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New York City landlord sued for refusing to add lesbian's spouse to apartment lease

Upper West Side couple has been together for 37 years and is legally married
Dorothy_Calvini and Dava_Weinstein
Photo: Lambda Legal

A legally married lesbian couple is suing the landlord of their Upper West Side apartment in New York City for refusing to add the name of a spouse to their lease.

Dava Weinstein sought to have the name of Dorothy Calvani, her partner of 37 years and wife since 2011, placed as a co-tenent on the rent-stabilized lease for the apartment she has lived in for nearly 40 years.

Weinstein is a 68-year-old social worker while Calvani, 63, is a nurse practitioner.

Landlord Weinreb Management told the couple that the state does not recognize their marriage even after the couple sent legal proof of their union in a state where same-sex marriage became legal in 2011.

'If something were to happen to me, Dorothy should not have to worry about whether the landlord will try to evict her because she's not on the lease,' Weinstein said in a statement released through Lambda Legal which filed the lawsuit on the couple's behalf.

She added: 'That is one of the protections married people are supposed to have. Our landlord is standing in the way of us taking steps to protect our family, something that is of particular importance to us as we get older.'

Lambda Legal filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court against Weinreb Management LLC, managing partner Jacob Weinreb, and apartment owner Sabina Weinreb.

The lawsuit claims that the refusal to add Calvani to the lease is in direct violation of the New York Rent Stabilization Code and provisions of the New York State and City human rights laws.

Lambda Legal's Director of Constitutional Litigation Susan Sommer says of the case: 'The landlord's outright refusal to recognize Dava's marriage to Dorothy is outrageous and violates New York State and City laws.'

Sommer points out that just last year, Lambda Legal represented a Harlem couple whose landlord had also refused to add a tenant's same-sex spouse to the lease.

'How many New York same-sex couples will have to take their landlords to court before landlords stop illegally refusing to add same-sex spouses to rent-stabilized or rent-controlled leases?'

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