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Know Exactly Who You're Working with

Updated: Jun 26

Updated 06/19/2024


A few years ago, we took on the task of coming up with a mission statement for GetDocsNow. After weeks of contemplation, we finally settled on three simple words: Integrity, Compassion, and Commitment. These three words are at the core of everything we do and are undoubtedly in order. Integrity is and always has been at the foundation of GDN. Since starting GetDocsNow in 1999, I have always chosen integrity over adding to our profit, and over selling out to large corporations. For years, I have watched as others in our industry blatantly lacked integrity in their business dealings. In the last few years, our industry has changed, with new ownership of the two largest resale document companies to big tech and investment firms. I was hoping these changes might improve the integrity of these companies. Unfortunately, it did not.


Last year, we looked into how HomeWiseDocs is still overcharging customers in Nevada, two years after the law was changed to prevent their “additional fees”. While investigating this and the lawsuits against them in several states, we realized that their parent companies also have a history of similar business practices and lack of integrity.  After much consideration, I have decided it is finally time for me to share these findings publicly with the hope of educating those in the HOA management business and improving the health and reputation of the resale document industry. 


I know this may come off as sour grapes; admittedly, it might partially be that. As the owner of GetDocsNow, over the years, doing the right thing has been anything but easy as we have repeatedly lost out on clients to “signing bonuses”, kickbacks, and lies of all kinds. But I have had enough of silently sitting by being the little guy who does the right thing while the other companies get ahead by doing the wrong things.


As mentioned, our competitors have faced many lawsuits nationwide, a few of which we have looked into in detail. Additionally, some states have created laws specifically to curtail unethical business practices of other direct competitors in our industry. While we have examined this issue before, we have yet to expose the larger issues at play.


In late 2021 HomeWiseDocs, the largest company in our industry, was acquired by RealPage. According to RealPage they Provide data analytics, property management software, and services to efficiently manage rental properties and real estate”. RealPage also owns companies such as ClickPay and Buildium, which are also part of the HOA management industry. RealPaged is owned by ThomaBrovo, a large private equity firm.  In all, more than 30 class-action suits have been filed against RealPage and apartment owners and managers. These cases have been consolidated into one lawsuit that continues to move forward in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.



When RealPage tried to get the suit dismissed the DOJ stepped in stating that based on their findings RealPage violated the Sherman Act by acting as a “cartel” and participating in “horizontal price fixing”.


The judge subsequently denied the motion to dismiss. The lawsuit is ongoing.




Update 02/05/2024: Two of the named co-defendants (management companies that used RealPage) have made the decision to settle. According to experts this is likely a quick way to stop paying legal fees but will “not get these companies out of the hot seat of the DOJ”.


Updated 03/25/2024: After several new policy directives aimed at RealPage President Biden said in his State of the Union Adress For millions of renters, we’re cracking down on big landlords who break antitrust laws by price-fixing and driving up rents”, and just a few days later at a speach in Nevada he said he would be taking action to fight “rent gouging among corporate landlords”. Following these remarks it has been reported that the DOJ is escalating its probe into RealPage.
On March 4th the North Carolina Attorney General lauched an Anti Trust probe over rental prices, specically how they are effected by RealPage's use of date. The investigation will examine the legal implications of RealPage’s use of “non-public and sensitive competitive data” for its algorithms, Stein’s office said in an announcement.
Amidst the growing pressure, RealPage has enlisted the servises of notorious corporate law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. The firm is known for its work with corporations going through scandals such as Facebook during their data scandal, Amazon when going through their worker abuse issues, and multiple big oil companies in the aftermath of spills and other scandals.

Updated 06/17/2024: On May 22, 2024, the FBI conducted a raid on Courtland Management, a Gorgia-based management company which according to RealPage is among their biggest clients. Courtland, which owns nearly 85,000 apartment units as of June 2022 openly used the RealPage algorithm nationwide. In Atlanta specifically, where approximately 80% of rentals use software-based pricing, rental prices have gone up over 80 percent since 2016. 



