The attorney general of Washington, D.C., sued RealPage and 14 D.C.-area landlords Wednesday, joining a long list of lawsuits accusing the software company of colluding to illegally use its algorithm to raise rents, violating both federal and local antitrust laws.
Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb accused RealPage Inc. and the landlords of violating the Sherman Act when they delegated their rent-setting authority to the technology company's revenue management software in order to turn greater profits, according to the complaint. Schwalb wants a declaratory judgment that the defendants violated local antitrust laws, to enjoin them from engaging in further anticompetitive activities, and appoint a corporate monitor to ensure the illegal activities. Schwalb also seeks actual, statutory, punitive and treble damages.
"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," Schwalb said in a statement. "Defendants' coordinated and anticompetitive conduct amounts to a district-wide housing cartel. 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."
RealPage became the focus of a probe initiated by Schwalb in October, in which counsel from Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC scrutinized its rental pricing activities in the D.C. area after it became the target of dozens of lawsuits nationally.
The landlords included in the lawsuit are some of the largest multifamily housing providers, accounting for more than 50,000 units across the region, according to a statement from the attorney general's office.
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The attorney general's office is represented by Adam Gitlin and Amanda Hamilton of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia's Public Advocacy Division and Emmy L. Levens, Robert A. Braun and Aaron J. Marks of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.