Forecasted additional and continuing severe winter storms related to a series of atmospheric river systems threatening California prompted Gov. Newsom on Wednesday to proclaim a statewide state of emergency with a related cap on rent increases.

Newsom’s proclamation triggers Penal Code Section 396, the state’s anti-price-gouging statute. This law makes it illegal to increase the price of many consumer goods and services, including that of rental housing, by more than 10% above pre-emergency levels.  The limits on rent increases apply to existing tenants and to rent increases at unit turnover.

The state of emergency and protections against price gouging are set to expire Feb. 3, 2023, but can be extended.

Newsom’s office said the state of emergency is intended to allow the state to respond quickly as the storm develops and support the ongoing local response and recovery efforts related to the recent winter storms.

The governor’s proclamation has also activated the State Operations Center to its highest level, and the state and federal government have stood up the Flood Operations Center, which covers forecasting, reservoir operations coordination, and provides technical support as well as flood fighting materials like sandbags for local agencies.

The news release accompanying the Governor’s emergency proclamation provides residents with information on how to prepare for the forecasted storms.

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.