Judge Laurie L. Lau


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Landlord sought to recover the subject rent controlled premises from Norton in this licensee holdover proceeding. Norton claimed succession rights to the apartment alleging he and the now-deceased tenant of record, Pecci, were in a relationship and living together, albeit secretively, for 43 years. The primary issue was if Norton and Pecci were in a non-traditional relationship characterized by emotional and financial commitment and interdependence to entitle Norton to succession rights. The court answered in the negative finding a lack of evidence to support Norton’s claims, including that his tax returns listed his sister’s address in Queens, nor did his driver’s license connect him to the premises. It stated there was a “conspicuous absence of documentary evidence demonstrating that the two familiarized their relationship,” noting Norton conceded the pair did not hold themselves out as a couple to friends and family. Even if the court found Norton’s explanation of a committed emotional relationship credible, he failed to establish he and Pecci were financially committed or interdependent, noting no evidence to show Norton paid for anything in the premises, including food. Thus, landlord was awarded a final judgment of possession against Nortion.