This article was posted on Monday, Apr 01, 2019

On February 21, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a Proclamation of a State of Emergency in California. This proclamation affects quite a few counties, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

Upon the issuance of a Proclamation of a State of Emergency, the provisions of CA Penal Code section 396 are invoked.  Below is a summary of the provisions of Penal Code section 396.

Effective Dates

Unless extended by another proclamation, these provisions are in effect for 30 days from the date of the proclamation, or through March 23, 2019.

It’s a Misdemeanor!

- Advertisers -

During the 30 days and any extensions, it is a misdemeanor [and also an unlawful business practice and unfair competition] to do any of the following RELATED TO A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY.  It does not affect commercial properties.

  • Rent a housing unit to a new tenant for a price more than 10% greater than the price charged for that unit immediately prior to the proclamation of state of emergency.  There are certain exceptions to this 10% cap.
  • Increase the rent for a housing unit more than 10%.  There are certain exceptions to this 10% cap.  If the property is subject to a local rent control ordinance, the provisions of that ordinance control.
  • Evict a residential tenant and then offer to rent the unit to another person at a rental rate higher than 110% of the rent paid by the evicted tenant.  An eviction case which was begun prior to the proclamation is not included in this prohibition.

If you would like to read the full Penal Code section, here is a link:

[Editor’s Note:  Be sure to check to see if this state of emergency has been extended before you raise your rents!]

Dana J. Seyler is an Attorney at the Menke Law Firm, APC in Long Beach.  She may be reached at 562/496-4300, or by visiting