A "Family members" is defined as a spouse, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the tenant or permanent tenant.  [1]

The definition of "family member" also includes any other person(s) residing with the tenant or permanent tenant in the housing accommodation as a primary resident, who can prove emotional and financial commitment and interdependence between such person(s) and the tenant.

The following are to be considered in determining whether emotional and financial commitment and interdependence between the tenant and such other occupants existed:

• (a) longevity of the relationship;

• b) sharing of or relying upon each other for payment of household or family expenses, and/or other common necessities of life;

• c) intermingling of finances as evidenced by, among other things, joint ownership of bank accounts, personal and real property, credit cards, and loan obligations, sharing a household budget for purposes of receiving government benefits, etc.;

• d) engaging in family-type activities by jointly attending family functions, holidays and celebrations, social and recreational activities, etc.;

• e) formalizing of legal obligations, intentions, and responsibilities to each other by such means as executing wills, naming each other as executor and/or beneficiary, granting each other a power of attorney and/or conferring upon each other authority to make health care decisions each for the other, entering into a personal relationship contract, making a domestic partnership declaration, or serving as representative payee for purposes of public benefits, etc.;

• f) holding themselves out as family members to other family members, friends, members of the community or religious institutions, or society in general, through their words or actions;

• g) regularly performing family functions, such as caring for each other's extended family member and/or relying upon each other daily for family services;

• h) engaging in any other pattern of behavior, agreement, or other action which evidences the intention of creating a long-term, emotionally committed relationship. The determination is not limited to any one factor, and in no event, would evidence of a sexual relationship between such persons be required or considered.

Additionally, a “Disabled Person” is defined as a person who has an impairment which results from anatomical, physiological or psychological conditions, other than addiction to alcohol, gambling, or any controlled substance, which are demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques, and which substantially limit one or more of such person's major life activities.

Finally, a “Senior Citizen” is defined as a person who is sixty-two years of age or older.

The information above is intended to provide limited information only and is not legal advice. The laws relating to succession in New York are complex. If you are a party to a matter concerning succession, lease renewals, primary residency, or eviction and otherwise need further guidance in this or a related area of law, SINGH & RANI, LLP can assist you.

[1] http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/FactSheets/orafac30.pdf

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Bikram Singh

Mr. Singh has been practicing law in the New York State and Federal Courts for almost 10 years. He was a principal attorney at Bikram Singh Law, P.C., after graduating with honors from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 2008.