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Price gouging possible in areas hit by wildfires

Price gouging possible in areas hit by wildfires

By Ron Trujillo/ron@calhomenews.com

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.

Consumers are encouraged to report suspected price gouging. Also, check the legal definition of price gouging in California.

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

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