PAC 10-K 2014
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014
Commission File No. 001-34995
Preferred Apartment Communities, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
3284 Northside Parkway NW, Suite 150, Atlanta, GA 30327
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (770) 818-4100
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $.01 per share
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ¨ No x
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in PART III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2).
Large accelerated filer ¨ Accelerated filer x Non-accelerated filer ¨ Smaller reporting company ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2). Yes ¨ No x
The aggregate market value of voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2014, the last business day of registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $143,471,186 based on the closing price of the common stock on the NYSE MKT on such date.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s Common Stock, as of March 11, 2015 was 21,964,593.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Certain information to be included in the registrant's definitive Proxy Statement, to be filed not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K, for the registrant's 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders is incorporated by reference into PART III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. Our actual results could differ materially from those set forth in each forward-looking statement. Certain factors that might cause such a difference are discussed in this report, including in the section entitled “Forward-Looking Statements” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You should also review the section entitled "Risk Factors" in Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of various risks that could adversely affect us. Unless the context otherwise requires or indicates, references to the "Company", "we", "our" or "us" refers to Preferred Apartment Communities, Inc., a Maryland corporation, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, including Preferred Apartment Communities Operating Partnership, L.P., or our Operating Partnership.
Development of the Company
Preferred Apartment Communities, Inc. was formed as a Maryland corporation on September 18, 2009 and has elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, effective with its tax year ended December 31, 2011. The Company was formed primarily to acquire and operate multifamily properties in select targeted markets throughout the United States. As part of our business strategy, we may enter into forward purchase contracts or purchase options for to-be-built multifamily communities, and we may make mezzanine loans, provide deposit arrangements or provide performance assurances, as may be necessary or appropriate, in connection with the construction of multifamily communities and other properties. As a secondary strategy, we may acquire or originate senior mortgage loans, subordinate loans or mezzanine debt secured by interests in multifamily properties, membership or partnership interests in multifamily properties and other multifamily related assets and invest not more than 20% of our total assets in other real estate related investments, such as grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers, as determined by Preferred Apartment Advisors, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, or our Manager, as appropriate for us. We have no employees of our own; our Manager provides all managerial and administrative personnel to us pursuant to the Fourth Amended and Restated Management Agreement, effective as of January 1, 2014, among the Company, Preferred Apartment Communities Operating Partnership, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership, or our Operating Partnership, and our Manager. The Fourth Amended and Restated Management Agreement was amended and restated by the Fifth Amended and Restated Management Agreement as of January 1, 2015. As referred to herein, the Fourth Amended and Restated Management Agreement and the Fifth Amended and Restated Management Agreements are referred to as the Management Agreement, as applicable. Both our Manager and our Operating Partnership are related parties to us.
The Fourth Amended and Restated Management Agreement, which amended and restated the Third Amended and Restated Management Agreement, set the disposition fee on the sale of an asset at 1% of the contract sales price of the asset. In addition, it eliminated our Manager’s obligation to provide our board of directors with prior notice of a proposed investment transaction, but leaves intact our Manager’s obligation to notify the board of directors within 30 days following completion of an investment transaction. The First Amendment to the Fourth Amended and Restated Management Agreement, which was effective as of September 5, 2014, provided for a possible deferral of fees. The Fifth Amended and Restated Management Agreement, which amended and restated the Fourth Amended and Restated Management Agreement (as amended) as of January 1, 2015, modified the fee structure to include leasing fees for retail properties that we believe are standard and customary for leasing retail properties.
At December 31, 2014, we owned ten multifamily communities with a total of 3,326 units in seven states and ten grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers with a total of approximately 694,000 square feet of gross leasable area in five states. We also held 15 real estate loans, eight of which are mezzanine loans which partially finance the construction of new multifamily communities and which contain exclusive options to purchase the to-be-developed properties, three of which are mezzanine loans which partially finance the construction of new student housing communities and which contain exclusive options to purchase the to-be-developed properties, and four of which are bridge loans which are partially or wholly financing land acquisition and predevelopment costs of planned multifamily communities. If we were to ultimately exercise all of our purchase options in place at December 31, 2014, the transactions would add another 3,843 units to our portfolio. There can be no assurance that these acquisitions in fact will occur.
We completed our initial public offering, or the IPO, on April 5, 2011. Our common stock, par value $.01 per share, or our Common Stock, is traded on the NYSE MKT exchange under the symbol "APTS."
Our consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and the Operating Partnership. The Company controls the Operating Partnership through its sole general partnership interest and has and plans to continue to conduct substantially all its business through the Operating Partnership.
On November 18, 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, declared effective our registration statement on Form S-11 (File No. 333-176604), as the same was amended from time to time, or our Registration Statement, for our offering of a minimum of 2,000 and a maximum of 150,000 Units, with each Unit consisting of one share of our Series A redeemable preferred stock, or Series A Preferred Stock, and one warrant, or Warrant, to purchase 20 shares of our Common Stock. The offering described above is described herein as the Primary Series A Offering and was offered by International Assets Advisory, LLC, or
the Dealer Manager, on a “reasonable best efforts” basis. Our Primary Series A Offering expired on December 31, 2013 and 89,408 Units were issued and sold under the Registration Statement.
On October 11, 2013, the SEC declared effective our registration statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-183355), as the same may be amended from time to time, or our Follow-On Series A Registration Statement, for an offering of up to an additional 900,000 Units to be offered from time to time on a “reasonable best efforts” basis. The offering under the Follow-On Series A Registration Statement is referred to herein as the Follow-On Series A Offering, and, except as described in its prospectus, the terms of the Follow-On Series A Offering are substantially similar to the terms of the Primary Series A Offering. We commenced sales for the Follow-On Series A Offering on January 1, 2014. A total of 103,926 Units were issued and sold from that date through December 31, 2014 under the Follow-On Series A Offering.
On May 17, 2013, we filed a registration statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-188677), or our Shelf Registration Statement, which was declared effective by the SEC on July 19, 2013. The Shelf Registration Statement allows us to offer equity or debt securities in an amount of up to $200 million.
On February 28, 2014,we filed a prospectus supplement to our Shelf Registration Statement to issue and sell up to $100 million of Common Stock from time to time in an "at the market" offering, or the ATM Offering, through MLV & Co. LLC, or the Agent. Since the commencement of the ATM Offering with the first settlement in April 2014, through December 31, 2014, an aggregate 5,937,324 shares of Common Stock were issued and sold at an average price of $8.49 per share.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the securities offered by the Company pursuant to the Follow-On Series A Registration Statement or the Shelf Registration Statement, nor shall there be any offer or sale of these securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. Any offerings shall be made only by means of a prospectus, as the same may be supplemented from time to time, which will become, or that is, as applicable, a part of the Follow-On Series A Registration Statement, or the Shelf Registration Statement.
Financial Information About Segments
We evaluate the performance of our business operations and allocate financial and other resources by assessing the financial results and outlook for future performance across three distinct segments: multifamily communities, retail, and real estate related financing.
Our multifamily communities segment consists of our ten owned residential multifamily communities, which contributed approximately $31.2 million, $22.4 million, and $10.2 million to our consolidated revenues for the twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively.
Our retail segment consists of our ten owned grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers, nine of which were acquired during September and October 2014. These properties contributed approximately $3.5 million to our consolidated revenues for the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2014. All of our retail assets were acquired during 2014.
