Gov. Newsom on Saturday declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County due to an I-10 freeway fire; however, unlike most emergency proclamations, it hasn’t activated California’s anti-price gouging law and will not affect the ability of L.A. County landlords to adjust rents. 

The emergency declaration aims to accelerate repairs to the damaged freeway, minimizing disruptions for commuters and residents in the area.  

While a governor-declared state of emergency typically triggers Penal Code section 396, restricting price increases for various consumer goods and services, including rental housing, to no more than 10% above pre-emergency levels, Newsom expressly suspended these price-gouging restrictions in this case. This is made possible through Government Code section 8571, which allows the governor to bypass certain legal procedures during emergencies if they would impede effective emergency response. 

Despite the governor’s exemption, any local rent control laws, as well as limits under the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, still apply. While CAA does not track local emergency declarations, such declarations can still trigger price-gouging restrictions. For local declarations, rental housing providers should consult local authorities for the most current information. Violating local emergency ordinances can result in criminal and/or civil penalties.