In a licensee-holdover proceeding, Gregg Kurlander, Of Counsel at KMWB, helped a landlord regain possession of a $110.00 per month rent-controlled apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Following the death of the tenant of record, the occupant of the unit attempted to claim succession on the grounds that he and the tenant of record shared a non-traditional familial relationship.
In succession cases, the occupant claiming succession bears a statutorily-imposed burden of proving both emotional and financial co-commitment with the prior tenant. In this case, the occupant put forth a novel argument contending that the court should relax the evidentiary requirements because both he and the tenant of record concealed their relationship from the outside world.
Following a trial, the court rejected the notion that the clandestine nature of their relationship was justification for the Court to circumvent the occupant’s statutorily mandated obligation of evidencing both an emotional as well as a financial co-commitment between them in order to establish their non-traditional familial relationship. Once the evidence was presented, the court determined that the relationship resembled that of roommates rather than a spousal type relationship. Therefore, the occupant did not meet the requirements of the rent control laws governing succession and the landlord was awarded possession of the rent-controlled unit.