Our financing segment consists of our portfolio of mezzanine loans, bridge loans and other financial instruments which partially finance the development, construction and prestabilization carrying costs of new multifamily communities and other real estate and real estate related assets. The financing segment contributed approximately $21.8 million, $9.7 million, and $2.3 million to our consolidated revenues for the twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively.
The financial measures required by Item 101 of Regulation S-K to be presented in Item 1 are included in the Company's consolidated financial statements and notes thereto in Item 15 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We seek to maximize returns for our stockholders by taking advantage of the current environment in the real estate market and the United States economy. As the real estate market and economy continue to stabilize and improve, we intend to employ efficient management techniques to grow income and create asset value. Our investment strategy may include, without limitation, the following:
acquiring assets where assets or the owners of assets are overleveraged and/or owners may be struggling to meet current debt service obligations on such assets, or, in certain circumstances, where owners are financial institutions or conduits under either legal or economic compulsion to sell;
acquiring assets in opportunistic, performing and stable markets throughout the United States;
acquiring properties which we believe will generate sustainable and growing cash flow from operations sufficient to allow us to cover the dividends that we expect to declare and pay and which we believe will have the potential for capital appreciation; and
taking advantage of markets in metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, with at least one million people which we expect will generate job growth and where new multifamily development of comparable properties has been below historical averages during the last few years.
It is our policy to acquire our target assets primarily for income, and only secondarily for possible capital gain. As part of our business strategy, we may enter into forward purchase contracts or purchase options for to-be-built multifamily communities and we may make mezzanine loans, provide deposit arrangements, or provide performance assurances, as may be necessary or appropriate, in connection with the construction of multifamily communities and other properties. As a secondary strategy, we also may acquire or originate senior mortgage loans, subordinate loans or mezzanine debt secured by interests in multifamily properties, membership or partnership interests in multifamily properties and other multifamily related assets and invest not more than 20% of our total assets in other real estate related investments, such as grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers, as determined by our Manager as appropriate for us.
We also may invest in real estate related debt, including, but not limited to, newly or previously originated first mortgage loans on multifamily properties that meet our investment criteria, which are performing or non-performing, newly or previously originated mezzanine loans on multifamily properties that meet our investment criteria (second or subsequent mortgages), which are performing or non-performing, and tranches of securitized loans (pools of collateralized mortgaged-backed securities) on multifamily properties that meet our investment criteria, which are performing or non-performing. In connection with our investments in mezzanine debt, we may negotiate the inclusion of exclusive purchase options on the to-be-developed properties. These purchase options may include a fixed purchase price set at the time we enter into the loan, or a purchase price which is calculated as a certain discount from market capitalization rates at the date of exercise of such purchase option.
In addition, we invest in other real estate related investments, such as grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers, subject to a limitation that such other real estate related investments may not exceed 20% of our assets.
Any asset acquisitions from affiliated third parties have been, and will continue to be, subject to approval by our conflicts committee comprised solely of independent directors.
Our Manager's investment committee will periodically review our investment portfolio and its compliance with our investment guidelines and policies, and provide our board of directors an investment report at the end of each quarter in conjunction with its review of our quarterly results. Our investment guidelines, the assets in our portfolio, the decision to utilize leverage, and the appropriate levels of leverage are periodically reviewed by our board of directors as part of their oversight of our Manager. Our board of directors may amend or revise our investment guidelines without a vote of the stockholders.
We intend to finance the acquisition of investments using various sources of capital, as described in the section entitled “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources” included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Included in the “Significant Developments” discussion are details regarding our Primary Series A Offering, our Follow-On Series A Offering, and our private placement of our Series B Mandatorily Convertible Preferred Stock, or Series B Preferred Stock, which was completed in January 2013, and which automatically converted
to Common Stock in May 2013, as well as our Shelf Registration Statement under which we sold Common Stock in November 2013, and our ATM Program, which commenced with the first settlement in April 2014.
We intend to utilize leverage in making our investments. The number of different investments we will acquire will be affected by numerous factors, including the amount of funds available to us. By operating on a leveraged basis, we will have more funds available for our investments. This will allow us to make more investments than would otherwise be possible, resulting in a larger and more diversified portfolio. See the section entitled "Risk Factors" in Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information about the risks related to operating on a leveraged basis.
We intend to target leverage levels (secured and unsecured) between 50% and 65% of the fair market value of our tangible assets (including our real estate assets, real estate loans, notes receivable, accounts receivable and cash and cash equivalents) on a portfolio basis. As of December 31, 2014, our outstanding debt (both secured and unsecured) was approximately 49.1% of the value of our tangible assets on a portfolio basis based on our estimates of fair market value at December 31, 2014. Neither our charter nor our by-laws contain any limitation on the amount of leverage we may use. Our investment guidelines, which can be amended by our board without stockholder approval, limit our borrowings (secured and unsecured) to 75% of the cost of our tangible assets at the time of any new borrowing. These targets, however, will not apply to individual real estate assets or investments. The amount of leverage we will place on particular investments will depend on our Manager's assessment of a variety of factors which may include the anticipated liquidity and price volatility of the assets in our investment portfolio, the potential for losses and extension risk in the portfolio, the availability and cost of financing the asset, our opinion of the creditworthiness of our financing counterparties, the health of the U.S. economy and the health of the commercial real estate market in general. In addition, factors such as our outlook on interest rates, changes in the yield curve slope, the level and volatility of interest rates and their associated credit spreads, the underlying collateral of our assets and our outlook on credit spreads relative to our outlook on interest rate and economic performance could all impact our decision and strategy for financing the target assets. At the date of acquisition of each asset, we anticipate that the investment cost for such asset will be substantially similar to its fair market value. However, subsequent events, including changes in the fair market value of our assets, could result in our exceeding these limits. Finally, we intend to acquire all our properties through separate single purpose entities and intend to finance each of these properties using debt financing techniques for that property alone, without any cross-collateralization to our other multifamily communities or any guarantees by us or our Operating Partnership. We have an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, or Credit Facility, with Key Bank, N.A., or Key Bank. The Credit Facility provides for our $50.0 million revolving credit facility, or the Revolving Line of Credit, as well as a $45 million term loan, or Term Loan, which was repaid during 2014. Other than with regard to our Revolving Line of Credit, as of December 31, 2014, we continue to hold no debt at the Company or operating partnership levels, have no cross-collateralization of our real estate assets, and have no contingent liabilities at the Company or operating partnership levels with regard to our secured mortgage debt on our communities.
Leverage may be obtained from a variety of sources, including the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or Freddie Mac; the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae; commercial banks; credit companies; insurance companies; pension funds; endowments; financial services companies and other institutions who wish to provide debt financing for our assets.
Our secured and unsecured aggregate borrowings are intended by us to be reasonable in relation to our net assets and will be reviewed by our board of directors at least quarterly. In determining whether our borrowings are reasonable in relation to our net assets, we expect that our board of directors will consider many factors, including the lending standards of government-sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other companies for loans in connection with the financing of multifamily properties, the leverage ratios of publicly traded and non-traded REITs with similar investment strategies, whether we have positive leverage (in that, the board of directors will compare the capitalization rates of our properties to the interest rates on the indebtedness of such properties) and general market and economic conditions. There is no limitation on the amount that we may borrow for any single investment or the number of mortgages that may be placed on any one property.
