Son lived in mother’s apartment to care for her in her last years, but had not been granted permanent permission to live in the apartment. Victoria Aponte was the tenant of record, and sole authorized occupant, of a one-bedroom apartment located in a NYCHA-owned housing development at 150 West 174th Street in the Bronx. In 2009, Ms. Aponte’s son, Jonas Aponte, moved into the apartment to assist his mother who had been diagnosed with advanced dementia and could not live alone without regular assistance. During Ms. Aponte’s lifetime Mr. Aponte submitted two requests for permanent permission to live with his mother. NYCHA denied both requests, stating that approval would violate NYCHA’s rules by creating an overcrowded condition in a one-bedroom apartment.
Upon Ms. Aponte’s passing Mr. Aponte sought to keep the apartment by claiming remaining family status. NYCHA denied his request, ruling that Aponte was not eligible for remaining family member status since he had never been given permanent permission to reside in the apartment.
Mr. Aponte filed an article 78 petition. Supreme Court Justice Cynthia S. Kern denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding. The Appellate Division reversed, finding that NYCHA’s decision denying Mr. Aponte the apartment was arbitrary and capricious. The Housing Authority appealed to the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals sided with NYCHA, reversed the Appellate Division, and rejected Aponte’s claim to the apartment. Eligibility for succession rights required that Mr. Aponte have attained permanent permission to reside in the apartment. NYCHA properly denied Mr. Aponte’s requests for permanent permission to reside in the apartment because Mr. Aponte’s presence would have violated NYCHA’s overcrowding rules. Under these facts NYCHA’s denial of Mr. Aponte’s request for succession rights to his mother’s public housing apartment was neither arbitrary nor capricious.
Aponte v Olatoye, 30 N.Y.3d 693 (2018).
By: Chaim Chait (Chaim is a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018.)