FBI raids Atlanta office of apartment operator Cortland

Untitled design 2024 06 06T161226.918

Investigators searched the company’s office as part of an inquiry into alleged apartment price-fixing in the multifamily industry.

At Inman Connect Las Vegas, July 30-Aug. 1 2024, the noise and misinformation will be banished, all your big questions will be answered, and new business opportunities will be revealed. Join us.

The Atlanta offices of the corporate landlord Cortland were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in May, the company confirmed in a statement. Investigators searched the company’s office as part of an inquiry into alleged apartment price-fixing in the multifamily industry.

The May 22 raid came as the Department of Justice conducts a criminal investigation into the property software company RealPage, and some of the large apartment operators who use it, to determine if the Texas-based company is helping to facilitate price-fixing.

In its statement, Cortland said that the company and its employees were not the “targets” of the investigation, which was first reported on by the regulatory newswire MLEX.

“We can confirm that the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a limited search warrant at our Atlanta office as part of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into potential antitrust violations in the multifamily housing industry,” a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to Inman.

“We are cooperating fully with that investigation, and we understand that neither Cortland nor any of our employees are ‘targets’ of that investigation. Due to the ongoing litigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”

The FBI separately confirmed the raid in a statement.

“All we can say is FBI Atlanta agents were at the address last month conducting court-authorized activities,” an FBI spokesperson told Inman.

Cortland builds and manages apartment complexes throughout the United States, with a portfolio of nearly $21 billion as of September, according to its website.

The DOJ upgraded its investigation into RealPage from a civil matter to a criminal one in March, according to a Politico report. Specifically in the government’s sights is RealPage’s Yardi software, which is used by landlords to estimate supply and demand for their listings, helping them maximize asking rents. The government is reportedly concerned that the software is used by competing multifamily operators to exchange pricing data that they would not otherwise have access to.

The criminal investigation started as a civil investigation within the DOJ’s antitrust unit, which followed a class action lawsuit from tenants. Cracking down on antitrust violations has become a cornerstone of the Biden administration’s domestic agenda, as outlined by President Biden during his recent State of the Union address.

“For millions of renters, we’re cracking down on big landlords who break antitrust laws by price-fixing and driving up rents,” Biden said during the March 7 speech.

Email Ben Verde

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top