Del Norte County’s state of emergency, linked to the Smith River Complex Fire and the associated rent increase caps, expired on Sept. 28. Similarly, the Happy Camp Complex Fire’s state of emergency in Siskiyou County ended on the same day. Now, only Siskiyou County remains under a governor-declared emergency, related to Tropical Storm Hilary recovery. This is expected to end Oct. 12, although the governor can extend it.
These emergency proclamations automatically triggered Penal Code Section 396, the state’s anti-price-gouging law. This statute prohibits increasing the price of many consumer goods and services, such as rental housing, by more than 10% above pre-emergency levels. This cap of 10% applies both to rent increases for existing tenants and those happening at unit turnover.
CAA does not monitor emergency declarations made by local authorities. Nonetheless, local emergency declarations by cities and counties also activate the price-gouging limitations set by Penal Code 396. To gather details on such local emergency announcements, check with the local authorities.
Violators of the statewide anti-price-gouging legislation risk facing a year in county jail, a fine that could reach $10,000, or both. They could also incur civil penalties. Note that local ordinances may include further penalties.