Assemblyman proposes bill to clarify anti-price gouging rules for rental housing

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A state lawmaker whose district was ravaged by wildfires last year has proposed legislation that targets rent gouging following declarations of disaster.

After fires devastated California’s Wine Country and areas of Southern California late last year, there was confusion over how and when California’s existing ban on price gouging applied.

AB 1919 by Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, seeks to eliminate future confusion by clarifying elements of the existing law.

Assemblyman Jim Wood

AB 1919 would clarify that, upon proclamation of a state of emergency by the governor, president, or local official, it is unlawful for a landlord to increase the monthly rental price for rental housing by more than 10 percent, even if an insurance company or third party is willing to pay a higher rental price.

Moreover, the bill makes it clear that it’s a violation of law for a property owner to evict a tenant so he or she can rent a unit at a price above the 10 percent cap.

While CAA provided extensive information about the law in articles and on a webpage dedicated to the wildfires, many people, including law enforcement, had remaining questions about its application.

CAA is working with Assemblyman Wood to add further clarification about price gouging to the law to help property owners and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities under this and future proclamations.

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