New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development

11/29/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/29/2023 09:24

HPD’s Housing Litigation Yields Responsible Administrator for Distressed Hell’s Kitchen Building Following $4 Million Legal Triumph Against Infamous Landlord

November 29, 2023

The New Appointment Promises a Safe, Habitable, and Improved Tenant Environment on the Horizon

NEW YORK - The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development(HPD) today announced that the agency prevailed in its case before Housing Court seeking the appointment of a 7A administrator to take over the management of 410 West 46th Street in Hell's Kitchen, owned by one of the city's worst landlords, Daniel Ohebshalom. HPD sought the appointment of a 7A administrator due to Ohebshalom's failure to maintain the building in a condition that protects the life, health, and safety of the tenants living there. Assuming the administrator role, Fernando Alfonso from CFF Consulting will be responsible for managing and revitalizing the building to elevate standards and expedite essential repairs, ensuring tenants' needs are met. Furthermore, the owner and his affiliates will be prohibited from collecting rent or having any presence in the building.

The Court's appointment of a 7A administrator at 410 West 46th Street follows landmark legal victories by the City worth nearly $4.2 million against Ohebshalom and his affiliates. In August and September, HPD's Housing Litigation Division obtained over $3 million in civil penalties, and findings of civil and criminal contempt at two Washington Heights buildings under the same ownership and management as 410 West 46th Street. In October, the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) also collected over $1.1 million in penalties and outstanding fines for tenant harassment and illegal short-term rentals in three Midtown Manhattan and Hell's Kitchen buildings, including 410 West 46th St.

"Housing conditions are key to tenant safety and well-being, and the appointment of an administrator at 410 West 46th St is a real achievement," said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer "As a City, we look forward to seeing improved conditions for these tenants, and continuing to pursue accountability in service of tenants' quality of life."

"This should serve as a clear message to other bad actors in New York City's residential real estate market. If you don't care for your building and your tenants, allowing for poor living conditions to persist, and just see your property as a cash machine, we will hold you accountable," said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. "I want to thank everyone who fought for these tenants and the tenants who spoke up about the injustices they were facing. You helped us make a compelling case before Housing Court and hold Daniel Ohebshalom and his associates responsible for their odious behavior."

"The path to improving the quality of life and conditions at this building starts today. As the new 7A administrator for this building, I look forward to working with the tenants to bring a resolution to any safety concerns and put an end to any harassment," said Fernando Alfonso from CFF Consulting. "I want to thank the tireless and dedicated staff of HPD's 7A Division, without them my work could never be accomplished."

The 7A Program is designed to protect tenants' life, health, and safety in privately-owned buildings. Under this program, the court appoints an administrator who collects rent and uses the funds to provide essential services to the tenants. They also carry out necessary repairs under the court's supervision. To qualify for this appointment, the applicant must have a proven record of good financial standing and building management. HPD maintains an approved list of 7A administrators who they recommend for each court appointment. Fernando Alfonso, an experienced property manager with 30 years of experience, has been serving as a 7A administrator since 2016. He is currently the 7A administrator for six buildings across New York City.

General repairs and maintenance in the building will commence as tenants pay rent. During this transition, the 7A administrator is expected to meet with tenants to discuss the scope of work, learn more about immediate hazardous conditions that require repairs, and discuss expectations.

"Bad landlords like Daniel Ohebshalom must be held accountable for their actions. I'm thrilled that another step has been taken towards finally making 410 West 46th Street habitable through the appointment of an administrator through the 7A process," said State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. "I thank HPD for pursuing this case and will continue to work closely with the tenants to ensure that their buildings are finally repaired.

"With a 7A administrator in place, the tenants of 410 West 46th Street will finally get the crucial repairs and dignified living conditions that Daniel Ohebshalom has dangerously neglected for years. I'm grateful to the tenants, HPD, and community advocates for relentlessly pursuing this case," said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. "We will not stand for tenants here or anywhere being exploited."

"20 months ago we stood on the steps of 410 West 46th Street and vowed that we'd do everything in our power to end the years of landlord neglect and harassment inflicted upon our neighbors. It's been a long road, but we've stuck with the tenants every step of the way, and now our sustained efforts are bearing fruit, said City Council Member Erik Bottcher. "Along the way, we also helped prevent the demolition of 412 West 46th, which was at one point imminent. Now, a 7A administrator will bring this building into a state of good repair, lease out the vacant apartments, and make this building a better neighbor to others on the block. I want to thank the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development for pursuing this legal action, my dedicated staff member Jordan Feiner, as well as the Department of Buildings, the NYC Office of Special Enforcement, and the HK45/46 Block Association for their hard work on this. We will continue working tirelessly to ensure that no tenants will ever have to continue facing such horrors within their own homes, and that landlords who commit such acts are held accountable for their abhorrent behavior."

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The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) promotes quality and affordability in the City's housing, and diversity and strength in the City's neighborhoods - because every New Yorker deserves a safe, affordable place to live in a neighborhood they love. We maintain building and resident safety and health, create opportunities for New Yorkers through housing affordability, and engage New Yorkers to build and sustain neighborhood strength and diversity. HPD is entrusted with fulfilling these objectives through the goals and strategies of Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness, Mayor Adams' comprehensive housing framework. To learn more about what we do, visit nyc.gov/hpd and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing