California Is Cracking Down On Price Gouging In The Wake Of Devastating Fires
California Governor Jerry Brown banned raising rent more than 10 percent in six months and Attorney General Xavier Becerra is warning businesses against other forms of “price gouging” while state residents recover from recent wildfires.
Normally, a ban on rent increases lasts 30 days from the moment an emergency is declared in California. Brown, a Democrat, ordered the ban in place from Oct. 2017 to April 2018, as major fires continue to burn in parts of the state.
Bercerra, also a Democrat, reminded Californians of the ban in early December, around the time six landlords were accused of raising rents and entering into bidding wars. Bids went as high as $10,000 a month in one case, KTVU reports.
“As our brave firefighters are working to contain the blazes and as many Californians are being evacuated, it should not be open season on innocent victims,” Becerra said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Our state’s price gouging law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal price gouging on housing, gas, food and other essential supplies.”
Housing prices in the North Bay area were already rising before October fires destroyed thousands of homes in Northern California. The median price of a single-family home or condo increased more than 13 percent in a year from Sept. 2016. California’s housing shortage will get worse after the fires, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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