RealPage, Major Landlords Hit With Lawsuit Over Rent-Setting Algorithm
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against RealPage and some of the largest U.S. multifamily property managers for allegedly inflating apartment rents beyond competitive levels by using RealPage multifamily pricing software YieldStar.
The suit comes less than a week after a report by ProPublica on YieldStar and its impacts on rents across the U.S. Sources told ProPublica that YieldStar's algorithm removes the human element from rental rate analysis and relies only on data, often resulting in higher rents.
Besides RealPage, landlords Greystar Real Estate Partners, Lincoln Property Co., FPI Management, MAA, Equity Residential, Essex Property Trust and Security Properties are among those named in the suit.
Filed in the Southern District of California on behalf of all multifamily renters whose landlords have used RealPage tech, the lawsuit accuses the company of sharing price information in such a way that essentially forms a cartel to maintain higher rents.
YieldStar analyzes data gathered from RealPage clients and uses it to recommend pricing.
"As industry participants including RealPage’s own executives admit, RealPage’s coordinated algorithmic pricing has caused anticompetitive effects in the form of higher prices and reduced output," the suit says.
“RealPage strongly denies the allegations and will vigorously defend against the lawsuit,” a RealPage spokeswoman told the Dallas Morning News, declining to comment further.