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NYC’s ‘worst landlord’ wanted for arrest over 700 open violations including mold, roaches and lead paint

City housing officials have secured a warrant for the Big Apple's
City housing officials have secured a warrant for the Big Apple's

Peeling lead paint. Roach infestations. Blinking electricity. Mold.

These are just some of the dangerous conditions that Daniel Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s “worst landlord,” has allegedly ignored in two of his Washington Heights apartment buildings, city housing officials said Monday.

The nearly 700 open violations between the buildings at 705 and 709 170th Street earned Ohebshalom an open arrest warrant, a two-month vacation at Rikers Island and fines of more than $3 million, the officials said.

City housing officials have secured a warrant for Daniel Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s “worst landlord.” WABC
City housing officials have secured a warrant for Daniel Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s “worst landlord.” WABC
Ohebshalom now faces an open warrant for his arrest after neglecting to fix serious issues at two Washington Heights apartment buildings. WABC
Ohebshalom now faces an open warrant for his arrest after neglecting to fix serious issues at two Washington Heights apartment buildings. WABC

“The worst landlord in New York City is Daniel Ohebshalom,” Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development said at a press conference in front of City Hall.

“The reason we’re after this guy and his practices is because of the life people have been living there — it’s horrible,” he continued.

“People are dealing with mold, leaks, pests — rats and roaches — peeling paint, lead paint. Their children are exposed, seniors are exposed. It’s time to stop this nonsense,” Carrión added.

The violations cited in Ohebshalom’s warrant are “extensive and include serious, immediately hazardous conditions that threaten not only the residents’ quality of life but their health and safety,” HPD said in a press release.

The warrant lets the NYC Sheriff’s Department cooperate with California enforcement teams that operate in the Golden State, where Ohebshalom lives.

“We’re drop-dead serious about this work. If you abuse New Yorkers in the places where they live, and you don’t take care of their homes, as a property owner, we’re coming after you,” Carrión vowed.

The squalid conditions are often dangerous to occupants — such as this ceiling that collapsed on a child’s bed at 709 West 170th Street. 709 West 170th Street Tenants Association
The squalid conditions are often dangerous to occupants — such as this ceiling that collapsed on a child’s bed at 709 West 170th Street. 709 West 170th Street Tenants Association

Some apartment-dwellers told The Post on Monday that they were thrilled to hear it.

“It’s been long overdue,” said Sonia Peralta, a 73-year-old woman who has lived in 705 for the last 44 years.

“He should have been arrested a long, long time ago,” she continued, before launching into a litany of complaints about the building that she said Ohebshalom never addressed.

Her bathroom ceiling fell two years ago, and workers patched it up with what she called “half-assed work.”

Her walls are covered in soot from the broken-down boiler, the heat and hot water constantly fail and rats and roaches have turned the building into a mini-motel, she said.

The lobby door was also broken for two years, letting homeless people wander onto the roof and shoot up, she added.

Rat and roach infestations are also commonplace, city housing officials said. 709 West 170th Street Tenants Association
Rat and roach infestations are also commonplace, city housing officials said. 709 West 170th Street Tenants Association

“We want to be treated like human beings, and at our age we shouldn’t be having to go through this,” she said. “We hope he goes to jail for all the suffering we’ve gone through. We want to see him in jail for a long time.”

The housing agency first took action in 2021 after its anti-harassment unit inspected and investigated the Washington Heights buildings, the statement said.

Last January, the HPD moved both buildings to its Alternative Enforcement Program — which helps it enforce rules and hold owners accountable — so it could make emergency repairs and address longstanding issues, according to the release.

It assessed more than $48,000 in fees against the property as the AEP did emergency work to fix leaks, remove mold and install self-closing doors.

But Ohebshalom failed to comply, leading to more litigation that included the housing agency’s request for contempt, jail time and civil penalties.

Tenants of 705 & 709 W 170th Street held a press conference to fight Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s worst landlord. Met Council On Housing
Tenants of 705 & 709 W 170th Street held a press conference to fight Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s worst landlord. Met Council On Housing

A housing court agreed, saying the landlord was in criminal and civil contempt of several court orders, consent orders and interim agreements.

It also signed off on the more than $3 million in penalties, saying the “sheer volume of extant hazardous and immediately hazardous violations bespeaks the extent of [Ohebshalom’s] contempt.”

“We’re using Ohebshalom as an example,” Carrión told reporters, noting the city has a long list of alleged slumlords. “We’re coming after other folks … We’re not going to let you get away with this nonsense.”

While a judge first held Ohebshalom — who defied court orders for more than a year — in civil contempt back in January 2023, he hails from a well-known family of slumlords who have invited legal trouble with their savage practices.

“This is very unfortunate that a family like this — that’s doing residential real estate in New York City — is abusing New Yorkers,” Carrión said. “And now the second generation does this? Obviously, this family doesn’t care about fellow New Yorkers.”

The conditions in the Washington Heights buildings are particularly horrific. WABC
The conditions in the Washington Heights buildings are particularly horrific. WABC

“We are all responsible for our neighbors,” he continued. “Sadly these clowns don’t care about their neighbors.”

Carrión said it’s relatively rare for a landlord to go to jail — but every few years, the city catches up with an exceptionally bad one.

HPD is also pursuing legal action against Ohebshalom for squalid conditions in several other buildings, the release said.

“This is the worst guy,” Carrión said. “I mean, he’s got a giant portfolio of residential developments around the city, and he has abused these residents consistently.”

Loyda Irizarry, a 25-year resident, said she didn’t want anyone to get arrested – but someone responsible needs to be in control.

Irizarry, 70, told similar tales of no heat or hot water for several days in the winter, broken water lines, pollution-stained walls and no building super for years on end.

“We need a lining in the chimney, we need supers that live here,” he said. “Sometimes we’re afraid to go to bed because we don’t know what’s going to happen … We want stability. We want to be safe.”

“We want to live in a building where we know tomorrow, we’re going to wake up and we’re going to be here and the building’s going to be here,” she continued. “I’m afraid it’s just going to blow up one day because of the neglect for so many years.”

City officials have gone after the landlord for alleged crimes including tenant harassment and illegal short-term rentals in three buildings in Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen, the release said.

Last October, the city locked down more than $1.1 million in penalties and outstanding fines regarding those properties.

The HPD has also brought nearly a dozen motions for contempt and civil penalties for Ohebshalom’s failure to comply with court orders to fix conditions in seven other buildings he owns, the release said.

But other residents of the Washington Heights apartments weren’t confident their crooked landlord would face real consequences.

“The reality is, what’s going to happen?” asked Edward Lenis, a 48-year-old man who has lived in the building his entire life. “The guy’s in California. He’s a multimillionaire, a big-time [political] donor. Is anything going to happen to him? I don’t know.”