United States

New legislation targets algorithmic rental price setting

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On January 30, a new bill was introduced by two US Senators to address concerns about the influence of AI algorithms on the rental market.

If passed, the "Preventing the Algorithmic Facilitation of Rental Housing Cartels Act” would make it illegal for rental companies to use algorithms to artificially determine rental rates, and would also prohibit price coordination among property owners or managers.

The proposed law is in response to allegations that RealPage's property management software directly advised housing providers on what rents to charge, and that this has played a major role in driving historic rent increases across the country.

While the bill doesn’t explicitly reference national rent control, its introduction could trigger a larger push for more tenant-centered policies. Frustration with soaring rents has led to a groundswell of support for rent caps, with 176 state-level rent control bills being reviewed by Congress as of February 14.

With the Act currently in its early stages and lawsuits against RealPage continuing, the rental industry will have to await potential effects. However, a national pivot towards rent control could do serious damage to the residential rental sector, putting off new investment and restricting supply.

More housing policy headlines

First settlements in RealPage antitrust suit announced – Multifamily Dive

White House, HUD, Zillow combat rental housing junk fees – PayProp

House Democrats poke the NIMBY bear with 2024 housing push – Axios

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