In addition to the RealPage Lawsuits the ThomaBrovo family has faced many large lawsuits and fines in just the last few years:


In 2022 Buildium (A RealPage company just like HWD) paid a 100,000-dollar fine to the state of Massachusetts for discrimination. According to the Massachusetts attorney general Buildium “explicitly offered the option for landlords to unlawfully exclude recipients of government housing vouchers as well as tenants with certain felony convictions from consideration as tenants.”



ThomaBrova themselves are facing a lawsuit for the misrepresentation and promotion of the now infamous crypto scam FTX. After giving millions to the company and actively promoting the use of FTX they are being accused of “violating California state securities, business practices and advertising laws and of engaging in a civil conspiracy to induce crypto customers to open accounts at FTX.” Regardless of the outcome of this case, the heavy involvement with the disgraced FTX is an embarrassing point for any company.


So why am I bringing all this up? These cases show a pattern of lying, misrepresentation, a lack of caring for people, bribery, and a general profit-over-everything mentality. These are large-scale examples of the practices I have personally seen take place in our industry for years. 


I care about the HOA management industry. It is why we take time to help our clients in ways that don’t necessarily help us and why we follow all rules and seek ways to improve based on the rules, not despite them. The thing I want least of all is for HOA management companies to be put in danger of lawsuits or to be dealing with unethical companies. That is why I feel it is crucial for you to truly know who you’re working with. If you read this and choose not to make a change, that's fine; at least you know your decision and who you trust. But if ANY of this information is unsettling and has opened your eyes to whom you are dealing with, change is easy with GetDocsNow. GDN is an independently owned company at the cutting edge of technology with integrity at its core. 


For more information on this topic or to learn more about GDN click here to schedule a conversation with our CEO.


References

(All references are linked in the article)



Attorney General Mayes Sues RealPage and Residential Landlords for Illegal Price-Fixing Conspiracy. (2024, February 28). Https://Www.Azag.Gov. Retrieved from https://www.azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-mayes-sues-realpage-and-residential-landlords-illegal-price-fixing.


Faraudo, F. (2024, February 7). The first defendants of the RealPage lawsuit just settled, will the rest follow?. Propmodo. https://propmodo.com/the-first-defendants-of-the-realpage-lawsuit-just-settled-will-the-rest-follow/


Frankel, A. (2023, February 15). Column: Latest FTX lawsuit casts Investors Sequoia, Thoma Bravo as co ... Reuters.com. https://www.reuters.com/legal/column-latest-ftx-lawsuit-casts-investors-sequoia-thoma-bravo-co-conspirators-2023-02-15/


Neelakandan, L. (2023, November 1). Major landlords, RealPage sued in DC for alleged rent-fixing scheme. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/11/01/realpage-landlords-sued-alleged-illegal-rent-hikes.html


Scarella, M. (2023, April 10). RealPage antitrust lawsuits over rent prices consolidated in Tennessee ... https://www.reuters.com/. https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/realpage-antitrust-lawsuits-over-rent-prices-consolidated-tennessee-2023-04-10/


Shankar, V., & Plaza, J. (2024, March 21). RealPage enlists Ex-FTC revolvers from Biglaw firm Gibson Dunn to fight tenant lawsuits. Revolving Door Project. https://therevolvingdoorproject.org/realpage-enlists-ex-ftc-revolvers-from-biglaw-firm-gibson-dunn-to-fight-tenant-lawsuits/


Shibu, S. (2024, February 29). RealPage sued again over rent hikes, “illegally set prices.” Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/business-news/realpage-sued-again-over-rent-hikes-illegally-set-prices/470471


Sisco, J. (2024, March 20). DOJ escalates price-fixing probe on housing market. Politico. https://www.politico.com/news/2024/03/20/rental-housing-market-doj-investigation-00147333


US DOJ. (2023, July 14). Electronic Health Records Vendor NextGen Healthcare Inc. to pay $31 million to settle False Claims Act allegations. Office of Public Affairs | Electronic Health Records Vendor NextGen Healthcare Inc. to Pay $31 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations | United States Department of Justice. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/electronic-health-records-vendor-nextgen-healthcare-inc-pay-31-million-settle-false-claims





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