Lambda Legal Victory: New York Landlord Adds Wife of Lesbian Tenant to Rent-Stabilized Harlem Lease
(New York, August 1, 2012) - Today, Lambda Legal announced that DSA Management, Inc., a New York City-based management company, and Nicholas Place LLC, the building owner, will comply with state and city law and add the wife of lesbian tenant, Regina Hawkins-Balducci, to her rent-stabilized lease.
"We are pleased that DSA Management and Nicholas Place LLC are now complying with New York City and State laws. It is unfortunate that the Balduccis had to retain lawyers and go through this emotionally taxing experience to protect their clearly established rights. Other New York State apartment management companies, landlords and building owners should take note: 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."
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, saying that the companies would not recognize their marriage and Regina's spouse would never be added to the lease.
"After months of insults and harassment, we are happy that this issue is finally resolved. If something should happen to either me or my wife, we now know that our housing is secure because both of our names are on the lease," said Lambda Legal client Regina Hawkins-Balducci. "Despite all our efforts, it took legal action from Lambda Legal to protect our rights. I hope no other same-sex couple in New York has to go through this just to make sure they have housing security for their family."
Last month, 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. Today, Lambda Legal announced that DSA Management and Nicholas Place LLC agreed to add Regina’s spouse to her rent-stabilized lease in accordance with 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.