Minto Apartment REIT Provides Operations Update Related to COVID-19
̶ Impacts of health crisis are currently not material to the REIT's revenue or financial position ̶
OTTAWA, April 16, 2020 /CNW/ - Minto Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX: MI.UN) (the "REIT") today provided an update on the REIT's April rent collections, liquidity and changes to operations due to COVID-19.
The REIT's quality portfolio of apartment properties in urban locations has performed well since the onset of the COVID-19 virus. The vast majority of the REIT's tenants paid their rent in April and as at April 14, 2020 the REIT has collected 97% of rental revenue for the month, which is a level consistent with its normal collection cycle.
The REIT recognizes the burden placed on many of its tenants related to the decline in economic activity across Canada. Accordingly, it will not implement at this time rent increases that were scheduled to come into effect on April 1, 2020, May 1, 2020 or June 1, 2020. The REIT has also created payment plans that defer rental payments for residents who are unable to pay as a result of the outbreak. As at April 14, 2020 fewer than 1% of the REIT's tenants have entered into a deferred payment plan.
Occupancy of available unfurnished suites was 97.34% at March 31, 2020 compared to 98.67% at March 31, 2019. Occupancy in April 2020 remains strong.
On March 31, 2020 the REIT completed a $100 million mortgage financing secured by one of its Ottawa properties, adding significantly to the REIT's liquidity. The proceeds from this financing were used to pay down outstanding amounts on the REIT's revolving credit facility. As at April 15, 2020 the REIT has approximately $196 million in funds available through a combination of cash and undrawn lines of credit, which is sufficient to fund all of its obligations for the foreseeable future.
The REIT has implemented a number of initiatives to prioritize the health and well-being of its tenants, employees, and the communities it operates in, including:
- Operating with limited on-site personnel and ensuring adherence to Health Canada guidelines on personal hygiene and social distancing at all times;
- Closure of all common areas, party rooms and fitness facilities in the REIT's buildings;
- Regular sanitization of shared surfaces and areas, including doors, railings, foyers and elevators;
- Limiting leasing activities to appointment only, with the use of online tools prioritized;
- Tenants' requests for repairs and maintenance are to be submitted online or by phone;
- Closure of the REIT's corporate offices, with all employees that are able to work from home doing so; and
- Ensuring that all critical vendors have business continuity plans in place in the event that the COVID-19 situation worsens.
We will continue to exercise care and consideration in respect of all of our residents and stakeholders and the REIT will provide further updates and information relating to the impact of COVID-19 when it releases its financial results for the first quarter of 2020 on May 6, 2020.
This news release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, which reflects the REIT's current expectations regarding future events and in some cases can be identified by such terms as "will" and "expected". In particular, this news release contains forward-looking information in relation to the impact of COVID-19. Forward-looking information reflects management's current beliefs and is based on a number of assumptions that the REIT believes are reasonable and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the REIT's control that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those that are disclosed in or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the factors discussed under "Risks and Uncertainties" in the REIT's Management Discussion & Analysis dated March 10, 2020, which is available on SEDAR (www.sedar.com). The REIT does not undertake any obligation to update such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable law. This forward-looking information speaks only as of the date of this news release.
About Minto Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust
Minto Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust is an unincorporated, open-ended real estate investment trust established pursuant to a declaration of trust under the laws of the Province of Ontario to own income-producing multi-residential properties located in urban markets in Canada. The REIT owns a portfolio of high-quality income-producing multi-residential rental properties located in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. For more information on Minto Apartment REIT, please visit the REIT's website at: www.mintoapartments.com/.
SOURCE Minto Apartment Real Estate Investment Trust