HPD Secures Arrest Warrant to Hold NYC’s Worst Landlord Accountable for Negligence & Failure to Protect Tenants

March 11, 2024

HPD secures warrant for arrest and commitment to civil jail for notorious landlord Daniel Ohebshalom for neglecting two Washington Heights buildings with 700 open violations and dangerous conditions 

Administration prioritizes health and safety of tenants, escalating action against negligent landlords to the full extent of the law 

New York, NY – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) secured a warrant of arrest and commitment to civil jail for one of New York City’s most notoriously bad landlords, Daniel Ohebshalom, holding him accountable for dangerous conditions at two Washington Heights buildings. The arrest warrant was issued after Ohebshalom was held in civil contempt by the Court in January of 2023. For over a year, he continued to defy court orders. New York City did not back down during that time. The warrant orders Ohebshalom to be detained in civil jail for up to 60 days unless and until he complies with the Court’s Order to address the serious conditions and correct almost 700 violations at 705 and 709 170th Street in Manhattan. Today’s announcement comes while the agency continues to pursue actions against Ohebshalom for negligent conditions in numerous other buildings. 

Ohebshalom and his buildings have repeatedly appeared on lists of the worst landlords in New York City. The violations cited in the arrest warrant are extensive and include serious, immediately hazardous conditions that threaten not only the residents’ quality of life but their health and safety. Conditions include visible peeling lead paint, roach and mice infestations, inadequate electricity supply, and mold. 

The arrest warrant serves as a strong message to landlords that New York City will not tolerate housing violations or tenants forced to live in unsafe conditions. In order to make the arrest, the warrant allows cooperation between the NYC Sheriff’s Department and California enforcement teams, where Ohebshalom currently resides.  

 “New York City is committed to the maintenance of safe and secure housing for all tenants,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “I applaud HPD’s work to hold accountable landlords who allow unacceptable housing conditions to persist.” 

“Daniel Ohebshalom has for years neglected to preserve his 705 and 709 West 170th Street properties and support tenants’ rights to clean, stable homes. HPD and this administration will continue working hard to make sure all New Yorkers have access to quality housing,” said Executive Director for Housing Leila Bozorg

“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," said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. "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, and we’ve got their back."   

History of HPD Action at 705 and 709 170th Street 

HPD was steadfast in advancing litigation while partnering with Manhattan Legal Services and the tenants in these buildings to support their separate litigation to address the years of living with unsafe conditions and mismanagement. 

HPD first initiated comprehensive litigation against the property in 2021 after inspections and investigations by HPD’s Anti-Harassment Unit identified these buildings as two in a portfolio of Daniel Ohebshalom buildings with significant violations which were continuing to be neglected by the owners. 

In January 2023, HPD placed both buildings in their Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP) -- one of the agency’s strongest enforcement programs and accountability tools -- to make emergency repairs and address longstanding issues. Over $48,000 in AEP fees were assessed against the property, and AEP conducted emergency repair work addressing conditions like leaks, mold, and self-closing doors.   

After Ohebshalom failed to comply with the AEP program, HPD filed additional litigation, seeking contempt, including jail time and civil penalties. Housing Court found the landlord in criminal and civil contempt of multiple court orders, consent orders, and interim agreements to improve conditions at 705 and 709 West 170th Street in Manhattan; and ultimately held that the city was entitled to $3,057,620 in civil penalties. According to the Court, “The most striking factor informing the Court’s discretion is the duration of the contempt proceeding.  The Court held Respondents in civil contempt as of February 2, 2023, more than thirteen months before this writing. Moreover, the sheer volume of extant hazardous and immediately hazardous violations bespeaks the extent of Respondents’ contempt.”  

Additional Enforcement Protecting Ohebshalom Tenants 

In October of 2023, in addition to the $3 million obtained by HPD in its two cases, the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) secured more than $1.1 million in payments of penalties and outstanding fines regarding tenant harassment and illegal short-term rentals in three buildings in Midtown Manhattan and Hell’s Kitchen.  

