Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency in Humboldt County on Dec. 20, 2022, due to the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck near the City of Ferndale. The earthquake resulted in two fatalities and injured multiple people, caused power outages and damaged roads, bridges, buildings and critical infrastructure including water lines and gas lines.

The governor’s emergency proclamation has again triggered the state’s anti-price gouging law. The price-gouging restrictions are slated to expire Jan. 19, 2023, but can be extended. 

Whenever the governor proclaims a state of emergency, Penal Code section 396, which prohibits price gouging, is automatically triggered. The price-gouging restrictions set forth in Penal Code section 396 make it illegal to increase the price of many consumer goods and services, including that of rental housing, by more than 10% above pre-emergency levels.

Anyone convicted of violating the statewide anti-price-gouging law can face a year in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, as well as civil penalties. Local ordinances may impose additional penalties.