Marketing and Branding Strategy
Our Manager has branded, and intends to brand, all apartment communities owned by us as “A Preferred Apartment Community” which we believe signifies outstanding brand and management standards, and has obtained all rights to the trademarks, including federal registration of the trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, to secure such brand in connection with such branding. We believe these campaigns will enhance each individual property's presence in relation to other properties within that marketplace.
On September 17, 2010, we entered into a trademark license and assignment agreement pursuant to which we granted an exclusive, worldwide, fully-paid, royalty-free license of all our trademarks to our Manager and agreed to assign all of our trademarks to our Manager upon the applications related to our trademarks being successfully converted to use based applications
with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Pursuant to this agreement, in March 2012, we assigned these trademarks to our Manager and concurrently entered into a royalty-free license agreement for these trademarks with us as licensee. Similarly, in March 2012, our Manager entered into a royalty-free license agreement with us as licensee with respect to all other intellectual property of the Manager. The license agreements will terminate automatically upon termination of the Management Agreement, or upon a material breach of a license agreement that remains uncured for more than 30 days after receipt of notice of such breach. Following such termination, we will be required to enter into a new arrangement with our Manager in order to continue our rights to use our Manager's intellectual property. There can be no assurance that we will be able to enter into such arrangements on terms acceptable to us.
We have implemented what we believe to be an innovative and unique marketing and branding strategy at each multifamily community that we own by implementing the PAC Concierge, PAC Rewards and PAC Partners programs. We intend to implement this same marketing and branding strategy at each multifamily community we acquire within three to six months of acquisition.
Our PAC Concierge program is a complimentary service for residents designed to offer them the type of personal concierge services that one might expect at a high end resort. The concierge services are provided by a professionally trained third party team and is available to our residents 24/7 by telephone, email or web access through our unique resident web portal. Our PAC Rewards program, once communities are enrolled on the program, allows residents to accumulate and redeem rewards points for services and upgrades. Residents may accumulate Preferred Rewards, for example, when they sign their lease, pay their rent online, enroll in our direct debit/automatic payment program, renew their leases, or when a resident's referral signs a new lease. Our PAC Partners program establishes reciprocal relationships between a Preferred Apartment Community and neighborhood businesses to provide our residents with benefits such as discounts, perks and other incentives as an enticement to frequent those businesses and to support the local community.
We are subject to regulation at the federal, state and municipal levels and are exposed to potential liability should our properties or actions result in damage to the environment or to other persons or properties. These conditions include the presence or growth of black mold, potential leakage of underground storage tanks, breakage or leaks from sewer lines and risks pertaining to waste or chemical solvents. We could be liable for the potential costs of compliance, property damage restoration and other costs which could occur without regard to our fault or knowledge of such conditions.
In the course of acquiring and owning real estate assets, we engage an independent environmental consulting firm to perform a level 1 environmental assessment (and if appropriate, a level 2 assessment) to identify and mitigate these risks as part of our due diligence process. We believe these assessment reports provide a reasonable basis for discovery of potential hazardous conditions prior to acquisition. Should any potential environmental risks or conditions be discovered during our due diligence process, the potential costs of remediation will be assessed carefully and factored into the cost of acquisition, assuming the identified risks and factors are deemed to be manageable and within reason. Some risks or conditions may be identified that are significant enough to cause us to abandon the possibility of acquiring a given property. As of December 31, 2014, we have no knowledge of any material claims made or pending against us with regard to environmental damage for which we may be found liable, nor are we aware of any potential hazards to the environment related to any of our properties which could reasonably be expected to result in a material loss.
The multifamily housing industry is highly fragmented and we compete for residents with a large number of other quality apartment communities in our target markets which are owned by public and private companies, including other REITs, many of which are larger and have more resources than our Company. The number of competitive multifamily properties in a particular market could adversely affect our ability to lease our multifamily communities, as well as the rents we are able to charge. In addition, other forms of residential properties, including single family housing and town homes, provide housing alternatives to potential residents of quality apartment communities. The factors on which we focus to compete for residents in our multifamily communities include our high level of resident service, the quality of our apartment communities (including our landscaping and amenity offerings), and the desirability of our locations. Resident leases at our apartment communities are priced competitively based on levels of supply and demand within our target markets and we believe our communities offer a compelling value to prospective residents.
Similarly, competition for tenants and acquisition of existing centers in the grocery-anchored necessity retail sector in our target markets is considerable, consisting of public and private companies, high net worth individuals and family offices. In addition, a significant competitor in this sector are some of the grocery anchors themselves as they acquire land and build their
own stores or acquire the entire center where they are the anchor. We are faced with the challenge of maintaining high occupancy rates with a financially stable tenant base. In order to attract quality prospective tenants and retain current tenants upon expiration of their leases, we focus on improving the design and visibility of our centers, building strong relationships with our tenants, and reducing excess operating costs and increasing tenant satisfaction through proactive asset and property management. We target acquisitions in markets with solid surrounding demographics, quality underlying real estate locations, and centers where our asset management approach can provide an environment conducive to creating sales productivity for our tenants.
The Company makes available all reports which are filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after such material has been filed with, or furnished to, the SEC for viewing or download free of charge at the Company's website: www.pacapts.com. You may read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC's Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549, or you may obtain information by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC maintains a website at http://www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy statements and information statements, and other information, which you may obtain free of charge.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
In addition to the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the following risk factors should be considered carefully in evaluating us and our business. Our business, operating results, prospects and financial condition could be materially adversely affected by any of these risks. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face, but do represent those risks and uncertainties that we believe are material to us. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that, as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we deem immaterial also may harm our business. This “Risk Factors” section contains references to our “capital stock” and to our “stockholders.” Unless expressly stated otherwise, the references to our “capital stock” represent our common stock and any class or series of our preferred stock, while the references to our “stockholders” represent holders of our common stock and any class or series of our preferred stock.
Risks Related to an Investment in Our Company
Our ability to grow the Company and execute our business strategy may be impaired if we are unable to secure adequate financing.
Our ability to grow the Company and execute our business strategy depends on our access to an appropriate blend of debt financing, including unsecured lines of credit and other forms of secured and unsecured debt, and equity financing, including common and preferred equity. Currently, we do not have any agreements or letters of intent in place for any debt financing sources other than our Revolving Credit Facility. Recently, domestic and international financial markets have experienced unusual volatility and uncertainty. Debt or equity financing may not be available in sufficient amounts, on favorable terms or at all. Returns on our assets and our ability to make acquisitions could be adversely affected by our inability to secure financing on reasonable terms, if at all. Additionally, if we issue additional equity securities to finance our investments instead of incurring debt (through our Follow-On Series A Offering, offerings through our Shelf Registration Statement, or other offerings), the interests of our existing stockholders could be diluted.
Distributions paid from sources other than our net cash provided by operating activities, particularly from proceeds of any offerings of our securities, will result in us having fewer funds available for the acquisition of properties and other real estate-related investments, which may adversely affect our ability to fund future distributions with net cash provided by operating activities and may adversely affect our stockholders' overall return.
As we acquire multifamily properties and other real estate assets, we will incur substantial costs to perform due diligence tasks and other costs connected with acquiring these assets. Pursuant to accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, or GAAP, regardless of the source of funds to pay acquisition costs, these acquisition costs are accounted for as deductions from total cash provided by operating activities to determine net cash provided by operating activities. The net effect of this could cause our dividend distributions to exceed our net cash provided by operating activities and could have a detrimental effect on our stock price and the value of our stockholders' investment.
