The governor-declared severe winter-storm state of emergency in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties, and its related caps on rent increases, expired at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 5.  Consequently, as of March 6, there are no governor-declared states of emergency in effect that trigger the anti-price gouging limitations of Penal Code Section 396.

Although no county is under an emergency proclaimed by Gov. Newsom, it is crucial for rental housing providers to be aware that local emergency declarations with related price caps may still be in place.  Emergency declarations, whether from the president, governor, or local governments, automatically activate California’s anti-price-gouging law, Penal Code Section 396. This statute caps increases in the cost of numerous consumer goods and services, including rental housing, to no more than 10% above pre-emergency levels. The cap extends to both rent increases for current tenants and those that take place during unit turnover.   

As a reminder, while CAA monitors emergencies declared by the governor, it does not track emergency declarations made by local officials, which also trigger the price-gouging restrictions under Penal Code Section 396. For information on local emergency declarations, landlords are advised to consult with the relevant local authorities.

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.