Tenants protest unsafe living conditions in Washington Heights building

Crystal Cranmore Image
Friday, March 24, 2023
Washington Heights tenants protest hazardous conditions
Tenants in two Washington Heights buildings protest hazardous conditions they say the landlord is responsible for.

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- Dead rodents, broken pipes, stench of clogged water, and caved bathroom ceilings are just a few snapshots of the conditions residents at two Washington Heights buildings say they've been forced to live in for years.

"After four days of water leak, I would call everyday and he would tell me, don't call so much, I will fix it," said one of the residents of 705 West 170th Street.

Between 705 and 709 West 170th Street, there are about 700 building violations.

Residents have had it.

Standing side by side with city leaders today, they denounced the landlord of the two buildings, Daniel Ohebshalom. His building at 709

West 170 Street has more than 400 open violations, while 705 West 170 has 326.

"This is not a way for tenants to continue to live," said councilwoman Carmen De La Rosa.

A man who identified himself as the superintendent said he just started working two months ago after residents went four years without a super.

"This is not about the job getting done," he claimed. ""They didn't have a super for how long? Now they have a super and it's an issue to get the job done? This is about them getting the apartment."

However, residents maintain this is about living in dignity.

They say the landlord has about 20 empty apartments between both buildings that haven't been rented out in years.

"The landlord doesn't want to continue to rent to people," said councilwoman De La Rosa. "He's warehousing the apartments while he tries to kick out everyone else."

"That's all we ask for," said one of the many tenants. "We want repairs and a decent, safe, sanitary place to live."

The New York City Housing Preservation and Development released a statement, in part, stating, "These are two of the most poorly managed buildings in the city, and HPD will continue to use our strongest tools to hold the building owner accountable."

Eyewitness News reached out to the landlord who's yet to respond.

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