CPI report revealed shelter costs remain high as corporate landlords continue to price-gouge renters

WASHINGTON, DC — Today’s U.S. Labor Department Consumer Price Index (CPI) report revealed costs remained largely unchanged in May, with overall inflation cooling faster than economists expected as the Fed considers finally reducing interest rates below a 23-year high. Despite these positive signs, shelter costs remain high, increasing for the fourth month in a row – “up 5.4 percent compared to last May.” Following the report, a new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US found the six largest publicly traded apartment companies brought in nearly $300 million combined in increased profits in Q1 2024, many due to rent increases. Notably, all six landlords named in the report have faced lawsuits related to their use of troubled property management software company, RealPage.

Big corporate landlords have kept right on raising rent on everyday families regardless of how high their profits have grown. Adding insult to injury, many landlords rewarded a small group of wealthy investors with new handouts at the expense of struggling tenants. It’s unsurprising that some of the same companies that needlessly inflated housing costs have worked closely with a software company accused of helping landlords coordinate a massive price-fixing scheme. Through-the-roof rent hikes based on greed – not need -- have kept many Americans from getting ahead, which is why Congress must do more to support the Biden administration’s affordable housing actions.”

Accountable.US’ Liz Zelnick

Since 2019, the cost of rent has risen 31.4%, with wages only increasing 23%, as tenants on average need to earn nearly $80,000 to not spend 30% or more of their income on rent.


  • Mid-America Apartments saw its net income jump 6% to $147.6 million, allowing the company to spend $176.2 million on shareholder dividends and distributions. 
  • AvalonBay Communities saw its net income increase 18% to $173.6 million as its “rental and other income” revenue increased 5.6% to $711.1 million. At the same time, the company’s “management, development and other fees” jumped a staggering 68.4% to nearly $1.8 million.
  • Equity Residential’s net income climbed 39% to $305 million off the backs of its “same-store average rental rates” increasing 3.4% to $3,077. Equity Residential spent $38.5 million on stock buybacks as its CEO touted the company’s ability to shift the narrative that housing costs were rising due to a national shortage and that rent controls and other measures wouldn’t solve housing affordability. 
  • Essex Property Trust’s net income increased 76% YoY to over $285.1 million off the backs of its “average monthly rental rate” increasing 2.1%.
  • UDR saw its net income increased 41% YoY to over $46.3 million, up from $32.9 million in Q1 2023. 
  • In Q1 2024, Camden Property Trust saw its net income increase 97% to $85.8 million as it spent $50 million on stock buybacks, partly thanks to its “weighted average monthly rental rate” jumping 1.8% YoY. The company was also sued in February 2024 by the Arizona Office of the Attorney General as one of several large landlords that allegedly “conspir[ed] to illegally raise rents for hundreds of thousands of Arizona renters” through RealPage, including Phoenix and Tucson residents who have seen prices rise 30% over the previous two years.   

Last November, Accountable.US sent letters to nine state Attorneys General urging them to look into whether the rental companies sued in D.C. for illegal rent-pricing fixing may also be engaging in the same behavior in their states where the companies also run thousands of rental properties. Since then, the AGs in Arizona and North Carolina have launched probes on the matter. 



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