We have paid distributions from sources other than from net cash provided by operating activities. If we do not generate sufficient net cash provided by operating activities and other sources, such as from borrowings, the sale of additional securities, advances from our Manager, our Manager's deferral, suspension and/or waiver of its fees and expense reimbursements, to fund
distributions, we may use the proceeds from any offering of our securities. Moreover, our board of directors may change our distribution policy, in its sole discretion, at any time, except for distributions on our Series A Preferred Stock, which would require approval by a supermajority vote of our Common Stockholders. Distributions made from offering proceeds may be a return of capital to stockholders, from which we will have already paid offering expenses in connection with the related offering. We have not established any limit on the amount of proceeds from our securities offerings that may be used to fund distributions, except that, in accordance with our organizational documents and Maryland law, we may not make distributions that would: (1) cause us to be unable to pay our debts as they become due in the usual course of business; (2) cause our total assets to be less than the sum of our total liabilities plus senior liquidation preferences, if any; or (3) jeopardize our ability to qualify as a REIT.
If we fund distributions from the proceeds of an offering of our securities, we will have less funds available for acquiring properties or real estate-related investments. As a result, the return our stockholders realize on their investment may be reduced. Funding distributions from borrowings could restrict the amount we can borrow for investments, which may affect our profitability. Funding distributions with the sale of assets or the proceeds of an offering of our securities may affect our ability to generate net cash provided by operating activities. Funding distributions from the sale of our securities could dilute the interest of our common stockholders if we sell shares of our Common Stock or securities convertible or exercisable into shares of our Common Stock to third party investors. Payment of distributions from the mentioned sources could restrict our ability to generate sufficient net cash provided by operating activities, affect our profitability and/or affect the distributions payable to our stockholders upon a liquidity event, any or all of which may have an adverse effect on our stockholders.
We may suffer from delays in locating suitable investments, which could adversely affect the return on our stockholders' investment.
Our ability to achieve our investment objectives and to make distributions to our stockholders is dependent upon our Manager's performance in the acquisition of, and arranging of financing for, investments, as well as our property manager's performance in the selection of residents and the negotiation of leases and our Manager's performance in the selection of retail tenants and the negotiation of leases. The current market for properties that meet our investment objectives is highly competitive, as is the leasing market for such properties. The more proceeds we raise in current and future offerings of our securities, the greater our challenge will be to invest all the net offering proceeds on attractive terms. Our stockholders will not have the opportunity to evaluate the terms of transactions or other economic or financial data concerning our investments. Our stockholders must rely entirely on the oversight of our board of directors, the management ability of our Manager and the performance of our Manager and property manager. We cannot be sure that our Manager will be successful in obtaining suitable investments on financially attractive terms.
Additionally, as a public company, we are subject to ongoing reporting requirements under the Exchange Act. Pursuant to the Exchange Act, we may be required to file with the SEC financial statements of properties we acquire and investments we make in real estate-related assets. To the extent any required financial statements are not available or cannot be obtained, we will not be able to acquire the investment. As a result, we may be unable to acquire certain properties or real estate-related assets that otherwise would be a suitable investment. We could suffer delays in our investment acquisitions due to these reporting requirements.
Furthermore, if we acquire properties prior to, during, or upon completion of construction, it will typically take several months following completion of construction to rent available space. Therefore, our stockholders could suffer delays in the receipt of distributions attributable to those particular properties.
Delays we encounter in the selection and acquisition of investments could adversely affect our stockholders' returns. In addition, if we are unable to invest the proceeds of any offering of our securities in real properties and real estate-related assets in a timely manner, we will hold the proceeds of those offerings in an interest-bearing account, invest the proceeds in short-term, investment-grade investments, which generate lower returns than we anticipate with our target assets, or, ultimately, liquidate. In such an event, our ability to make distributions to our stockholders and the returns to our stockholders would be adversely affected.
The cash distributions our stockholders receive may be less frequent or lower in amount than our stockholders expect.
Our board of directors will determine the amount and timing of distributions. In making this determination, our directors will consider all relevant factors, including the amount of cash available for distribution, capital expenditure and reserve requirements and general operational requirements. We cannot assure our stockholders that we will continue to generate sufficient available cash flow to fund distributions nor can we assure our stockholders that sufficient cash will be available to make distributions to our stockholders. As we are a growing company, it is more difficult for us to predict the amount of distributions our stockholders may receive and we may be unable to pay, maintain or increase distributions over time. Our inability to acquire
properties or real estate-related investments may have a negative effect on our ability to generate sufficient cash flow from operations to pay distributions.
Further, if the aggregate amount of our distributions in any given year exceeds our earnings and profits (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes), the U.S. federal income tax treatment of the excess amount will be either (i) a return of capital or (ii) a gain from the sale or exchange of property to the extent that a stockholder's tax basis in our Common Stock equals or is reduced to zero as the result of our current or prior year distributions.
Upon the sale of any individual property, holders of our Series A Preferred Stock do not have a priority over holders of our Common Stock regarding return of capital.
Holders of our Series A Preferred Stock do not have a right to receive a return of capital prior to holders of our Common Stock upon the individual sale of a property. Depending on the price at which such property is sold, it is possible that holders of our Common Stock will receive a return of capital prior to the holders of our Series A Preferred Stock, provided that any accrued but unpaid dividends have been paid in full to holders of Series A Preferred Stock. It is also possible that holders of our Common Stock will receive additional distributions from the sale of a property (in excess of their capital attributable to the asset sold) before the holders of Series A Preferred Stock receive a return of their capital.
There is no clawback for distributions with respect to the special limited partnership interest (except in limited circumstances) and such distributions are payable upon the sale of an asset even if stockholders have not received a return of their entire investment.
Our Manager has a special limited partnership interest in our Operating Partnership entitling it to distributions from our Operating Partnership equal to 15% of any net sale proceeds from an asset (which equals the proceeds actually received by us from the sale of such asset after paying off outstanding debt related to the sold asset and paying any seller related closing costs, including any fees paid to our Manager in connection with the sale of the asset remaining after the payment of (i) the capital allocable to the sold asset, and (ii) a 7% priority annual return on such capital and expenses; provided, however, that all accrued and unpaid dividends on our Preferred Stock have been paid in full. This distribution with respect to the special limited partnership interest is payable upon the sale of an asset even if our stockholders have not received a return of their capital, but only after the holders of our Series A Preferred Stock have received payment in full of all accrued and unpaid dividends on our Series A Preferred Stock. There is no clawback for distributions with respect to the special limited partnership interest except in limited circumstances. As a result, distributions with respect to the special limited partnership interest may be payable upon the sale of an asset even if our stockholders have not received a return of their entire investment in the Company, provided that any accrued but unpaid dividends have been paid to holders of Series A Preferred Stock.
Our stockholders' percentage of ownership may become diluted if we issue new shares of stock or other securities, and issuances of additional preferred stock or other securities by us may further subordinate the rights of the holders of our Common Stock.
We may make redemption payments under the terms of the Series A Preferred Stock in shares of our Common Stock. Although the dollar amounts of such payments are unknown, the number of shares to be issued in connection with such payments may fluctuate based on the price of our Common Stock. Any sales or perceived sales in the public market of shares of our Common Stock issuable upon such redemption payments could adversely affect the prevailing market prices of shares of our Common Stock. The issuance of Common Stock upon such redemption payments also may have the effect of reducing our net income per share or increasing our net loss per share. In addition, the existence of Series A Preferred Stock may encourage short selling by market participants because the existence of redemption payments could depress the market price of shares of our Common Stock.
