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Tenant and infamous landlord are in a court battle over claims of black mold, pests, rent hikes, and eviction

A San Jose landlord who is notorious for allowing his rental properties to fall into hazardous disrepair, is accused of skirting around the city’s new tenant protection laws.

Michael Lucich, the landlord in question, has tried to raise the rents at the apartment complex he owns on Rexford way, higher than the 5 percent allowable per year by the city of San Jose. He has also evicted residents without having just cause.

Katherine, who asked to have her name withheld for personal reasons, is a tenant at the Rexford Way apartment complex owned by Michael Lucich, says that the landlord evicted her, and that he has no right to do so because he failed to keep the 12-unit apartment up to code and legally habitable. Lucich has repeatedly demanded higher rent from his tenants while ignoring the desperately needed repairs and pest infestations.

San Jose recently passed a law that requires landlords to clearly state one of a dozen approved reasons for ending a lease agreement. The law is called the “just cause” ordinance, and it was intended to prevent baseless and retaliatory evictions. Katherine claims that the eviction notice she was recently issued does not abide by the law.

Lucich denies the allegations that Katherine has made.

“She’s not a good housekeeper,” Lucich said. “She doesn’t pick her garbage up, you know. But we fixed everything she needed and it’s time for her to relocate.”

Despite what Lucich claims, city and court records show that he has a longstanding pattern of keeping his rental properties in substandard conditions that are not suitable for habitation. Litigation, fines, citations, and media reports – of which there have been several – haven’t really done anything to change the situation.

A local San Jose news station did a report on Lucich a few years ago, after a lawsuit that was brought against him by a number of former tenants who accused him of ignoring fair housing laws. When reporters visited the property, they found that the walkway of the second-story was so weakened by rot that it was closed off. Tenants had to be relocated while it was being rebuilt and two were made homeless as a result of displacement. A judge ordered Lucich to pay the cost of the tenants’ relocation expenses.

Lucich, who himself resides in a multi-million dollar home in Los Gatos and owns and operates a salon with his wife in Palo Alto, bought the Rexford Way apartment in 1998. The current value of the property is estimated to be $2 million. Records from the county indicate that he made around $800,000 in improvements to the property; however, a quick look around the courtyards shows there is still severe damage. Inside, the apartments are littered with damage, including severe mold growth and pest infestations.

Mold Inspection & Testing San Jose is a reputable mold assessment company. We strongly recommend Lucich arrange for mold testing at his Rexford Way apartment complex to ensure that his tenants health is not in jeopardy. To speak to an MI&T representative, call 408.800.1612.

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