Lessee Sought To Add Spouse To Lease But Was Denied By Landlord

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A lesbian couple is suing their landlord because they say he refuses to recognize their marriage when it comes to their lease.

Dava Weinstein and Dorothy Calvani have lived together in the rent stabilized apartment in the Upper West Side since 1977.

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They have been legally married since 2011, so Weinstein said she tried to add her spouse to the lease but landlord Jacob Weinreb refused.

Weinreb Management initially told the couple their marriage wasn’t legally recognized and still refused to add Calvani as a co-tenant even after paperwork was submitted.

“We were totally dumbfounded,” Weinstein told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman. “I felt it was definitely based on the fact that she’s a woman. This wasn’t fair, wasn’t right. It was breaking the law. It certainly looks like just rank discrimination.”

Weinstein and Calvani have been together for 37 years.

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“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. That is one of the protections married people are supposed to have,” Weinstein said in a statement.

Susan Sommer with Lambda Legal is representing the couple.

“It’s really amazing that October 2013 we’re still seeing these problems in New York, but we are,” she told Silverman. “Lightning keeps striking in the same place, unfortunately.”

Someone who answered the phone at the landlord’s office refused to comment.

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