Nephews Right to Succeed An Apartment In Which He Lived With His Aunt

Fort Washington Holdings, LLC v. Abbott (28 Misc 3d 364, 901 NYS2d 485 [Civ Ct, NY County 2010]) involves an aunt and nephew who lived together for 30 years until the aunt's death and developed a relationship akin to that of a mother and son. The tenant of record took in her nephew "in a last-ditch effort to avoid his further institutionalization." (Id. at 365.) The aunt and nephew shopped together, contributed in various degrees to the expenses of their living, went to the doctor together and took care of their apartment together. They "so completely intertwined their personal lives that they were the functional equivalent of parent and child (a close parent and child, at that)... . They lived in harmony and symbiosis" (id. at 369-370). In overturning a jury verdict for petitioner, the court held that the respondent's failure to prove financial interdependence did not, in and of itself, require a rejection of respondent's right to succeed to the subject apartment.