How Landlords and Tenants Should Handle Displacement in Porter Ranch

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Photo: "San Fernando Valley vista" by Oakshade at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

When residents of an area are forced to relocate due to a natural disaster, landlords and property owners are often left holding the proverbial bag. In areas surrounding Porter Ranch, some property owners are taking advantage of the tragedy by price gouging residents who left the natural gas laden area out of fear for their own health. Porter Ranch landlords are forbidden to raise their rents more than 10% in the wake of the disaster, but that’s of little concern to most at this juncture. Over 2,500 residents of Porter Ranch have fled the town since the blowout, abandoning rents and mortgages in the process.

If you are a Porter Ranch landlord whose property has been abandoned, do not take any drastic actions to recoup monies from your displaced tenants. Under California law, tenants are entitled to relocate from their current residence during the tenure of their lease should they reside in an area that’s considered unfit for human habitation.

Likewise, while some banks were proactive with their decision to grant leniency to current debtors, the State of Emergency declaration has led additional lenders to suspend mortgage payments for homeowners in the community.

If you are a displaced resident of Porter Ranch, services such as Airbnb and VRBO can provide you with temporary housing and online price comparisons in real time for accommodations in surrounding areas.

If you’ve been forced to abandon a rental in the Porter Ranch area due to the disaster, keep records including your lease in a safe location should you need these documents in order to secure lodging reimbursements from SoCalGas or any state supplied aide.

If you’ve been the victim of price gouging, file a complaint with the Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs who investigates the complaint.  If they find a violation, the Los Angeles City Attorney will prosecute since the crime is a misdemeanor.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of rent gouging or wrongful eviction in Porter Ranch or neighboring communities, you may be entitled to compensation. Find out if you can join our ongoing lawsuit here.