tenant demanded that landlord add the name of his common-law wife to his rent-stabilized renewal lease and accept rent checks from her personal account. Landlord asked the DHCR if it was required to add the name of tenant's common-law wife to tenant's renewal lease. In an opinion letter, the DHCR noted that New York State did away with common-law marriage in 1933. But New York will recognize a common-law marriage if it was validly entered into in another state. If tenant could prove that he had a valid common-law marriage, then landlord should allow tenant to add his wife's name to the renewal lease, like any other spouse. Rent-stabilized tenants are allowed to add the names of their spouses to renewal leases as additional tenants if the spouses live in the apartments as their primary residences. If tenant's common-law wife is added to the lease, there is no problem accepting rent from her.
DHCR Opin. Ltr. by Charles Goldstein (12/3/99) [2-pg. doc.]