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FBI Raids Cortland Management Headquarters Over Alleged Rent Price Fixing Scheme & Potential Negligence

Broken glass window of a home.

On May 22, 2024, the FBI conducted a dawn raid of Cortland Management headquarters in Atlanta. The raid was part of the DOJ’s antitrust investigation into a potential conspiracy to inflate rent prices in several states.

Cortland Management is a property management company with around 85,000 properties nationwide.

Property Neglect

In 2022, the AJC conducted an investigation into the living conditions of tenants in the city. A horrifying 272 complexes were found to face “chronic crime, significant code complaints, or other conditions putting residents at risk.”

Residents of these properties complain of consistent gun violence and homicides, assaults, robberies, and vandalism. Additionally, they reported problems with rodents, garbage piling up outside the buildings, water damage, and mold.

A trend was noted that property managers raise the price of rent while putting in the bare minimum to maintain adequate living conditions and security for their tenants. Atlanta residents complain about having reported the issues and requesting maintenance, but never receiving it.

In one instance, residents of an apartment complex in south Atlanta reported having doors that wouldn’t lock, cockroach infestations, mold, and broken plumbing. They also reported that non-residents would defecate outside their doors. They complain about requesting maintenance from their landlord and being refused.

Law enforcement asserts this kind of neglect invites criminal activity, because those non-residents are convinced nobody is paying attention to them. Seven people have lost their lives at Pavilion Place since 2015.

Inadequate Security

In another complex, 4,100 police calls were reported in a four-year span, one-third of them involved violence, including gun shots, armed robberies, fights, and sexual assault.

The security gates at The Life at Greenbriar were not operational for an extended period of time. In 2020, two tenants were shot to death in one week. The same week, police responded to 44 calls, 14 of them involved gun violence.

The open gates and lack of security do nothing to protect tenants against criminals.

According to the AJC, 20% of Atlanta’s homicides occur in 162 of these apartment complexes.

All the while, rent prices continue to rise.

Cortland Management & RealPage

Cortland Management allegedly uses the software RealPage to determine its rent prices.

RealPage works to advise landlords and property managers on rent prices based on their collective data. This prevents landlords from undervaluing their properties and results in universal rent inflation.

RealPage strongly encourages property managers to adopt their recommendations. The developer of RealPage, Jeffrey Roper, says when “you have idiots undervaluing, it costs the whole system.”

RealPage is facing several lawsuits and investigations across the nation. The State of Arizona filed in February, asserting that the software makes rent prices higher than they would be otherwise, and tenants are being forced out of their homes because of the conspiracy between landlords.

The impact of this alleged scheme is particularly prominent in Atlanta, where approximately 81% of landlords utilize RealPage.

Despite the rising vacancy rates in the city, it is believed that rent in Atlanta has been inflated by 80% since 2016.

Do I Have a Claim?

Property owners are responsible for protecting tenants from “foreseeable” crimes. Failing to do so is grounds for an inadequate/negligent security claim. If a tenant lost their life during a violent crime that could have been prevented, their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

Property managers’ legal obligation to protect their tenants is broad, which means these cases can be difficult to fight. A few things for you and your attorney to take into consideration when discussing your case:

Prior incidences: If crimes have occurred in the complex or nearby complexes, the property manager should have taken proper care to address them and prevent them from recurring.

Internal reports: If other tenants have reported a problem and the property manager failed to correct it, the reports could be evidence of neglect.

Inadequate security: Was the gate broken? Was the door lock broken? Was there a broken fence or window? Property managers must take proper, basic care to protect their tenants. If they fail to do so, the tenant may file suit.

These are not the only factors to consider. It can be difficult to prove inadequate/negligent security, so it is important to hire an experienced inadequate security lawyer to discuss your case and optimize your benefits.

If you suffered an injury due to a car accident, work accident, or other incident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact our Atlanta personal injury law firm today at (770) 934-8000. Consultations are free and confidential.

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