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Welcome back to Survival in San Diego.

I didn’t get a chance to fit this into the story today on some homes in inland North County that have raised rents since the fires.

The region’s apartment association chief, Bob Pinnegar, told me yesterday about his group’s message to their member landlords to beware of the implications of California penal code section 396. From a press release from the San Diego County Apartment Association:

Under California Penal Code Section 396, for the following 30 day period after a disaster has been declared, it is unlawful for a person to sell or offer a variety of consumer items, including rental housing, for a price more than 10 percent above the price charged immediately prior to the declaration.

“My hope is that somebody isn’t going to be gouging, especially after all we’ve been through,” Pinnegar said.

But the implications for single-family housing, like the homes we mentioned in the story today, are grayer, like Steven Kellman of the Tenants Legal Center said in my story.

Some of those explanations offered by agents — the price for furnished vs. unfurnished homes, the expected differences between month-to-month and longer term leases — could exempt these homes from the 10 percent rule, especially if those options (and their accompanying charges) weren’t advertised before the fires.

I heard from Councilwoman Donna Frye, who pointed out this section of the city’s Municipal Code, which expands the definition of housing from just month-to-month:

“Housing” means any rental housing leased on a month-to-month or one year term.

I asked Frye what brought about this addition to the code, and I’ll keep you posted on that. If you have any thoughts to share, please click my name below to send me an e-mail.

KELLY BENNETT

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