Roommates + Landlords

Infamous NYC landlord sent to Rikers for skipping repairs at Manhattan buildings

  • One of Gotham’s ‘worst landlords’ will spend up to two months at Rikers Island for allegedly dodging repairs at two properties
  • The two Washington Heights buildings have lead paint, mold, and roach and rodent infestations, according to the HPD
Celia Young Headshot
By Celia Young  |
March 27, 2024 - 9:30AM
Close-up view of New York City style apartment buildings with emergency stairs along Mott Street in Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, United States.

Ohebshalom allegedly delayed repairs at the two Washington Heights buildings for years.


An infamous New York City landlord will spend up to two months at Rikers Island after allegedly failing to make hundreds of court-ordered repairs at two Washington Heights buildings.

Landlord Daniel Ohebshalom turned himself in to the city’s sheriff on March 21st where he was transported to Rikers Island to begin his jail sentence, two weeks after a warrant for his arrest was first issued, Gothamist reported. 

He was briefly hospitalized one day later, after another person in custody punched him in the face. Sources told NBC news that Ohebshalom was probably not specifically targeted by the assailant.

[Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include that Ohebshalom turned himself in, and was transported to Rikers on March 21st.]

A Manhattan judge ordered on March 8th that Ohebshalom spend at most 60 days at Rikers, unless he removes the lead paint, mold, and roach and rodent infestations, and other problems at 705 and 709 West 170th St. in Washington Heights, according to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

Ohebshalom’s failure to address the nearly 700 violations between the two properties for more than a year pushed Judge Jack Stoller to order the arrest warrant, Gothamist reported. 

“All of the above violations, serious conditions all, and by no means an exhaustive list of the ongoing conditions that the tenants of the subject premises have had to endure, have remained uncorrected since November of 2022,” Stoller wrote in his order.

NYC public advocate Jumaane Williams ranked Ohebshalom and his associates as the worst city landlords on his annual list in 2023, though Ohebshalom doesn’t actually live in NYC, according to the HPD. He resides in California, according to the HPD. 

Representatives for the sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Ohebshalom’s attorney and a representative for Keystone Management, the property manager for 705 West 170th St., did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Hazardous violations

The HPD first filed its lawsuit against Ohebshalom’s firm, Belmont Ventures LLC, in 2021 after finding that the owners had ignored “significant violations” at the properties, according to the department. The issues were so bad the agency made emergency repairs to address leaks, mold, and self-closing doors at both buildings in 2023.

At least seventeen tenants have sued to get fixes for a lack of heat, roach and rodent infestations, longstanding leaks, exposed electrical wiring and more across the two properties, according to court records. Ohebshalmon has allegedly tried to get out of repairs by claiming that the tenant’s won’t allow him to patch up their units, said Ashley Viruet, a supervising attorney at Manhattan Legal Services, who is representing the tenants. 

"For far too long, these tenants have suffered deplorable living conditions—conditions that Ohebshalom himself would never abide by," said Viruet. "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.”

A warning shot

The arrest serves as a warning to landlords who think they can blow off court-ordered repairs, HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión said in a statement.

“I want to be crystal clear, if you create unsafe, unhealthy, and unlivable conditions, we will hold you accountable,” Carrión said. “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.”

Past penalties

The warrant is far from the first time the HPD has taken aim at Ohebshalom. 

The HPD scored more than $3 million in civil penalties against him in 2023 after a court found that Ohebshalom ignored court orders and failed to address unsafe living conditions at the Washington Heights buildings. The city also won nearly $4.2 million through three lawsuits against Ohebshalom that same year over an alleged illegal short-term rental scheme in three Midtown and Hell’s kitchen buildings. 

In one extraordinary case, tenants at 331 East 14th St. in the East Village tried to kick Ohebshalom out as their landlord. They filed a 7A complaint requesting that a court appoint an administrator to take over the building from two of Ohebshalom’s firms, though it's unclear if that effort was successful. The property was listed for sale through foreclosure last year.

Celia Young Headshot

Celia Young

Senior Writer

Celia Young is a senior writer at Brick Underground where she covers New York City residential real estate. She graduated from Brandeis University and previously covered local business at the Milwaukee Business Journal, entertainment at Madison Magazine, and commercial real estate at Commercial Observer. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

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