Housing Rent Increases Over 10% Are Illegal in California Due to State of Emergency

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As of October 27, 2019, it is illegal for landlords to increase housing rent by more than 10% in California, following Governor Newsom’s declaration of a state of emergency due to wildfire conditions.

State officials have passed this law in order to prevent landlords from charging higher rental prices to people impacted by California wildfires—a practice called “price gouging.” However, this law protects all people who rent housing in California. (The law also bans price gouging in other areas, such as food, transportation, and hotel accommodations.) This law will remain in effect as long as California’s state of emergency is in effect. A state of emergency lasts for 30 days, and can be extended state-wide (by the Governor) or county-wide (by county officials).

In other words, if your landlord tries to raise your rent by more than 10% between October 27 and November 26, 2019, this is illegal. However, the time period might be extended if the Governor extends the state of emergency, or if you live in a county that extends the state of emergency.

BayLegal attorneys have created a letter template for California renters (see below) to send to landlords who try to illegally raise their rent during the state of emergency. It explains that the landlord is violating the law. It demands that the landlord withdraw their notice of increased rent and change the rent back to the original amount.

For free legal help and referrals about housing issues, call the BayLegal Legal Advice Line. BayLegal also runs a Tenant’s Rights Line for Alameda County residents experiencing housing-related legal issues. Help is available in all languages.