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Democrats Call For DOJ To Look Into Thoma Bravo Rental Software Unit

 |  March 5, 2023

As the use of automated software has proliferated in nearly every industry, so too has its impact on how companies do business. In the case of the rental software company RealPage, its software is used by landlords to price their rental units. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is urging the US Justice Department to investigate whether RealPage’s software is contributing to rising rents across the US. In a letter to the DOJ, Warren and three other Democratic senators point to a recent report by ProPublica that found that RealPage’s software was “frequently used to help landlords jack up rents.” 

Read more: Thoma Bravo To Buy Coupa Software For $8 Billion

The senators argue that if Thoma Bravo, the private equity firm that owns RealPage, is indeed “fomenting rising rents across the country through its rental pricing software,” then it should be “held accountable to the full extent of the law.”

YieldStar software is used by the largest property management companies to set prices on more than 20 million rental units – about 8% of all homes rented in the US. The No. 1 property manager GreyStar Real Estate Partners LLC, as well as Camden Property Trust and Mid-America Apartments LP, are among companies that use the software.

“Given YieldStar’s market share, even the widespread use of its anonymized and aggregated proprietary rental data by the country’s largest landlords could result in de-facto price-setting by those companies, driving up prices and hurting renters,” the senators wrote to Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter.

Warren and Sanders have been investigating the impact of algorithmic rent-setting software on the economy and last year sought information from RealPage as part of their own probe into rising US rents. They wrote that YieldStar’s software has access to “transactional apartment data from the rent rolls of 13+ million units.”