Lambda Legal Urges New York Landlord to Add Wife of Lesbian Tenant to Rent-Stabilized Harlem Lease
(New York, June 27, 2012) - In a demand letter released today, Lambda Legal urged DSA Management, Inc., a New York City-based management company, and Nicholas Place LLC, the building owner, to add the wife of lesbian tenant, Regina Hawkins-Balducci, to her rent-stabilized lease in accordance with State and City law.
"Today we are putting DSA and other New York State apartment management companies, landlords and building owners on notice: New York same-sex spouses must be treated equally under the laws of New York," said Natalie Chin, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. "The New York rent-stabilization laws are clear: tenants have a right to ensure housing security for a spouse by having their spouse's name added to a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled lease. DSA Management and Nicholas Place LLC responded with insults, harassment and an outright refusal to recognize Regina's marriage to her spouse. This conduct is both outrageous and in violation of New York State and City laws."
After marrying her partner of over eleven years in January 2012 in a ceremony in Spring Valley, New York, Regina Hawkins-Balducci provided a copy of her marriage certificate to DSA Management requesting to have her wife added to the lease. In response to her request, a DSA Management and Nicholas Place LLC representative berated the couple and emphasized that they would not recognize their marriage and Regina's spouse would never be added to the lease.
"I've lived in my apartment for nearly fifteen years, and built a home with my wife for the last seven. If something were to happen to me, my wife could be evicted. Life is short and we're not getting any younger. Every day that DSA Management and Nicholas Place LLC refuse to issue a lease with both of our names is another day that my spouse is denied housing security. My landlord is standing in the way of protecting my family - something New York law says I can do," said Lambda Legal client Regina Hawkins-Balducci.
Today, Lambda Legal sent a letter to DSA Management, whose properties currently consist of over 5,000 residential units and 50 commercial units throughout New York City, Upstate New York, New Jersey, and Israel, and Nicholas Place LLC, the building owner, on behalf of Regina and her spouse asserting that the refusal by DSA Management and Nicholas Place LLC to add Regina's spouse to her rent-stabilized lease is in direct violation of the New York Marriage Equality Act, New York Rent Stabilization Code and several provisions of New York State and City human rights laws.
The matter is In re Balducci.
Natalie Chin, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney, is handling the matter.