Our board of directors is authorized, without stockholder approval, to cause us to issue additional shares of our Common Stock or to raise capital through the issuance of additional preferred stock (including equity or debt securities convertible into preferred stock or our Common Stock), options, warrants and other rights, on such terms and for such consideration as our board of directors in its sole discretion may determine. Any such issuance could result in dilution of the equity of our stockholders. Our board of directors may, in its sole discretion, authorize us to issue Common Stock or other equity or debt securities (a) to persons from whom we purchase multifamily communities, as part or all of the purchase price of the community, or (b) to our Manager in lieu of cash payments required under the Management Agreement or other contract or obligation. Our board of directors, in its sole discretion, may determine the value of any Common Stock or other equity or debt securities issued in consideration of multifamily communities acquired or services provided, or to be provided, to us.
Our charter also authorizes our board of directors, without stockholder approval, to designate and issue one or more classes or series of preferred stock in addition to the Series A Preferred Stock (including equity or debt securities convertible into
preferred stock) and to set or change the voting, conversion or other rights, preferences, restrictions, limitations as to dividends or other distributions and qualifications or terms or conditions of redemption of each class or series of shares so issued. If any additional preferred stock is publicly offered, the terms and conditions of such preferred stock (including any equity or debt securities convertible into preferred stock) will be set forth in a registration statement registering the issuance of such preferred stock or equity or debt securities convertible into preferred stock. Because our board of directors has the power to establish the preferences and rights of each class or series of preferred stock, it may afford the holders of any series or class of preferred stock preferences, powers and rights senior to the rights of holders of common stock or the Series A Preferred Stock. If we ever create and issue additional preferred stock or equity or debt securities convertible into preferred stock with a distribution preference over our Common Stock or the Series A Preferred Stock, payment of any distribution preferences of such new outstanding preferred stock would reduce the amount of funds available for the payment of distributions on our Common Stock and our Series A Preferred Stock. Further, holders of preferred stock are normally entitled to receive a preference payment if we liquidate, dissolve, or wind up before any payment is made to the common stockholders, likely reducing the amount common stockholders would otherwise receive upon such an occurrence. In addition, under certain circumstances, the issuance of additional preferred stock may delay, prevent, render more difficult or tend to discourage a merger, tender offer, or proxy contest, the assumption of control by a holder of a large block of our securities, or the removal of incumbent management.
Stockholders have no rights to buy additional shares of stock or other securities if we issue new shares of stock or other securities. We may issue common stock, convertible debt, preferred stock or warrants pursuant to a subsequent public offering or a private placement, or to sellers of properties we directly or indirectly acquire instead of, or in addition to, cash consideration. Stockholders who do not participate in any future stock issuances will experience dilution in the percentage of the issued and outstanding stock they own. In addition, depending on the terms and pricing of any additional offerings and the value of our investments, our stockholders also may experience dilution in the book value and fair market value of, and the amount of distributions paid on, their shares of our Common Stock or Series A Preferred Stock.
Our internal control over financial reporting may not be effective, which could adversely affect our reputation, results of operations and stock price.
The accuracy of our financial reporting depends on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Internal control over financial reporting can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements and may not prevent or detect misstatements because of its inherent limitations. These limitations include the possibility of human error, inadequacy or circumvention of controls and fraud. If we do not attain and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting or implement controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurance with respect to the preparation and fair presentation of our financial statements, we could be unable to file accurate financial reports on a timely basis, and our reputation, results of operations and stock price could be materially adversely affected.
Breaches of our data security could materially harm our business and reputation.
We collect and retain certain personal information provided by our residents. While we have implemented a variety of security measures to protect the confidentiality of this information and periodically review and improve our security measures, there can be no assurance that we will be able to prevent unauthorized access to this information. Any breach of our data security measures and loss of this information may result in legal liability and costs (including damages and penalties), as well as damage to our reputation, that could materially and adversely affect our business and financial performance.
The properties we operate may not produce the cash flow required to meet our REIT minimum distribution requirements, and we may decide to borrow funds to satisfy such requirements, which could adversely affect our overall financial performance.
We may decide to borrow funds in order to meet the REIT minimum distribution requirements even if our management believes that the then prevailing market conditions generally are not favorable for such borrowings or that such borrowings would not be advisable in the absence of certain tax considerations. If we borrow money to meet the REIT minimum distribution requirement or for other working capital needs, our expenses will increase, our net income will be reduced by the amount of interest we pay on the money we borrow and we will be obligated to repay the money we borrow from future earnings or by selling assets, any or all of which may decrease future distributions to our stockholders.
To maintain our status as a REIT, we may be forced to forego otherwise attractive opportunities, which may delay or hinder our ability to meet our investment objectives and may reduce our stockholders' overall return.
To maintain our qualification as a REIT, we must satisfy certain tests on an ongoing basis concerning, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature of our assets and the amounts we distribute to our stockholders. We may be required
to make distributions to stockholders at times when it would be more advantageous to reinvest cash in our business or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution. Compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our ability to operate solely on the basis of maximizing profits and the value of our stockholders' investment.
There is no public market for our Series A Preferred Stock or Warrants and we do not expect one to develop.
There is no public market for our Series A Preferred Stock or Warrants, and we currently have no plan to list these securities on a securities exchange or to include these shares for quotation on any national securities market. We cannot assure our stockholders as to the liquidity of any trading market that may develop for our Series A Preferred Stock or Warrants. Additionally, our charter contains restrictions on the ownership and transfer of our securities, and these restrictions may inhibit the ability to sell the Series A Preferred Stock or Warrants promptly or at all. Furthermore, the Warrants will expire four years from the date of issuance. If a holder is able to sell the Series A Preferred Stock or Warrants, they may only be able to sell them at a substantial discount from the price paid. Accordingly, our stockholders may be required to bear the financial risk of their investment in the shares of Series A Preferred Stock indefinitely.
We will be required to terminate the Follow-On Series A Offering if our Common Stock is no longer listed on the NYSE MKT or another national securities exchange.
The Series A Preferred Stock is a "covered security" under the Securities Act and therefore is not subject to registration in the various states in which it may be sold due to its seniority to our Common Stock, which is listed on the NYSE MKT exchange. If our Common Stock is no longer listed on the NYSE MKT or another appropriate exchange, we will be required to register the offering of our Units in any state in which we subsequently offer the Units. This would require the termination of the Unit offering and could result in our raising an amount of gross proceeds that is substantially less than the amount of the gross proceeds we expect to raise if the maximum offering is sold. This would reduce our ability to purchase additional properties and limit the diversification of our portfolio.
The Warrants are not "covered securities" under the Securities Act. The Warrants are subject to state registration in those states that do not have any exemption for securities convertible into a listed security and the offering must be declared effective in order to sell the Warrants in these states.
There may not be an active market for our Common Stock and shares of our Common Stock may be thinly traded, which may cause our Common Stock to trade at a discount and make it difficult for a holder to sell our Common Stock.
