Jo Davis’ column on the Colorado housing market hit home.

As for why rents have skyrocketed, look at the software put out by RealPage, in Texas, which uses an algorithm to calculate and set rents.

According to ProPublica, “The software collects tons of data from its clients, many of whom price tens of thousands of units. All together, RealPage says its rent-setting algorithm holds lease transaction data for more than 13 million units across the country.”

ProPublica also found “Each day, the software recommends a new price for every available unit. To determine the new rate, it draws from competitor data on the actual rent tenants paid, as opposed to the publicly advertised rent.”

Four members of Congress: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey and Tina Smith-wrote to the Department of Justice. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

“We write regarding our concerns about the role that algorithmic rent-setting software may play in facilitating de-facto price setting and driving rapid inflation for rental properties, and to share the findings from our recent investigation of RealPage’s YieldStar product. These findings are particularly important given the Biden Administration’s recently announced actions to protect American renters.”

This software eliminates empathy. One friend of mine, when dealing with a large rent increase for his apartment, was told by the manager that “the algorithm sets the price.”

When I was apartment hunting, I asked the manager of one apartment complex if they used this software. He told me to keep looking for an apartment.

I hope the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission take action.

Mike Filion, Lakewood

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