N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 2204.6, the city rent and eviction regulations authorizes the issuance of a certificate for the eviction of persons occupying a rent-controlled apartment after the lease or other rental agreement of the tenant-of-record has expired or otherwise been terminated, provides in subdivision (d) that no occupant of housing accommodations shall be evicted under this section where the occupant is either the surviving spouse of the deceased tenant or some other member of the deceased tenant's family who has been living with the tenant.
The tenant sought the injunction to restrain further action by the landlord to terminate his tenancy until the court could determine whether the tenant was entitled to maintain occupancy of the apartment as the surviving spouse or family member of the deceased. The tenant was the surviving gay life partner of the deceased tenant-of-record and relied on N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 2204.6(d), which provided that no occupant should have been evicted under that section where the occupant was either the surviving spouse of the deceased tenant or some other member of the deceased tenant's family who had been living with the tenant. The Supreme Court of New York granted the motion and restrained the landlord from evicting the tenant from the apartment in which he resided. The landlord sought review.
Was the tenant protected by the rent and eviction law under the definition of a surviving spouse or family member?
The court unanimously reversed the supreme court's order and denied the tenant's motion for a preliminary injunction because the rent and eviction law did not protect a homosexual life partner as a surviving spouse or family member. The court noted that while the tenant showed a long-term relationship, he did not sustain his burden of proving the likelihood of success on the merits of his argument that a gay life partner was one of the designated classes of individuals. The court noted that it was up to legislature to grant some form of legal status to a homosexual relationship.