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Court decided on the right to enter into a lease of a late gay partner

The District Court in Warsaw ruled against X., a claimant seeking to enter into a lease signed by the claimant’s gay partner.

The Court assumed that the X’s cause of action was based on article 691 of the Polish Civil Code, a provision which enables a person who has been in ‘actual cohabitation’ with the deceased lessee to enter into the lease in the latter’s stead.

Consequently, the adjudicating panel had to interpret the meaning of the term ‘actual cohabitation’. In the Court’s opinion, the expression undoubtedly refers to the heterosexual cohabitation between a man and a woman.

However, the Court’s review of the cases decided by the Poland’s Supreme Court revealed that actual cohabitation means ‘a cohabitation similar to marriage’, which clearly excludes gay relationships from the ambit of the term. The District Court noted that there are no decisions of the Supreme Court that would suggest that homosexual relationships should be treated as the ‘actual cohabitation’ within the meaning of article 691.

It found that the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence backs up the assumption that a clear lawmakers’ intent in drafting the law was to limit the range of individuals entitled to enter into a lease upon the death of previous lessee.

The Court failed to make any reference to the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights entered in the case of Kozak v. Poland despite the requests made by the HFHR (who joined the proceedings in March) and the counsel for the respondent who argued that this decision is of crucial importance for the outcome of the case pending before the District Court.

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