One of New York’s ‘Worst Landlords’ Faces Arrest Over Building Neglect

A New York City landlord could face jail time in connection with “dangerous conditions” at two of his Manhattan apartment buildings, the city announced on Monday.

Property owners almost never face criminal consequences over neglect in their buildings.

But a housing court judge, Jack Stoller, issued an arrest warrant on Friday for the landlord, Daniel Ohebshalom, noting that problems involving lead, mold and pests have persisted at two of his buildings in Washington Heights for some 16 months.

The warrant orders the landlord to be detained for up to 60 days unless he corrects the violations.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development said that there were nearly 700 open violations across the two buildings. Mr. Ohebshalom’s buildings have been implicated several times in the city public advocate’s “worst landlords” watchlist, a ranking that is based on violations issued by city agencies.

“If you create unsafe, unhealthy and unlivable conditions, we will hold you accountable,” the housing commissioner, Adolfo Carrión Jr., said in a statement on Monday.

A lawyer for Mr. Ohebshalom, Vladimir Mironenko, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to Judge Stoller’s order, lawyers for Mr. Ohebshalom had said that separate lawsuits that tenants filed had slowed the landlord’s ability to make some repairs.

A spokeswoman for the housing department said Mr. Ohebshalom was not in custody as of Monday morning. The city sheriff’s department is coordinating with the authorities in California, where Mr. Ohebshalom lives, according to the city.

Advocates for tenants often criticize the enforcement of housing codes in New York City as weak, saying that violations issued by city agencies or lawsuits brought by the city or tenants are not enough to force landlords to make repairs.

But there are only a few modern examples of criminal cases connected to housing.

The housing department could not immediately recall on Monday the last time it had sought an arrest warrant. In October 2022, Manhattan prosecutors charged six property developers and their companies with taking advantage of a lucrative tax break intended to spur construction.

Ashley Viruet, a supervising attorney with Manhattan Legal Services’ tenants rights coalition, called the arrest warrant “unprecedented.” The group represents many tenants in the Washington Heights buildings.

Ms. Viruet said it is common for landlords to correct violations only when they are taken to court. But the case involving Mr. Ohebshalom’s buildings was particularly egregious, she said, noting that he had already paid fines, had been ordered to correct violations several times by the court and had been held in contempt.

“This is a necessary step,” she said. “The landlord has been horrible. He’s left these tenants in unbearable conditions for years and years.”

Jay Martin, the executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, a landlord group, said that “bad property owners are a threat to good property owners, and we fully support efforts to crack down on those who exploit their tenants.”

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