Greystar, one of the largest multifamily property owners in the country, is accused of gathering extensive financial and personal information on several prospective tenants without their knowledge or consent.
Eight tenants at Greystar-owned apartment buildings in Los Angeles have filed suit, saying the giant landlord broke California’s Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act by concealing “the nature and type of investigative consumer reports they would procure from the plaintiffs.”
Greystar was sued last August for violating state consumer protection law, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in L.A. County Superior Court. But despite “being on notice that its conduct was unlawful, defendant Greystar California committed the above violations anyway,” according to the suit.
The complaint also names as a defendant RealPage, a Texas-based company that provides property management software for the rental housing industry. The firm is accused of furnishing Greystar with the investigative reports on the tenants.
The lawsuit focuses on five apartment buildings at which the alleged dossiers were collected. At each of the properties, Greystar procured “certain information on each plaintiff’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and/or mode of living, criminal, employment, and rental history.”
Greystar allegedly violated state law by not providing the prospective tenants with a copy of the report, did not tell the tenants when the report would be finished and did not disclose to the tenants that RealPage was involved — each a violation of state law. The suit also notes that Greystar used the tenants’ application fees to finance the probes.
The eight named plaintiffs are seeking $240,000 each in damages, $160,000 from Greystar and $80,000 paid by RealPage. The plaintiffs are also seeking damages for Greystar’s alleged “gross negligence” in violating the law after being accused before of breaking the consumer protection statute.
Messages left with plaintiffs’ lawyer Joseph Ollinger were not returned.
Greystar declined comment, saying it does not discuss pending litigation. The company owns 400,000 housing units worldwide; the National Multifamily Housing Council has called it the largest multifamily property owner in the U.S. Greystar also has $14 billion under development and $36 billion in assets under management, which includes a multibillion-dollar property portfolio in L.A. County.
Messages left RealPage were not returned. It was in the news earlier this year after hackers reportedly stole $10.5 million from it and transferred the funds to a Nigerian bank account.