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Mushrooms Grow Out Of The Walls In ‘Dangerous’ NYC Building

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NEW YORK CITY — When Jillian Hoeft discovered a mushroom growing from the wall of her East Village apartment, there was only one thing she could do.

“I couldn’t stop laughing, the first one,” she told Patch. “They basically die and keep growing.”

But what Hoeft and her associates say is no laughing matter.The unsafe and filthy conditions in their building at 331 E. 14th St., they say, were caused by the notorious neglect of their landlord. increase.

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“A lot has happened. I don’t know where to put this story. There are just so many,” Hoeft said.

A ‘good deal’ fell through

The civil court petition filed by Heft and seven of her neighbors against their landlord (Daniel Ohebshalom, also known as Dan Shalom) reads like a laundry list of New York City renters’ worst nightmares.

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In recent months, two collapsed ceilings, rats roaming the building, and bad locks on the front door have allowed squatters to freely enter “nearly every vacant apartment” in the 24-unit building. Occupying, using drugs, urinating, urinating. According to court documents, he defecated miserably.

Someone is sleeping in the front yard of 331 E. 14th St. (Courtesy of Jillian Heft/331 Tenant Association)
An empty apartment at 331 E. 14th St. where the intruder is believed to have crouched. (Courtesy of Jillian Hoeft/331 Tenant Association)

Ohebshalom’s attorney, Simon Reiff, denied the charges in a court filing but did not respond to Patch’s request for comment.

Heft, who works in public relations, never dreamed he’d face a situation like this when he thought he’d landed a “great” lease two years ago.

Rent for a prime location in the East Village was low, around $1,600, she said. And based on the flow of people who saw Hoeft walking down the hall, it seemed like she had a lot of neighbors.

“It turns out they weren’t really,” Hoeft said. “They were intruders staying in empty rooms.”

Heft said he soon learned that only 10 people, including him, actually lived in the building legally.

Heft said the failure of the building’s management to properly repair the broken entrance door despite many desperate pleas to welcome intruders and trespassers-turned-squatters An unwelcome visitor destroyed the mailbox, she said, leaving residents unable to receive parcels and mail.

Heft said that human feces and drug paraphernalia are becoming more common.

“People have come to know that our building is a building they can break into and a building they can sleep in,” she said.

“A lot happened. I don’t know where to go in this story. There’s just so much.”

Residents became afraid to walk in their hallways, Hoeft said.

Without a live-in supervisor and building manager in California, few front door and other repairs would have been made, Heft said.

Heft also said that the building did not have a functioning intercom, so calling the police himself was a daunting task.

“Therefore,” said Heft.


Heft and her neighbors eventually banded together and refused to pay rent, an East Village tenant told Patch.

“If I and my neighbors do not fight back against this slum lord, Daniel Ohevshalom,” said Heft, “who will?”

They got help from Good Old Lower East Side and TakeRoot Justice, but their landlord, Ohebshalom, is no stranger to legal battles.

Ohebshalom is the descendant of a real estate family that has come a long way in complaints of harassment, mismanagement and neglect in New York City. He and his affiliated companies were placed on New York City Public Advocate’s Worst Landlords list in 2015 and his 2018.

Just last year, a group of Queens Tenants sued Ohebshalom’s company Bursting pipes and piles of garbage after the building was filled with rodents.

Takerut Justice’s attorney, Fred Magoburn, said the East Village lawsuit seeks a now-unusual avenue to hold Oeveshalom liable.

Under the so-called “7A proceeding,” Magovern is asking a judge to appoint a rent administrator to act on behalf of the landlord for virtually all intents and purposes.

“It’s meant to be a temporary eviction of the landlord, so they not only pocket the money, but they don’t do their duty as landlords,” he said.

Originally known as the “Rent Strike Act,” 7A was launched decades ago against slum rulers who thought they would make more money tearing down buildings than fixing them. , was enacted when tenants en masse withheld payments, Magone says.

However, it is becoming difficult to proceed with such procedures. The main reason is that his third of the occupied unit’s tenants must agree, Magovern said. There are also loopholes that benefit landlords at the 11th hour, he said.

“Hardly used,” McGovern said. “Very, very rare”

Still, Magovern bet 7A’s “escalation” could help Heft and her neighbors. I claim there is.

A trial in the case is scheduled for November 28. The lawsuit would unfold after a legal stumbling block by his Ohebshalom and his lawyers, which he openly questioned Magovern in a slew of court filings.

“They do a pretty good job of walking to the line,” Magovern said. “And it’s a terrible line.”

Mushrooms continue to grow from the walls of Heft’s bathroom. She strongly suspects that an unfixed leak from the roof is feeding the fungus, as water frequently spouts from the walls far from the sink.

“The latest was this weekend,” Hoeft said. “It was pretty big”

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