Gov. Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency with a related cap on rent increases in San Diego and Ventura counties on Tuesday, Jan. 23, due to severe winter storms that started in late December and continued through Monday, Jan. 22. The storms caused widespread flooding and mudslides.

The governor’s emergency proclamation has again triggered Penal Code Section 396, the state’s anti-price gouging law, making it illegal to increase prices of many goods and services, including rental housing, by more than 10% above pre-emergency levels. The limits on rent increases apply to existing tenants and at unit turnover.

The state of emergency and protections against price gouging are slated to expire Feb. 22, 2024, but can be extended. 

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.