Our Common Stock trades on the NYSE MKT under the symbol "APTS." Listing on the NYSE MKT or another national securities exchange does not ensure an active market for our Common Stock. Our Common Stock may be thinly traded and may have substantially less liquidity than the average trading market for many other publicly traded companies. Therefore, investors may have reduced opportunities to sell their shares of Common Stock in the open market at a favorable price or at all. Limited trading of our Common Stock may contribute to more volatile price fluctuations, which could affect our stockholders' ability to sell their shares and could depress the market price of our stockholders' shares. Accordingly, an active market for our Common Stock may not be maintained; the market for our Common Stock may not be liquid; the holders of our Common Stock may be unable to sell their shares of our Common Stock at a favorable price or at all; and the prices that may be obtained from the sale of our Common Stock (including upon the exercise of our Warrants, or the redemption of our Series A Preferred Stock) may not reflect the underlying value of our assets and business.
Our ability to redeem shares of Preferred Stock for cash may be limited by Maryland law.
Under Maryland law, a corporation may redeem stock as long as, after giving effect to the redemption, the corporation is able to pay its debts as they become due in the usual course (the equity solvency test) and its total assets exceed its total liabilities (the balance sheet solvency test). If the Company is insolvent at any time when a redemption of shares of Series A Preferred Stock is required to be made, the Company may not be able to effect such redemption for cash.
The Series A Preferred Stock is a senior security, and ranks prior to our Common Stock with respect to dividends and payments upon liquidation.
The rights of the holders of shares of our Series A Preferred Stock rank senior to the rights of the holders of shares of our Common Stock as to dividends and payments upon liquidation. Unless full cumulative dividends on our shares of Series A Preferred Stock for all past dividend periods have been declared and paid (or set apart for payment), we will not declare or pay dividends with respect to any shares of our Common Stock for any period. Upon liquidation, dissolution or winding up of our
Company, the holders of shares of our Series A Preferred Stock are entitled to receive a liquidation preference of $1,000 per share, or the Stated Value, plus all accrued but unpaid dividends, prior and in preference to any distribution to the holders of shares of our Common Stock or any other class of our equity securities.
The Series A Preferred Stock will be subordinate in right of payment to any corporate level debt that we incur in the future, therefore our stockholders' interests could be diluted by the issuance of additional preferred stock, and by other transactions.
The Series A Preferred Stock will be subordinate in right of payment to any corporate level debt that we incur in the future. Future debt we incur may include restrictions on our ability to pay dividends on our Series A Preferred Stock. The issuance of additional preferred stock on a parity with or senior to the Series A Preferred Stock would dilute the interests of the holders of the Series A Preferred Stock, and any issuance of preferred stock senior to the Series A Preferred Stock or of additional indebtedness could affect our ability to pay dividends on, redeem or pay the liquidation preference on the Series A Preferred Stock. While the terms of the Series A Preferred Stock limit our ability to issue shares of a class or series of preferred stock senior in ranking to the Series A Preferred Stock, such terms do not restrict our ability to authorize or issue shares of a class or series of preferred stock with rights to distributions or upon liquidation that are on parity with the Series A Preferred Stock or to incur additional indebtedness. The Series A Preferred Stock does not contain any provision affording the holders of the Series A Preferred Stock protection in the event of a highly leveraged or other transaction, including a merger or the sale, lease or conveyance of all or substantially all of our assets or business, that might adversely affect the holders of the Series A Preferred Stock.
We will be able to call our shares of Series A Preferred Stock for redemption under certain circumstances without our stockholders' consent.
We will have the ability to call the outstanding shares of Series A Preferred Stock after ten years following the date of original issuance of such shares of Series A Preferred Stock. At that time, we will have the right to redeem, at our option, the outstanding shares of Series A Preferred Stock, in whole or in part, at 100% of the Stated Value, plus any accrued and unpaid dividends. We have the right, in our sole discretion, to pay the redemption price in cash or in equal value of our Common Stock, based upon the volume weighted average price of our Common Stock for the 20 trading days prior to the redemption.
Risks Related to Our Organization, Structure and Management
We are dependent upon our Manager and its affiliates to conduct our operations, and therefore, any adverse changes in the financial health of our Manager or its affiliates, or our relationship with any of them, could hinder our operating performance and the return on our stockholders' investment.
We are an externally advised REIT, which means that our Manager provides our management team and support personnel and administers our day-to-day business operations. We are dependent on our Manager and its affiliates to manage our operations and acquire and manage our portfolio of real estate assets. Our Manager will make all decisions with respect to the management of our Company, subject to the oversight of our board of directors. Our Manager will depend upon the fees and other compensation that it will receive from us in connection with the purchase, management and sale of our investments to conduct its operations. Any adverse changes in the financial condition of, or our relationship with our Manager or its affiliates could hinder their ability to successfully manage our operations and our portfolio of investments.
Our success is dependent on the performance of our Manager.
We rely on the management ability of our Manager, subject to the oversight and approval of our board of directors. Accordingly, if our Manager suffers or is distracted by adverse financial or operational problems in connection with its operations or operations unrelated to us, our Manager may be unable to allocate time and/or resources to our operations. If our Manager is unable to allocate sufficient resources to oversee and perform our operations for any reason, we may be unable to achieve our investment objectives or to pay distributions to our stockholders.
If our Manager loses or is unable to retain or replace key personnel, our ability to implement our investment strategies could be hindered, which could adversely affect our ability to make distributions and the value of our stockholders' investment.
Our success depends to a significant degree upon the contributions of certain of our executive officers and other key personnel of our Manager. In particular, we depend on the skills and expertise of John A. Williams and Dan Dupree, the director of our investment strategies. Neither we nor our Manager have an employment agreement with any of our or its key personnel, including Mr. Williams and Mr. Dupree, and we cannot guarantee that all, or any, of such personnel, will remain affiliated with
us or our Manager. If any of our key personnel were to cease their affiliation with our Manager, our operating results could suffer. Further, we do not currently nor do we intend to maintain key person life insurance that would provide us with proceeds in the event of the death or disability of Mr. Williams, Mr. Dupree, or any of our key personnel.
We believe our future success depends upon our Manager's ability to hire and retain highly skilled managerial, operational and marketing personnel. Competition for such personnel is intense, and we cannot assure our stockholders that our Manager will be successful in attracting and retaining such skilled personnel. If our Manager loses or is unable to obtain the services of key personnel, our ability to implement our investment strategies could be delayed or hindered, and the value of our stockholders' investment in our Company may decline.
Furthermore, our Manager may retain independent contractors to provide various services for us, including administrative services, transfer agent services and professional services. Such contractors have no fiduciary duty to our Manager or us and may not perform as expected or desired. Any such services provided by independent contractors will be paid for by us as an operating expense.
Payment of fees and cost reimbursements to our Manager and its affiliates and third parties will reduce cash available for investment and payment of distributions.
Our Manager and its affiliates and third parties will perform services for us in connection with, among other things, the offer and sale of our securities, including the performance of legal, accounting and financial reporting in connection therewith, the selection and acquisition of our investments; the management and leasing of our properties; the servicing of our mortgage, bridge, mezzanine or other loans; the administration of our other investments and the disposition of our assets. They will be paid substantial fees and cost reimbursements for these services. These fees and reimbursements will reduce the amount of cash available for investment or distributions to our stockholders.
If our Manager or its affiliates waive certain fees due to them, our results of operations and distributions may be artificially high.
From time to time, our Manager and/or its affiliates may agree to waive or defer all or a portion of the acquisition, asset management or other fees, compensation or incentives due to them, pay general administrative expenses or otherwise supplement stockholder returns in order to increase the amount of cash available to make distributions to stockholders. If our Manager and/or its affiliates choose to no longer waive or defer such fees, compensation and incentives or to cease paying general administrative expenses or supplementing stockholder returns, our results of operations will be lower than in previous periods and our stockholders' return on their investment in our Company could be negatively affected.
