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RealPage Starts Fighting Back On Price-Fixing Allegations With 'The Real Story'

RealPage has been accused of price-gouging but maintains its innocence.

Property management software and data company RealPage is pushing back against allegations made over the last two years in legal filings and news reports about its use as a price-fixing tool for multifamily landlords.

The counternarrative comes as a report published Tuesday puts some of the company’s other platforms in the spotlight and frames RealPage, through its rent pricing software, as the air inflating multifamily bubbles across the country. 

The report is the latest in a list of accusations made in news reports and by lawsuit plaintiffs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, state attorneys general and attorneys representing class-action plaintiffs that RealPage's software has helped landlords inflate rents. 

In a statement released Tuesday, RealPage addressed the “false narrative” about its revenue management software and underscored the affordability problem around housing in the country and its causes.

“Housing affordability should be the real focus,” RealPage CEO and President Dana Jones said in a statement. Jones pointed at housing undersupply, the effects of inflation on the increasing cost of building housing, cumbersome zoning and permitting regulations, and changes in demand in where and how people want to live as the real factors in the rising cost of rental housing. 

RealPage's statement also reiterated previous comments that its software is used by a smaller section of housing providers than legal opponents have claimed, and that rental housing owners can always choose not to follow the recommendations the software has made.    

“RealPage is proud of the role our customers play in providing safe and affordable housing to millions of people,” Jones said. 

Regardless of its efforts, the negative attention the company has received does not seem to be dying down. The Tuesday report from the American Prospect alleges that, in addition to raising rents to untenable levels, the company's platform also facilitated the charging of high fees and discouraged landlords from lowering rents or making concessions to maintain desirable occupancy levels. 

The bubble-related claim focuses on the fact that calculations for multifamily property values rely heavily on how much rents can be raised. When RealPage allegedly pushed stiff increases in rents across the country, it “baked eternal rent hyperinflation into the forecasting math of multifamily housing, fueling a dramatic plunge in underwriting standards (and attendant rise in valuations) that lined the pockets of every manner of real estate speculator in 2021 and 2022,” the American Prospect reported.