Tenant's Life Partner Gets Apartment
LVT Number: 10119
Facts: Landlord sued to evict rent-controlled tenant's roommate after tenant died. Roommate claimed he was tenant's gay life partner. Landlord claimed roommate was only a boarder and that there was no documentation of any other relationship. Roommate testified that he met tenant in 1986, moved in with him shortly thereafter as a friend, and that within a year they became lovers. Tenant worked until 1989 while roommate stayed home and took care of the household. In 1988 a minister performed a holy union ceremony at Cathedral of St. John the Divine for tenant and roommate at which they exchanged marital type vows. The minister testified at trial. Tenant also left his life insurance to the minister to take care of roommate. Tenant became ill in 1989. From then until his death, roommate provided him with full-time care while they both lived off tenant's social security and pension. There was no joint bank account, and the only joint purchase of any note was of a car in 1994. Court: Roommate wins. Roommate showed sufficient proof that he was tenant's life partner and qualified as a remaining family member under rent control. They lived together in a relationship for well over the required two-year minimum. Although tenant was the wage earner, mutual financial commitment was shown by roommate's domestic support of tenant. Tenant and his roommate held themselves out as a family unit through their holy union ceremony. And the relationship took on an added dimension when roommate became tenant's caretaker when tenant became ill.
Arnie Realty Corp. v. Torres: NYLJ, p. 27, col. 3 (10/4/95) (Civ. Ct. Bronx; Thomas, J)