The Maryland General Corporation Law prohibits certain business combinations, which may make it more difficult for us to be acquired.
Under the Maryland General Corporation Law, “business combinations” between a Maryland corporation and an “interested stockholder” or an affiliate of an interested stockholder are prohibited for five years after the most recent date on which the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. These business combinations include a merger, consolidation, share exchange or, in circumstances specified in the statute, an asset transfer or issuance or reclassification of equity securities. An interested stockholder is defined as: (i) any person who beneficially owns 10% or more of the voting power of the then outstanding voting stock of the corporation; or (ii) an affiliate or associate of the corporation who, at any time within the two-year period prior to the date in question, was the beneficial owner of 10% or more of the voting power of the then outstanding voting stock of the corporation.
A person is not an interested stockholder under the statute if the board of directors approved in advance the transaction by which the person otherwise would have become an interested stockholder. However, in approving a transaction, the board of directors may provide that its approval is subject to compliance, at or after the time of approval, with any terms and conditions determined by the board.
After the expiration of the five-year period described above, any business combination between the Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder must generally be recommended by the board of directors of the corporation and approved by the affirmative vote of at least:
80% of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of the then outstanding shares of voting stock of the corporation; and
two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of voting stock of the corporation, other than shares held by the interested stockholder with whom or with whose affiliate the business combination is to be effected, or held by an affiliate or associate of the interested stockholder.
These super-majority vote requirements do not apply if the corporation's common stockholders receive a minimum price, as defined under the Maryland General Corporation Law, for their shares in the form of cash or other consideration in the same form as previously paid by the interested stockholder for its shares. The Maryland General Corporation Law also permits various exemptions from these provisions, including business combinations that are exempted by the board of directors before the time that the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. Pursuant to the statute, our board of directors has adopted a resolution exempting any business combination with our Manager or any of its affiliates. Consequently, the five-year prohibition and the super-majority vote requirements will not apply to business combinations between us and our Manager or any of its affiliates. As a result, our Manager or any of its affiliates may be able to enter into business combinations with us that may not be in the best interest of our stockholders, without compliance with the super-majority vote requirements and the other provisions of the statute. The business combination statute may discourage others from trying to acquire control of us and increase the difficulty of consummating any offer.
Stockholders have limited control over changes in our policies and operations.
Our board of directors determines our major policies, including with regard to financing, growth, debt capitalization, REIT qualification and distributions. Our board of directors may amend or revise these and other policies without a vote of the stockholders. Holders of our Preferred Stock have limited to no voting rights. Under our charter and the Maryland General Corporation Law, holders of our Common Stock generally have a right to vote only on the following matters:
the election or removal of directors;
the amendment of our charter, except that our board of directors may amend our charter without stockholder approval to:
change the name or other designation or the par value of any class or series of stock and the aggregate par value of our stock;
increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares of stock that we have the authority to issue;
increase or decrease the number of shares of any class or series of stock that we have the authority to issue; and
effect certain reverse stock splits;
our liquidation and dissolution; and
our being a party to a merger, consolidation, sale or other disposition of all or substantially all our assets or statutory share exchange.
All other matters are subject to the discretion of our board of directors.
Our authorized but unissued shares of Common Stock and preferred stock may prevent a change in our control.
Our charter authorizes us to issue additional authorized but unissued shares of Common Stock or preferred stock, without stockholder approval, up to 415,066,666 shares. In addition, our board of directors may, without stockholder approval, amend our charter from time to time to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares of our stock or the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have authority to issue and classify or reclassify any unissued shares of Common Stock or preferred stock and set the preferences, rights and other terms of the classified or reclassified shares. As a result, our board of directors may establish a class or series of Common Stock or preferred stock that could delay or prevent a merger, third party tender offer or similar transaction or a change in incumbent management that might involve a premium price for our securities or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders.
Because of our holding company structure, we depend on our operating subsidiary and its subsidiaries for cash flow and we will be structurally subordinated in right of payment to the obligations of such operating subsidiary and its subsidiaries.
We are a holding company with no business operations of our own. Our only significant asset is and will be the general and limited partnership interests in our Operating Partnership. We conduct, and intend to conduct, all our business operations through our Operating Partnership. Accordingly, our only source of cash to pay our obligations is distributions from our Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries of their net earnings and cash flows. We cannot assure our stockholders that our Operating Partnership or its subsidiaries will be able to, or be permitted to, make distributions to us that will enable us to make distributions to our stockholders from cash flows from operations. Each of our Operating Partnership's subsidiaries is or will be a distinct legal
entity and, under certain circumstances, legal and contractual restrictions may limit our ability to obtain cash from such entities. In addition, because we are a holding company, your claims as stockholders will be structurally subordinated to all existing and future liabilities and obligations of our Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries. Therefore, in the event of our bankruptcy, liquidation or reorganization, our assets and those of our Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries will be able to satisfy your claims as stockholders only after all our and our Operating Partnership's and its subsidiaries' liabilities and obligations have been paid in full.
Our rights and the rights of our stockholders to recover on claims against our directors and officers are limited, which could reduce our stockholders, and our recovery against them if they negligently cause us to incur losses.
The Maryland General Corporation Law provides that a director has no liability in such capacity if he performs his duties in good faith, in a manner he reasonably believes to be in our best interests and with the care that an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances. A director who performs his or her duties in accordance with the foregoing standards should not be liable to us or any other person for failure to discharge his or her obligations as a director.
In addition, our charter provides that our directors and officers will not be liable to us or our stockholders for monetary damages unless the director or officer actually received an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services, or is adjudged to be liable to us or our stockholders based on a finding that his or her action, or failure to act, was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty and was material to the cause of action adjudicated in the proceeding. Our charter also requires us, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law, to indemnify and, without requiring a preliminary determination of the ultimate entitlement to indemnification, pay or reimburse reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of a proceeding to any individual who is a present or former director or officer and who is made or threatened to be made a party to the proceeding by reason of his or her service in that capacity or any individual who, while a director or officer and at our request, serves or has served as a director, officer, partner, trustee, member or manager of another corporation, real estate investment trust, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise and who is made or threatened to be made a party to the proceeding by reason of his or her service in that capacity. With the approval of our board of directors, we may provide such indemnification and advance for expenses to any individual who served a predecessor of the Company in any of the capacities described above and any employee or agent of the Company or a predecessor of the Company, including our Manager and its affiliates.
We also are permitted to purchase and we currently maintain insurance or provide similar protection on behalf of any directors, officers, employees and agents, including our Manager and its affiliates, against any liability asserted which was incurred in any such capacity with us or arising out of such status. This may result in us having to expend significant funds, which will reduce the available cash for distribution to our stockholders.
If we internalize our management functions, the holders of our previously outstanding Common Stock could be diluted, and we could incur other significant costs associated with internalizing and being self-managed.
