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Rent Stabilization Board
Rent Stabilization Board

Penal Code Section 396: Information & Resources

On October 9, 2017 Governor Brown issued a State of Emergency for Sonoma and surrounding counties as a result of the multiple fires which began on October 8th. That same day the California Attorney General issued a Consumer Alert on Price Gouging as defined by California Penal Code Section 396 which generally prohibits increases of greater than 10% for goods such as gas, food and housing. According to the text of the emergency declaration and Penal Code Section 396, rents may not be increased by more than 10% “above the price charged by that person . . . immediately prior to the proclamation of the declaration of emergency.” Protections under the law are not restricted to the city or county where the disaster occurred.

The Rent Board advises all landlords and tenants who have questions regarding this law to contact the Attorney General’s Office.  Because violation of the law carries potential criminal penalties, you may also wish to contact the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for further questions.

The Rent Board is not able to provide detailed counseling regarding this law, so we suggest that landlords and tenants contact either of the two offices listed above or a private attorney.

Please visit the Attorney General’s FAQ’s on the anti-price-gouging law.  

You may also wish to review the law (California Penal Code Section 396).

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Rent Stabilization Board, 2125 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7368
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
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