June 18, 2015
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – In spite of warnings from New York State and City, there are landlords who are refusing to obey the law. These bad guys are exposing tenants to dangerous health and safety risks.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced the arrest and indictment of landlord Daniel Melamed by the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force (“Task Force”), on charges that Melamed endangered the health and safety of rent regulated tenants, including a six year old child, during demolition and construction that began in February 2014 at his 14-unit building at 1578 Union Street in Brooklyn.
The arrests are the first to result from an investigation led by the multi-agency task force.
“These charges send a strong message to landlords across New York City: if you harass, intimidate, or jeopardize the health and safety of your tenants, we will come after you with the full force of the law,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Our task force is working hard to identify, investigate, and prosecute the worst landlords in this city."
Prosecutors allege that Melamed presided over a disturbing pattern of dangerous and unlawful construction that jeopardized the health and safety of building tenants and forced at least one rent regulated tenant to move out. Its alleged that Melamed illegally shut off heat to rent regulated tenants, even when temperatures dropped below freezing. He repeatedly exposed tenants to lead dust that exceeded acceptable levels by as much as eighty-eight times the permissible threshold. He unlawfully destroyed interior walls and common spaces.
Melamed is also accused of filing a false document with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). In an apparent attempt to mislead city officials and avoid stricter oversight of the construction project and elude tenant protection measures, Melamed allegedly stated in DOB filings that his Crown Heights building was vacant, when in fact some of the units were occupied—many by rent regulated tenants.
“Our Task Force is sending a loud message to predatory landlords: you will be caught, and the consequences will be severe. The alleged wrongdoing of this landlord put tenants’ health and safety at risk. We won’t let that stand in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.