Does “˜And’ Mean “˜With’?
The occupancy clause of the lease states that the shareholder and members of the immediate family are the only legal tenants of a co-op apartment. (Same-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples are protected under the New York Roommate Law.) For the nuclear family raising two school-age children, this works out simply enough. But what happens years later, when the shareholder decides to relocate to Paris but hang onto the apartment, enticing one of the now-grown children to return to the nest?
In this scenario, the meaning of the word “˜and’ is the difference between a very lucky child and an illegal subtenant. “The courts have read that conjunction as very important,” says Murray. And, over the years, they have also read it differently.
“One said that “˜and’ means “˜or’ and another court said that “˜and’ does not mean “˜or,'” says Weinstein. More recently, courts have been ruling consistently in favor of the latter. A shareholder’s children can only reside in the apartment when the shareholder is in residence. Otherwise, they’re right alongside the rest of the city’s apartment seekers, holding a broker’s check in hand, in line to tour a tenth-floor walkup. In order to terminate the “and/or” debate, drafters of the CNYC’s updated lease sought to write an occupancy clause with unbending definitions.