Tens of thousands of victims displaced by the the North Bay fires have a place to stay in Berkeley after the city’s Rent Stabilization Board initiated an ordinance that allows property owners to offer their housing units at below market rates.

The succession of fires earlier this month spread over three North Bay counties claimed 40 lives and destroyed more than 20,000 homes.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin encouraged the city’s property owners to utilize the law, if they have units available. “So many people want to help, but may not know how,” he said.

The Berkeley law was first enacted in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and allows only temporary stability to victims of the fires.

Berkeley landlords can now offer units at below market rate for short period of time. Considerations for extending the short-term lease can be worked out between the parties.