Statewide “Anti-Gouging” Emergency Declaration Limits Rent Increases

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Federal Realty Building, 1615 Broadway, Oakland, CA. Courtesy of commons.Wikimedia.org

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a declaration Oct. 27 announcing a statewide emergency due to wildfires and evacuations that recently ravaged California, triggering the state’s “anti-gouging law” (AB-1919), which overrides Costa Hawkins rent law and establishes “vacancy control” during the period of the declaration.

Any owner or landlord who violates the emergency declaration is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be prosecuted for costs and damages.

The law, with limited exceptions, prohibits all businesses from raising prices of various goods and services , including rents, more than 10 percent. The 10 percent limit on rent and price increases is a total cap statewide during the ‘State of Emergency,’ not an annual cap and is effective for 180 days (six months).

“The emergency declaration will impact everybody, not just those who come under Oakland’s rent ordinance. In terms of housing and commercial spaces, it will limit increases to 10 percent for people in live in new buildings and single family houses, as well as businesses in office buildings and storefronts,” said James Vann of the Oakland Tenants Union.

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