Price gouging possible in areas hit by wildfires
By Ron Trujillofirstname.lastname@example.org
Price gouging on rental housing in wildfire-ravaged areas such as Shasta and Sonoma counties is against the law, and state officials are educating consumers of their rights — and warning landlords.
Many wildfire-affected areas are facing a critical shortage of available housing as residents deal with the loss of their homes.
But price gouging — basically dramatically raising rent to take advantage of the situation — is against the law, punishable by prison or as much as a $10,000 fine, or both, according to the California Department of Real Estate. In addition, the state can file unlawful business practices against a landlord.
Price gouging laws are in place in counties where a state of emergency has been declared due to wildfires. For example in Shasta County, where the recent Carr fire in Redding destroyed more than 1,000 homes this summer.
Photo of a wildfire near homes in Anaheim Hills by Aarti Kalyani/Shutterstock
Wildfires could burn a hole in your pocket paying for homeowners insurance
Insurance companies — think Allstate and Wells Fargo — paid more than $12 billion in claims from wildfires in 2017, and industry leaders say across-the-board premium increases are likely, regardless of where a homeowner lives in California, according to a recent report in the San Jose Mercury News.
Photo of a fire-destroyed home in Sonoma-Napa counties by RebeccaJaneCall/Shutterstock