November 14, 2022

Bush, García, Schakowsky, Jayapal, Call on DOJ and FTC to Investigate RealPage for Anticompetitive Practices

RealPage’s price-setting software uses nonpublic information to recommend rent rates to its clients, a practice that may be contributing to the rental affordability crisis in the United States and could rise to the level of coordinated pricing among competitors.  

 

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 14, 2022) – Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), Congressman Jesús “Chuy'' García (IL-04), Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) led a letter today to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice urging the agencies to investigate potential anticompetitive and illegal practices by RealPage Inc., a multinational company that provides a proprietary rent-setting software for landlords and estate owners. RealPage clients control over 19 million of the United States’ 48.5 million total rental units or just under 40 percent of all rental units in the country.

 

A recent investigation by ProPublica found that RealPage’s YieldStar software uses an algorithm to analyze data gathered from clients - including nonpublic information - and suggest prices for open units to its clients. Landlords’ sharing of nonpublic data with RealPage for use in its algorithm could rise to the level of coordinated pricing among competitors and may be contributing to soaring rental costs across the country.

 

“...RealPage clients regularly charge above-market rental rates, and 90 percent of property managers and landlords follow the price increases recommended by the software. This revelation, coupled with the high concentration of rental property ownership in cities across the country, suggest that RealPage and its clients’ use of YieldStar could be contributing to skyrocketing rents across the United States,” said the Members of Congress on the letter.  “Our constituents cannot afford to have anticompetitive—and potentially per se illegal—practices drive up prices for essential goods and services at a time when a full-time, minimum-wage salary does not provide a worker enough money to rent a two-bedroom apartment in any city across this country.

 

“The rental affordability crisis in the United States is increasingly dire for Americans. The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have a responsibility to ensure anticompetitive practices are not contributing to already exorbitant rent costs for everyday people.”

 

The letter can be found here.

 

Members who joined the letter include: Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Yvette Clark (NY-09), David Cicilline (RI-01), Danny Davis (IL-07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-AL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Katie Porter (CA-45), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Mark Takano (CA-35), Frederica Wilson (FL-24).

 

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Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.