Brooklyn Landlord Arrested for Mistreating Rent-Stabilized Tenants In Attempt To Force Them Out

June 17, 2015 | Liam Mathews

On Wednesday, Daniel Melamed, owner of 1578 Union Street, a residential building in Crown Heights, became the first landlord arrested by the task force convened by Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The task force is going landlords who harass and threaten their rent-stabilized tenants in attempts to force them out, the Daily News reports.

Melamed has been charged with unlawful eviction, child endangerment and filing false documents. Melamed, the charges state, illegally knocked down interior walls and destroyed common areas and shut off heat in 1578 Union Street last December. The destruction also launched toxic levels of lead paint dust into the air in some apartments, including one where a six-year-old child lives.

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,” Schneiderman said.

The building currently has 251 open housing code violations, including 185 deemed serious by the city Department of Housing Preservation & Development, according to the Daily News.

Melamed’s arrest comes two days after Albany allowed regulations that control how much rent landlords can charge rent-stabilized tenants to expire. While tenants won’t immediately lose their rights, watchdogs know that landlords will use the expiration to threaten tenants. Hopefully Melamed’s arrest serves as an effective warning that harassment won’t be tolerated.

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