Brooklyn Housing and Family Services v. Lynch


In 2000, New York State's Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) issued new housing regulations, including one that would make it easier for landlords to harass and evict many lesbian and gay couples. The new regulation prohibited a rent-stabilized tenant not named on a lease from paying more than a "proportionate share" of the rent. Married and un-married couples' finances and rent are often divided unequally; however this new regulation made gay and lesbian couples more vulnerable because they could not marry to be exempt from this new regulation, which only applied to un-married couples. This was one of a number of new anti-tenant regulations that were challenged in state court by an array of tenants and housing groups, including Brooklyn Housing and Family Services. Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief and participated in oral arguments before the court.


Since marriage remains unavailable to same-sex couples in most states, it is crucial to fight for a variety of rights that married couples have — in this case, protection from harassment by landlords.

Lambda Legal's Impact

Our friend-of-the-court brief argued, in part, that the DHCR failed to comply with New York law requiring it to consider the impact that the regulation would have on different groups of tenants, including lesbian and gay couples.


  • January 2002 The state court hears oral arguments in the case.

Case Information

Status: Closed


Brooklyn Housing and Family Services and several other tenant and housing advocacy groups


Lambda Legal
Susan Sommer, Adam Aronson

Co-counsel/Cooperating Attorneys
The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Legal Services, Legal Services for New York City and Himmelstein, McConnell & Gribben