Victory! NYC Landlord Adds Wife of Lesbian Tenant to Rent-Stabilized Lease

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August 1, 2012
Lambda Legal client Regina Hawkins-Balducci

Lambda Legal client Regina Hawkins-Balducci will finally be able to add her wife to the lease on her rent-stabilized New York City apartment.

Today, Lambda Legal announced that the building owner and management company will comply with state and city law and allow Hawkins-Balducci to add her wife to the lease.

After marrying her partner of over 11 years in January, Hawkins-Balducci provided a copy of her marriage certificate to DSA Management Inc. requesting to have her wife added to the lease. In response to her request, a representative for DSA Management and the building owner, Nicholas Place LLC, berated the couple and emphasized that they would not recognize their marriage and Regina's spouse would never be added to the lease.

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, urging them to comply with the New York Marriage Equality Act, the New York Rent Stabilization Code and several provisions of New York State and City human rights laws.

Hawkins-Balducci says:

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. 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.

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Natalie Chin adds:

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. 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.

More about the case here.