NYC Housing Agency Issues Arrest Warrant for Washington Heights Landlord

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New York City officials want to see landlord Daniel Ohebshalom handcuffed for allegedly abhorrent conditions in his residential properties and repeated non-cooperation with housing courts.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) secured the warrant for Ohebshalom’s arrest on Friday after unlivable conditions in two Washington Heights buildings came to light in housing court, the agency announced Monday.

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Ohebshalom, who has repeatedly made the New York City public advocate’s 100 Worst Landlords list, was held in civil contempt by the court in January 2023 and will face 60 days on the notorious Rikers Island if he doesn’t address the 700 violations at ​705 and 709 170th Street, according to HPD.

New York City officials are working with law enforcement in California, where Ohebshalom lives, to bring him east. 

“I want to be crystal clear: If you create unsafe, unhealthy and unlivable conditions, we will hold you accountable. Let this be a message to all landlords that HPD will make certain the law is enforced to protect every New Yorker from dangerous housing conditions,” HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión said in a statement “We will use every resource available to ensure every New Yorker understands that they have a right to live in a safe and healthy home.”

Some of the conditions alleged by HPD include mice and roach infestations in the two buildings owned under the corporation Belmont Ventures as well as lead-based paint and lack of self-closing doors — a fire hazard. This was “by no means an exhaustive list of ongoing conditions,” according to the arrest warrant.

Ohebshalom could not be reached for comment.

In January 2023, HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program made emergency repairs to the buildings for problems like leaks, mold and self-closing doors that came with a $48,000 fine for Ohebshalom and his business associate Jonathan Santana.

The owner failed to cooperate with the program leading to Ohebshalom being held in criminal and civil contempt, for which the city is calling for $3,057,620 in civil penalties.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.