Victory! New York Landlord Adds Same-Sex Spouse to Lease

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December 4, 2013
Lambda Legal Plaintiffs Dorothy Calvani and Dava Weinstein

Today, Lambda Legal announced that Weinreb Management, a New York City-based management company, has added lesbian tenant Dava Weinstein's spouse, Dorothy Calvani, to her rent-stabilized lease, in compliance with state and city law, and agreed to pay $20,000 to the couple to settle the matter.

Lambda Legal client Dava Weinstein said:

After months of disregard and discrimination, we are happy that this issue is finally resolved. If something should happen to either me or Dorothy, we now know that our housing is secure because both of our names are on the lease. Despite all our efforts, it took legal action from Lambda Legal to protect our rights. Landlords should just follow the law. 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.

After marrying her partner of 37 years in Iowa in 2011, Dava Weinstein, 68, a licensed clinical social worker, provided a copy of her marriage certificate to Weinreb Management requesting to have her spouse, Dorothy Calvani, 64, a geriatric nurse practitioner, added to the lease. In response to her request, Weinreb Management incorrectly told the couple that New York State does not recognize their marriage. Even after they sent their landlord proof of their rights, Weinreb Management still refused to add Dorothy as a co-tenant to the lease of the Upper West Side apartment they have shared since 1977.

Karen Loewy, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, said:

Dava and Dorothy should not have 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: Same-sex spouses must be treated equally under the laws of New York. New York housing laws are clear: LGBT tenants have a right to equal treatment, and to have a spouse’s name added to a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled lease.

Read the press release.