A request to raise rents at a small apartment complex located at 184 Centre St. was rejected last month by Mountain View housing officials. It was the second recent example of a landlord failing to pass the city's bar for proving that additional rent increases were necessary.
The apartment building was purchased for $4.95 million by Issachar and Rachel Ohana in early 2016, just months before local voters approved Measure V, placing restrictions on rent increases. After the Ohanas acquired the property, most of the 11 tenants were soon served with steep rent increases. In one case, a woman who had lived in a one-bedroom unit since 1974 saw her monthly rent almost double from $1,050 to $2,050.
After voters passed the rent control measure, the apartment owners attempted to lock their tenants into higher rates by getting them to sign yearlong leases. Many tenants agreed to the leases even though their rents were supposed to roll back, under the provisions of Measure V.
In a petition filed earlier this year, David Avny, who co-owns the building, proposed splitting the difference and increasing rents to a level slightly under the amount agreed to in the leases. He pointed to higher property taxes, utility bills and management expenses as evidence that his tenants needed to pay more.
But the city hearing officer who examined his books disagreed. Jil Dalesandro pointed out that the property was still making $35,000 a year in profit while the landlord was allegedly cutting back on maintenance and services. Various expenses, such as travel, office supplies and landlord meals were improperly included in the apartment's expenses to justify rent increases, she said.
In her decision, Dalesandro denied all requests made in the petition.