The initial winter storm-related states of emergency, along with accompanying restrictions on rent increases, have expired in San Diego and Ventura counties as of Feb. 22.

Additionally, the state of emergency declared in Humboldt, Imperial, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties concluded on March 3. Currently, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties continue to be under a governor-declared emergency due to severe storms in early February. This declaration is set to expire on March 5, but could be extended by the governor.

These emergency proclamations activate Penal Code Section 396, California’s anti-price-gouging statute. This law prohibits raising the price of various consumer goods and services, including rental housing, by more than 10% above pre-emergency levels. The rent increase limitations are applicable to both existing tenants and at the point of unit turnover.

The California Apartment Association reminds readers that it does not track emergency declarations made by local officials. However, local emergencies declared by cities and counties also initiate the price-gouging limits under Penal Code 396. For information on local emergency declarations, contacting the relevant local authorities is advisable.

Violations of the statewide anti-price-gouging law can result in significant penalties, including up to a year in county jail, fines up to $10,000, or both, in addition to civil penalties. Additional sanctions may be imposed by local ordinances.