The Naughtiest and Nicest Landlords of 2016

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Last week we profiled 5 real estate agents who broke the law and 5 who went went above and beyond to give back to their community over the course of the past 12 months. But we promised that we’d bring back our list of the best and worst landlords too, and that’s what we have for you today. As before, we’ve combed through news reports and legal briefs to bring you a curated list of the most egregious landlord offenders and some of the most generous and kind ones we could find.

Does your landlord deserve a place on this list? Let us know in the comments!

The Naughty:

Note: We are not including the President-Elect on this list. While there are many accounts of him violating fair housing laws, all cases of note are several decades old.

Landlord: Mohammad Choudry, Milwaukee, WI
Crime: Failing to pay property taxes. Failing to pay building court fines. Failing to record purchases of many apartment buildings in an attempt to hide his ownership. Creating shell companies or using his wife’s name to hide his ownership of nuisance buildings with thousands of code violations. Learn More.
Status: Arrested, but bailed out before he could go to jail. Sued for $1.25m by the city of Milwaukee. A temporary court order prohibits him from purchasing any new properties and requires him to turn over all of his current properties to new management. The case is ongoing.

Landlord: Ephraim Vashovsky, Adam Cohen and Shaoul Ohana, Manhattan, NY
Crime: Engaging in harassment and aggressive tactics to remove low-income tenants from a property they intended to renovate for upmarket resale. Practices included turning off utilities, ripping out huge sections of the building, threatening to deport residents, and bringing eviction suits against the residents for minor lease infractions. Learn More.
Status: Arrested for reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child, coercion, falsifying business records and unlawful eviction. The case is ongoing in the New York Supreme Court, with the next appearance scheduled for March 7 2017.

Landlord: James Harvey Black, North Augusta, SC
Crime: Shooting his tenant over issues related to an eviction case. Learn More.
Status: Black was arrested and charged with attempted murder. As of November 23, he is out on bond and his case is ongoing. The tenant was shot twice but survived.

Landlord: Nemat Maleksalehi and Auria Maleksalehi, Palo Alto, CA
Crime: The father (Nemat) shot out the windows of tenants’ cars. The actions were recorded by the security cameras in the apartment complex’s parking garage. Suspected motive was to drive out rent-controlled renters in order to replace them with others who would pay full market value. The son (Auria) tried to intimidate a witness from going to the police. This is not the first time Nemat has been in hot water – in 2000 he was charged with money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud. Learn More.
Status: Arrested, charged with felony distruction of property.

Landlord: Gregory Nisbet, Portland, ME
Crime: Nisbet’s failure to resolve fire code violations including missing smoke detectors and inadequate escape fire escape routes led to the death of six people in the deadliest fire in Maine in 40 years. (Note: the fire occurred in 2014 but Nisbet’s court case was not resolved until this year.) Learn More.
Status: Nisbet was originally charged with manslaughter but got off with a misdemeanor charge for neglecting his property. Nisbet was sentenced to 90 days in prison and a $1000 fine. The city of Portland, ME has created a Housing Safety Office in response to the fire to ensure other apartment buildings are up to code.

The Nice:

Landlord: Brad Broyles, Greeneville, TN
Good deed: When out on a maintenance call to fix a broken water heater, nurse and part time landlord Broyles stopped to perform CPR on a tenant who had experienced a sudden heart attack. Learn More.

Landlord: Kara Montalbano, Providence, RI
Good deed: Realizing the bias against certain dog breeds within the housing industry, Ms. Montalbano decided that she would only rent out her 3 bedroom house to tenants with pit bulls. Learn More.

Landlord: Trudo housing association, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Good deed: Offering a discount to residents who mentor refugees within the community to help them get accustomed to life in their new country. Learn More.

Landlord: The tenants of 5751 Colorado Ave, Washington DC
Good deed: After suffering for years under a neglectful landlord, the tenants of this property pooled their resources and worked with a local non-profit to buy the building from him, renovate it, and turn it into a cooperative. Learn More.

Landlord: Robert Howe, Missoula, MT
Good deed: An ex-convict himself, Howe created a business that manages several privately owned rental homes as transitional living apartments for other former convicted felons. Learn More.

Want more naughty & nice landlords? Check out our list from 2015!

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.