Congressman urges Letitia James to investigate RealPage

RealPage’s legal woes keep piling up.

Rep. Daniel Goldman, the Democratic congressman from New York’s 10th District, in a letter asked Attorney General Letitia James to look into the proptech company, according to Gothamist. Goldman took aim at the company’s algorithms, which sets price recommendations for landlords and property managers and has been scrutinized for price fixing. 

“There is clearly broad interest in holding bad actors accountable for using anticompetitive practices in the rental market,” Goldman said in his letter, Gothamist reported. “Their abhorrent behavior favors profits over affordability for the many low- and moderate-income families in our cities and neighborhoods desperate for reasonably priced housing.”

James’ office told Gothamist that Goldman’s letter is being reviewed. RealPage did not respond to a request for comment from the news outlet. 

RealPage recommends landlords keep apartments empty to increase demand and prices, according to a ProPublica investigation cited by Gothamist. 

Lawsuits have been filed against the proptech company by Washington D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb, as well as tenants across the country who have support from the Department of Justice. They accuse RealPage of allowing landlords to conspire to inflate rents, in violation of antitrust laws. 

Goldman, a former federal prosecutor, said RealPage’s rent-setting tool is contributing to record-high housing costs in New York City. 

The company’s “unprecedented access to public and private landlord data in New York City … facilitates pricing collusion and eliminates traditional market competition,” Goldman states in his letter. 

Last year, 17 members of Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, urged the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to investigate RealPage, comparing the company’s business strategy and data sharing practices to a “cartel.” 

A federal judge earlier this year allowed tenants from different states to consolidate their lawsuit against RealPage into a class action challenge. The DOJ this month asked the judge to deny RealPage’s motion to dismiss the case. 

— Harrison Connery

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