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Tenants of NYC's "worst" landlord demand ownership of his buildings after he went to jail

Tenants of NYC's "worst" landlord demand ownership of his buildings
Tenants of NYC's "worst" landlord demand ownership of his buildings 02:04

NEW YORK -- People who live at two Washington Heights buildings maintained by New York City's alleged "worst" landlord say they should now own their apartments in order to make repairs after he went to jail. 

Dozens of longtime residents at 705 and 709 West 170th Street rallied Monday in a fight to have the properties converted to tenant-owned co-ops by a nonprofit developer. 

They said their landlord, Daniel Ohebshalom, has neglected the buildings for years. Some said they've been complaining about cockroaches, garbage piling up, and heat and hot water problems for decades. 

"Imagine waking up in the middle of the night with smoke throughout the building and the smell of burning oil because of a boiler that was never maintained. Imagine fighting cancer and not having heat and water," a man at the rally said. 

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is one of the city leaders and housing advocates supporting them. 

"Eighteen months ago we came here to announce our worst landlord of that year and Daniel Ohebshalom and Jonathan Santana topped that list, and since then the strength of the tenants has really shown," said Williams.

We're told city officials will be inspecting both buildings in the coming weeks to help make a decision. 

Landlord jailed for housing violations

Ohebshalom was sentenced to jail time for several housing violations and was indicted for harassing rent-regulated tenants. His buildings have nearly 700 health and safety violations related to repairs, according to city records. 

Ohebshalom's tenants say not much has changed since they showed CBS New York the leaks, rats, trash and much-needed repairs all over their units in March. 

"All we want from 705 and 709, is to own our apartments," a woman said at the rally. 

We reached out to Ohebshalom and his associates to comment on this report, but have not heard back. 

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