Financial analysts in the retail world have all heard numerous tales of chain stores not paying rent to their landlords during the Covid-19 crisis. Calcbench, however, decided to take a different approach to the issue.
What are the landlords saying about rent payment?
After all, publicly real estate investment trusts (REITs) need to disclose significant risks and changes to business operations like anyone else. So we pulled up the Q1 filings of several REITs to see what they said about tenants paying rent — or the lack thereof.
For example, Vornado Realty Trust ($VNO) had this to say in its quarterly filing on May 4:
We have collected substantially all of the rent due for March 2020 and collected 90 percent of rent due from our office tenants for the month of April 2020 and 53 percent of the rent due from our retail tenants for the month of April 2020, or 83 percent in the aggregate. Many of our retail tenants and some of our office tenants have requested rent relief and/or rent deferral for April 2020 and beyond. While we believe that our tenants are required to pay rent under their leases, we have implemented and will continue to consider temporary rent deferrals on a case-by-case basis.
A considerably different picture from Welltower ($WELL), , which rents primarily to care facilities, and its filing on May 7:
We have received approximately 97 percent of rent due in April from operators under Triple-net lease agreements (primarily seniors housing and post-acute care facilities) and we have either received or approved short term deferrals for approximately 95 percent of Outpatient Medical rent due in April. Approximately 8 percent of our April Outpatient Medical rent was approved for 60-day deferral to be repaid by year end.
Another glimpse of the disparity between retail and office tenants, this time from SI Green Realty ($SLG). The company had this to say about rent payments in its quarterly filing dated May 11:
As of the date of this filing, we have collected approximately 87.8 percent of rent due for the month of April 2020 from all tenants, including 93.4 percent from office tenants and 63.4 percent from retail tenants.
Analysts will find disclosures like these in various places in the filing. For example, Vornado included a section titled, “Extraordinary and Unusual Items: Covid-19 Pandemic,” and put all its details there. SI Green placed its coronavirus details in the Management Discussion & Analysis. Others might file the news as a Subsequent Event, or Risk Factors, or other places.
Your best bet to find Covid-19 disclosures is just to use our text search field on the right-hand side of the screen, searching for “COVID-19,” “coronavirus” or other appropriate search terms.
Analysts might also piece together a more precise sense of a REIT’s exposure by looking at whatever breakdown of property portfolio the REIT provides. For example, SI Green gives an extensive breakdown of its properties and occupancy rate in its Basis of Presentation. Take a look:
That tells us that retail space comprises only 2.4 percent of SI Green’s total commercial space. We don’t know which retailers are in that space, or how much they pay (at least, not from this chart; the data might be elsewhere in the filings), but we can surmise that even if all of the firm’s tenants declared a rent strike or went bankrupt — that will sting, but it won’t be calamitous.
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