PS Orangeco Inc., an affiliate name of self-storage real estate investment trust (REIT) and third-party management firm Public Storage Inc., has agreed to pay $140,000 in penalties and costs for violating California’s price-gouging restrictions in the aftermath of the October 2017 Northern California wildfires. The judgment ordered by Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Patrick Broderick included an injunction to prohibit future violations, according to a press release.
The complaint filed against PS Orangeco was a joint action between the district attorneys’ offices in Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. The ruling determined the self-storage operator raised prices by more than 10 percent during a declared state of emergency. The statewide restriction was enacted on Oct. 9, 2017, by former Gov. Jerry Brown in response to the wildfires, which hit the North Bay Area particularly hard, the source reported. The measure has been extended multiple times and remains in effect through Dec. 31.
Public Storage agreed to the judgment and cooperated in the investigation, according to Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch. The company has issued full refunds, along with a $10 courtesy credit, to all customers affected in the three counties, the release stated.
Based in Glendale, Calif., Public Storage has interests in 2,468 self-storage facilities in 38 states, with approximately 167 million net rentable square feet. It holds a 35 percent interest in Shurgard Self Storage SA, which has 231 facilities in seven European countries, with approximately 13 million net rentable square feet.
The Press Democrat, Owner of Public Storage Facility to Pay $140,000 for Price Gouging Violations
County of Sonoma, PS Orangeco Inc., Owner and Operator of Public Storage