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Press Release: Tenant Files Class Action Suit Against Colorado Mega Landlord for Junk Fees

DENVER – Late Tuesday night, Nichole Collins filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Greystar, the largest apartment management company in the country, alleging that Greystar charges Colorado tenants illegal and hidden “junk fees” on top of their monthly rents, driving up already sky-high housing costs across the state in service of Greystar’s profits. Ms. Collins seeks to represent a class of Greystar tenants across the state. She is represented by the non-profits Justice for the People Legal Center and Towards Justice. 

Ms. Collins alleges that Greystar – who owns more than $45 billion in assets – packs its contracts with hidden fees and misleading charges, also known as “junk fees,” that increase the costs of daily life for working people. The fees include monthly “pest control” fees, “valet trash” fees, and “billing fees”. 

Junk fees are not included in the advertised monthly rent for any given apartment and are hidden from prospective tenants. Once these fees are disclosed, they are mandatory; tenants have no choice but to pay these fees in order to stay in their apartments, adding an unnecessary and unexpected financial burden for tenants and their families each month.

Moreover, according to the complaint, Greystar’s junk fees do not provide tenants with any special benefits or services beyond ordinary costs of doing business that Greystar is required to bear as a landlord and that tenants expect to be included in what their rent covers. For example, landlords in Colorado are required to provide pest control as part of their bare minimum legal obligations to tenants. The complaint alleges that it is illegal to shift these costs onto tenants through hidden, inflated fees not disclosed as part of the rent. All these fees do, Ms. Collins alleges, is increase Greystar’s profits and inflate its bottom line. 

Junk fees have received increased scrutiny around the country from regulators and public enforcers, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In 2023, the National Consumer Law Center published a report Too Damn High, describing the increasing prevalence of junk fees in the housing rental market. But this case seems to be one of the first in Colorado challenging landlord junk fees directly. 

“When I leased with Greystar, I thought my monthly rent would be one amount, but it turned out to be much higher because of Greystar’s fees that didn’t cover any of the services they provide, besides their most basic services they are required to provide as a landlord,” said plaintiff Nichole Collins. “This case isn’t just for me. I’m filing this suit on behalf of working Coloradans, like myself, who have had no choice but to spend their hard-earned dollars on these surprise fees.”

Said Jason Legg, lead attorney from Justice for the People Legal Center, “Nichole alleges that Greystar acquired management of Nichole’s apartment complex after she’d already moved in. Greystar sent her a lease renewal offer that only disclosed the headline rent, she accepted the offer, then learned of the mandatory fees later when they sent their form lease – analogous to the experience of new tenants provided a ‘welcome home letter’ that doesn’t include the fees and then, after they’re locked in, the form lease that imposes them.”

“Affordable housing is a key element of economic equity and worker power. These junk fees are driving up the cost of living for Coloradans and are making housing more expensive; and, in many cases, the sole goal is to increase profits for landlords” said Towards Justice Executive Director David Seligman. “We’re proud to work with terrific lawyers in representing Ms. Collins to take these on.”

Justice for the People Legal Center is a movement law firm working to complement the broader housing justice movement. Its work focuses on impact litigation, class actions, and advocating for tenant organizers to correct the power imbalance that has allowed renters to be systemically preyed upon. 

Towards Justice is a leader, nationally and in Colorado, on cases like this one, which increase worker power, hold large national corporations accountable, and seek to put money back in the pockets of working families.  


For more information about this case, click HERE.

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