WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nonpartisan corporate watchdog group Accountable.US has sent letters to state attorneys general in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York (Click States to View Letter) urging their offices to investigate whether major rental companies that have been sued in Washington D.C. for alleged illegal rent-price fixing may be engaging in the same behavior in their states where many of the same companies also operate thousands of rental properties. 

The effort comes on the heels of Accountable.US’ new national report that found the six largest publicly traded apartment companies reported nearly $300 million combined in increased profits in Q1 2024, many thanks to significant rent increases. All six landlords — Mid-America Apartments, AvalonBay Communities, Equity Residential, Essex Property Trust, Camden Property Trust and UDR — have faced lawsuits related to their alleged data collusion via troubled property management software company, RealPage


I am following up on a letter our organization sent on November 8, 2023 encouraging your office to look into the business dealings of major rental companies operating in California that were among the fourteen landlords sued by District of Columbia Attorney General Brian Schwalb’s office over allegations they “illegally rais[ed] rents for tens of thousands of residents by collectively sharing their data with [property management software company RealPage].”

 We know that your office is committed to doing its part to help California residents struggling through no fault of their own to deal with high housing costs – costs fueled in many cases by big landlords that would rather price-gouge tenants and put profits over people. 

 AvalonBay, Equity Residential, and Camden Property Trust are among the corporate landlords that were involved in the D.C. lawsuit with ties to California that we have been concerned may be engaging in price-fixing elsewhere given their histories of alleged profiteering and misconduct. 

 Our concerns have only grown with the reports that on May 22, 2024, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a raid on Atlanta-based rental company Cortland Management – which represented a “significant escalation” in the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation into software and consulting firm RealPage. In addition to the lawsuit from the District of Columbia Attorney General, RealPage is now the subject of other lawsuits and investigations from consumers and state attorneys general in Arizona and North Carolina for allegedly helping large landlords inflate rent prices for millions of Americans across the U.S.

 The question we posed in November remains: If these companies were willing to allegedly engage in price fixing while surrounded by federal and local regulators in the nation’s capital and in other states, why wouldn’t they do the same in California?


 And yet, these giant corporate landlords have continued to push the limits of their greed, raising rent on everyday families regardless of how high their profits have grown. Their own earnings reports reveal that recent rent hikes were needless after boasting to investors of massive increased profits over the previous year while generously rewarding a small group of wealthy investors with giveaways like stock buybacks. 

Your office has the ability to determine whether these companies also stooped to illegal price-fixing and collusion in California to further pad their profits, as they allegedly have elsewhere – and power to hold them accountable if they did. To seriously address the through-the-roof housing prices that have kept so many families from getting ahead, it will require not just robust action from Congress and continued efforts from the Biden administration. If regulators at every level do their part to crack down on illicit behavior in the housing sector, it can only help lower costs.



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