In November 2023, HPD announced that the agency prevailed in its case before Housing Court, seeking the appointment of a 7A administrator to take over the management of one of Ohebshalom’s buildings in Hell’s Kitchen at 410 West 46th Street. HPD sought the appointment of a 7A administrator in that building due to Ohebshalom’s failure to maintain the building in a condition that protects the life, health, and safety of the tenants living there. The administrator, Fernando Alfonso from CFF Consulting is responsible for managing and maintaining the building with the rent being paid by the tenants and revitalizing the building with capital funding to elevate standards and expedite essential repairs, ensuring tenants' needs are met. HPD has already committed approximately $1 million in capital funding for the 7A administrator to install a new roof and new heating plant and conduct extensive plumbing and electric work in that building with work to begin in the spring. Furthermore, Ohebshalom is prohibited from collecting rent or having any presence in the building. 

Over the past year, HPD brought more than 10 motions for contempt and civil penalties for failing to comply with court orders to correct housing code violations at seven other Ohebshalom buildings, commencing new litigation, and entering $750,000 in judgments for failing to pay civil penalties agreed to in settlements. 

“Landlords who continue to flagrantly violate the law and allow poor conditions to persist will face the full force of the tools available to HPD to compel compliance. We are grateful that the Housing Court acted in response to our litigation by ordering some of the most drastic relief against this owner the appointment of a 7A and jail. HPD’s enforcement team is here for all New Yorkers who deserve safe, healthy and habitable homes, and I urge tenants to know their rights and call 311 as a first step towards improving their living conditions,” said AnnMarie Santiago, Deputy Commissioner for Office of Enforcement and Neighborhood Services (ENS). “Thank you to the whole Enforcement team, and most recently the Anti-Harassment Unit attorneys, for holding this landlord accountable, with the end goal of improving living conditions for tenants in multiple buildings throughout the city.” 

New York City continues to pursue the most stringent enforcement remedies against owners, like Ohebshalom, who repeatedly fail to make repairs and fail to comply with court-ordered agreements. 

"Landlords have a responsibility to keep their properties in a state of good repair and safe for those who call their buildings home. When that standard isn't met, the City must take action," said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. "I applaud the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development for taking steps to protect these tenants."   

 “In the midst of a housing crisis, it is criminal to operate homes for New Yorkers with a myriad of tenant violations. Housing justice is accountability, dignity, and relief. Today, we hold not just a citywide unscrupulous landlord accountable but one that has deeply traumatized my constituents who deserve to feel love and dignity in their homes. We will push for tenant protections, housing justice, and homes for generations, until we never have to confront another case of tenant harassment and discrimination again,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa

"Today's achievement reflects the tireless efforts of tenants united against the unacceptable conditions they've faced. The issuance of this arrest warrant is significant, yet the true victory lies in securing the well-being and respect every tenant deserves. Throughout this journey, amidst the psychological warfare waged upon them, I've been proud to stand as an ally to the tenant association of 705 and 709 West 170th St. This moment sends a clear message to all landlords: neglect will not stand. Our collective action has paved the way for meaningful change, ensuring a future where such extremes are no longer necessary." - Senator Robert Jackson

“I commend the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development for their commitment to transparency and accountability in holding landlords like Daniel Ohebshalom responsible for neglecting the safety of their tenants. Today's actions reinforce the importance of doing what's right for our communities,” said Assemblyman Manny De Los Santos  

"For far too long, these tenants have suffered deplorable living conditions --- conditions that Ohebshalom himself would never abide by," said Ashley Viruet, a Supervising Attorney at Manhattan Legal Services. "Despite tenants' pleas, Ohebshalom refused to make substantive repairs and continued to play legal games in court to avoid his responsibilities, pretending tenants were unwilling to schedule access for necessary repairs. But today, Ohebshalom's games finally caught up with him. Judge Stoller's order sends a powerful message to landlords across the city that they must follow the law and provide safe and habitable living conditions for tenants. These tenants deserve a safe place to live and, with our partners at HPD, we will continue to amplify their stories and fight for their dignity and respect." 



The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.