Dear CSSA Members:
There has been much discussion surrounding California’s so-called “price gouging” laws with the growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19). The CSSA has been monitoring the current situation and wants to take a moment to provide its Members with information and resources to assist in assessing your compliance obligations moving forward.
As you may have heard, California’s Governor Newsom has declared a statewide “State of Emergency” effective as of March 4, 2019. A copy of the California State of Emergency proclamation can be accessed by following this link. In addition, the California Attorney General’s Office issued a price gouging warning statement, which can be accessed here. Please also be aware that there are non-COVID 19 states of emergency (e.g., wildfires) in effect in various counties throughout California; a list of counties affected by “states of emergency” is published by California’s Office of Emergency Services and can be accessed via this website.*
Currently, California’s price gouging laws are codified in Section 396 of the California Penal Code, and non-compliance carries both criminal and civil penalties. Be aware - California’s price gouging laws apply to the self storage business and thus, compliance is required. The CSSA urges its Members to seek legal guidance from a licensed California attorney to ensure compliance during these difficult times.
*The CSSA makes no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of the information shown on the California Office of Emergency Services website. Please be sure to contact your local city or county emergency authority or sheriff’s office to obtain additional information regarding local declarations of emergencies. Please also remember that expiration dates for any state of emergency (whether statewide or local) can be extended under the law, so it is incumbent upon all business owners to remain diligent with checking for status updates as expiration deadlines approach.*