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Landlords Reportedly Spike Rents For Displaced Porter Ranch Families

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During any crisis there will be some people looking to profit off people in need. As thousands of families in Porter Ranch look to relocate while SoCalGas tries to plug the leaking well, landlords in nearby communities have reportedly spiked rents.A Craigslist listing for a one-bedroom apartment in Panorama City, boldly titled "PORTER RACH [sic] GAS LEAK VICTIMS LOOK HERE," lists the unit at a sky-high $4,000 a month. ForRent.com estimates a similar unit at the same address at $1,350 per month. Other Craigslist listings have titles such as "Short Term Lease for Porter Ranch Residents," and "Perfect for Families Affected by Gas Leak."

State law forbids landlords from raising rents more than 10 percent after the declaration of an emergency. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Porter Ranch on Wednesday.

"[Where] rental prices would normally go between $3,000 and $4,000, now landlords are asking six, seven, eight, nine thousand dollars— double, triple the rent of what it should be," Allen Brodetsky, president of Boutique Realty, told KPCC.

Families have temporarily moved out and schools have closed as a massive amount of methane continues to spew out of SoCalGas' Aliso Canyon facility. The utility says it might not be able to fix the leak until late March.

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"With the need to relocate, rental rates have just exploded," attorney R. Rex Parris, who represents Porter Ranch residents in a class action lawsuit against SoCalGas, told The San Fernando Valley Sun.

The California Attorney General’s office told KPCC that it couldn't confirm receiving complaints about the rise in rental prices in the area because that information is to be kept private.

Despite the landlords taking advantage of a desperate situation, it ultimately won't affect the bottom lines of too many people. SoCalGas has offered to cover the costs of relocation, paying thousands of dollars to each family affected.