Manhattan judge orders arrest of NYC’s ‘worst landlord’ for blowing off court orders

One of New York City’s most notorious landlords may be heading to jail after a Manhattan judge ordered his arrest Friday for allegedly failing to make hundreds of court-ordered repairs at a pair of Washington Heights properties.

Daniel Ohebshalom, No. 1 on the public advocate’s most recent annual “worst landlords” list, was ordered to be held at Rikers Island for up to two months after he repeatedly blew off mandatory repairs at two buildings on West 170th Street for more than a year, according to Judge Jack Stoller.

Landlords rarely face jail time for presiding over substandard living conditions, but Stoller said Ohebshalom crossed a line by defying the court for a “striking” amount of time and skipping dozens of scheduled appointments to correct nearly 700 violations across the two buildings’ common areas and 42 apartments.

Stoller ordered the New York City Sheriff’s Office to work with authorities in California — where Ohebshalom is believed to live — to arrest him and haul him to Manhattan for a 60-day jail stay.

“The ongoing conditions that the tenants of the subject premises have had to endure, have remained uncorrected since November of 2022, at least sixteen months before this writing, and often longer,” Stoller said in his order.

The judge said Ohebshalom could be released if he makes the necessary repairs.

Ohebshalom’s attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The sheriff’s office did not respond to several emails and phone calls.

Stoller issued the arrest warrant after tenants and the city‘s Department of Housing Preservation and Development sued Ohebshalom to remove lead paint from apartment walls, fix crumbled ceilings and get rid of mice and roaches throughout the two buildings at 705 and 709 West 170th St.

“The building is still in shambles,” said Ashley Viruet, an attorney with the nonprofit Legal Services NYC who is representing the tenants. “Just dilapidated issues that have never been repaired in any lasting way.”

The tenants had been demanding fixes at the two buildings for years in court. HPD’s current case against Ohebshalom dates to September 2021.

New York City Housing Director Leila Bozorg said Ohebshalom has “for years neglected to preserve his 705 and 709 West 170th Street properties and support tenants’ rights to clean, stable homes.”

This isn‘t the first time HPD has won penalties against Ohebshalom in recent months.

In October 2023, the agency hit him with $4.2 million in fines for allegedly running an illegal hotel out of rent-stabilized apartments and presiding over egregious conditions at a Hell’s Kitchen complex. A month later, HPD won its attempt to have an administrator take over management of the property and to prohibit Ohebshalom from collecting rent.

He was ranked as the city’s worst landlord by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams last year after he racked up more than 3,000 alleged housing code violations across his portfolio.

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