As of today, no California counties are under a governor-declared state of emergency with related caps on rent increases.
Thursday, Oct. 12, brought the expiration of Siskiyou County’s emergency declaration, which stemmed from Tropical Storm Hilary recovery.
Although no county is under an emergency proclaimed by Gov. Newsom – an occurrence that’s often short-lived — it’s crucial for rental housing providers to remember that local emergency declarations with related price caps may still be in place.
Emergency declarations, whether from the president, governor, or local government, automatically activate California’s anti-price-gouging law, Penal Code Section 396. The statute caps increases in the cost of numerous consumer goods and services, including rental housing, at 10% above pre-emergency levels. This limitation extends to both rent increases for current tenants and those that take place during unit turnover.
While CAA monitors governor-declared emergencies, it does not currently monitor emergency announcements made by local jurisdictions, which can also invoke the constraints set forth by Penal Code 396. Rental housing providers should consult local authorities for the most accurate information on any active local emergencies.
Violating the statewide anti-price-gouging legislation carries serious repercussions. Offenders risk a year in county jail, a fine that could reach $10,000, or both. Additional civil penalties may apply, and local ordinances can impose further sanctions.