WASHINGTON - D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb is suing the RealPage Inc. and 14 of the largest residential landlords in the District.
The lawsuit alleges the two entities colluded to illegally raise rents for tens of thousands of D.C. residents by collectively delegating price-setting authority to RealPage, which used a centralized pricing algorithm to inflate prices, costing renters millions of dollars.
In a video that Schwalb posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, he says the landlords named in this lawsuit coordinated with each other through RealPage to illegally inflate rents and share company data, creating what he calls a "housing cartel across the District."
The 14 landlords mentioned are some of the largest providers of multifamily housing in the District. According to information obtained by the Office of AG Schwalb, RealPage’s technology was used to set rents for more than 50,000 apartments across D.C., in violation of the District’s Antitrust Act.
"RealPage and the defendant landlords illegally colluded to artificially raise rents by participating in a centralized, anticompetitive scheme, causing District residents to pay millions of dollars above fair market prices," said AG Schwalb. "At a time when affordable housing in D.C. is increasingly scarce, our office will continue to use the law to fight for fair market conditions and ensure that District residents and law-abiding businesses are protected."
The 14 landlords named in the lawsuit include:
- Avenue5 Residential, LLC
- AvalonBay Communities, Inc.
- Bell Partners, Inc.
- Bozzuto Management Company
- Camden Summit Partnership L.P.
- Equity Residential Management, LLC
- Gables Residential Services, Inc.
- GREP Atlantic, LLC
- Highmark Residential, LLC
- JBG Smith Properties, LP
- Mid-America Apartments, LP
- Paradigm Management II, LP
- UDR, Inc.
- William C. Smith & Co., Inc.
Nai Vegas has lived in D.C. for a year and a half and recently moved into a building owned by Gables, one of the rental companies listed in the lawsuit.
Like other residents, Vegas said the most difficult part of her search was finding a home that offered a reasonable price for the size and space. She said for herself personally, a home that had plenty of natural lighting was also important. As a whole, she said she is happy with her apartment and is willing to pay for it, though the monthly rent is a bit pricier than other places she’s lived.
"If I’m renting in another city, maybe yes…of course… I could rent a whole house but here, it is what it is," she said.
RealPage responded Wednesday with the following statement:
"In seeking to draw a causal connection between revenue management software like ours and increases in market-wide rents, this copycat suit repeats the inaccuracies of predecessor cases. The complaint and others like it are wrong on both the facts and the law and we will vigorously defend against it."
FOX 5 reached out to all 14 landlords seeking comment on Wednesday. Only WC Smith responded with the following statement:
"As a general matter, we do not comment on pending litigation, and in this case to our knowledge we have not received any official court papers and as a result lack any actual information about the specifics of the matter."