In the future, our board of directors may consider internalizing the functions performed for us by our Manager by acquiring our Manager's assets. The method by which we could internalize these functions could take many forms. There is no assurance that internalizing our management functions will be beneficial to us and our stockholders. Such an acquisition could also result in dilution of our stockholders if common stock or securities convertible into common stock are issued in the internalization and could reduce earnings per share and funds from operations attributable to common stockholders and unitholders, or FFO, as defined by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, or NAREIT. For example, we may not realize the perceived benefits or we may not be able to properly integrate a new staff of managers and employees or we may not be able to effectively replicate the services provided previously by our Manager or its affiliates. Internalization transactions involving the acquisition of managers affiliated with entity sponsors have also, in some cases, been the subject of litigation. Even if these claims are without merit, we could be forced to spend significant amounts of time and money defending claims which would reduce the amount of time and funds available for us to invest in properties or other investments and to pay distributions. All these factors could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and ability to pay distributions.
Our stockholders' investment return may be reduced if we are required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act.
We are not registered, and do not intend to register ourselves or any of our subsidiaries, as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or the Investment Company Act. If we become obligated to register the company or any of our subsidiaries as an investment company, the registered entity would have to comply with a variety of substantive requirements under the Investment Company Act imposing, among other things, limitations on capital structure,
restrictions on specified investments, prohibitions on transactions with affiliates and compliance with reporting, record keeping, voting, proxy disclosure and other rules and regulations that would significantly change our operations.
We intend to conduct our operations, directly and through wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries, so that we and each of our subsidiaries are exempt from registration as an investment company under the Investment Company Act. Under Section 3(a)(1)(A) of the Investment Company Act, a company is not deemed to be an “investment company” if it neither is, nor holds itself out as being, engaged primarily, nor proposes to engage primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. Under Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the Investment Company Act, a company is not deemed to be an “investment company” if it neither is engaged, nor proposes to engage, in the business of investing, reinvesting, owning, holding or trading in securities and does not own or propose to acquire “investment securities” having a value exceeding 40% of the value of its total assets (exclusive of government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis.
We believe that we and most, if not all, of our wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries will not be considered investment companies under either Section 3(a)(1)(A) or Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the Investment Company Act. If we or any of our wholly owned or majority owned subsidiaries would ever inadvertently fall within one of the definitions of “investment company,” we intend to rely on the exception provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act. Under Section 3(c)(5)(C), the SEC staff generally requires a company to maintain at least 55% of its assets directly in qualifying assets and at least 80% of qualifying assets in a broader category of real estate related assets to qualify for this exception. Mortgage-related securities may or may not constitute qualifying assets, depending on the characteristics of the mortgage-related securities, including the rights that we have with respect to the underlying loans. The Company's ownership of mortgage-related securities, therefore, is limited by provisions of the Investment Company Act and SEC staff interpretations.
The method we use to classify our assets for purposes of the Investment Company Act will be based in large measure upon no-action positions taken by the SEC staff in the past. These no-action positions were issued in accordance with factual situations that may be substantially different from the factual situations we may face, and a number of these no-action positions were issued more than 20 years ago. No assurance can be given that the SEC staff will concur with our classification of our assets. In addition, the SEC staff may, in the future, issue further guidance that may require us to re-classify our assets for purposes of qualifying for an exclusion from regulation under the Investment Company Act. If we are required to re-classify our assets, we may no longer be in compliance with the exclusion from the definition of an “investment company” provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act.
A change in the value of any of our assets could cause us or one or more of our wholly owned or majority owned subsidiaries to fall within the definition of “investment company” and negatively affect our ability to maintain our exemption from regulation under the Investment Company Act. To avoid being required to register us or any of our subsidiaries as an investment company under the Investment Company Act, we may be unable to sell assets we would otherwise want to sell and may need to sell assets we would otherwise wish to retain. In addition, we may have to acquire additional income- or loss-generating assets that we might not otherwise have acquired or may have to forgo opportunities to acquire interests in companies that we would otherwise want to acquire and would be important to our investment strategy.
As part of our Manager's obligations under the Management Agreement, our Manager will agree to refrain from taking any action which, in its sole judgment made in good faith, would subject us to regulation under the Investment Company Act. Failure to maintain an exclusion from registration under the Investment Company Act would require us to significantly restructure our business plan. For example, because affiliate transactions are generally prohibited under the Investment Company Act, we would not be able to enter into transactions with any of our affiliates if we are required to register as an investment company, and we may be required to terminate our Management Agreement and any other agreements with affiliates, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to operate our business and pay distributions. If we were required to register us as an investment company but failed to do so, we would be prohibited from engaging in our business, and criminal and civil actions could be brought against us. In addition, our contracts would be unenforceable unless a court required enforcement, and a court could appoint a receiver to take control of us and liquidate our business.
Risks Related to Conflicts of Interest
Our Manager, our executive officers and their affiliates may face competing demands relating to their time, and if inadequate time is devoted to our business, our stockholders' investment may be negatively impacted.
We rely on our executive officers and the executive officers and employees of our Manager and its affiliates for the day-to-day operation of our business. These persons also conduct or may conduct in the future day-to-day operations of other programs and entities sponsored by or affiliated with our Manager. Because these persons have or may have such interests in other real
estate programs and engage in other business activities, they may experience conflicts of interest in allocating their time and resources among our business and these other activities. The amount of time that our Manager and its affiliates spend on our business will vary from time to time and is expected to be greater while we are raising money and acquiring investments. During times of intense activity in other programs and ventures, they may devote less time and fewer resources to our business than are necessary or appropriate to manage our business. We expect that as our real estate activities expand, our Manager will attempt to hire additional employees who would devote substantially all their time to our business. There is no assurance that our Manager will devote adequate time to our business. If our Manager or any of its respective affiliates suffers or is distracted by adverse financial or operational problems in connection with its operations unrelated to us, it may allocate less time and resources to our operations. If any of the foregoing events occur, the returns on our investments, our ability to make distributions to stockholders and the value of our stockholders' investment may suffer.
Our Manager, our executive officers and their affiliates may face conflicts of interest, and these conflicts may not be resolved in our favor, which could negatively impact our stockholders' investment.
Our executive officers and the employees of our Manager and its respective affiliates on whom we rely could make substantial profits as a result of investment opportunities allocated to entities other than us. As a result, these individuals could pursue transactions that may not be in our best interest, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations and our stockholders' investment. Our Manager and its affiliates may be engaged in other activities that could result in potential conflicts of interest with the services that they provide to us.
Our Manager and its affiliates will receive substantial fees from us, which could result in our Manager and its affiliates taking actions that are not necessarily in the best interest of our stockholders.
Our Manager and its affiliates will receive substantial fees from us, including distributions with respect to our Manager's special limited partnership interest in the Operating Partnership, which entitles our Manager to receive a participation in net sales proceeds. Further, our Manager will receive an asset management fee based on the total value of our assets, and its affiliates will receive fees based on our revenues, which, in each case, could incent our Manager to use higher levels of leverage to finance investments or accumulate assets to increase fees than would otherwise be in our best interests. These fees could influence our Manager's advice to us, as well as the judgment of the affiliates of our Manager who serve as our officers and directors. Therefore, considerations relating to their compensation from other programs could result in decisions that are not in the best interests of our stockholders, which could hurt our income and, as a result, our ability to make distributions to stockholders and/or lead to a decline in the value of our stockholders' investment.
Properties acquired from affiliates of our Manager may be at a price higher than we would pay if the transaction were the result of arm's-length negotiations.
The prices we pay to affiliates of our Manager for our properties may be equal to the prices paid by them, plus the costs incurred by them relating to the acquisition and financing of the properties, or if the price to us is in excess of such cost, substantial justification for such excess may exist and such excess may be reasonable and consistent with current market conditions as determined by a majority of our independent directors. Substantial justification for a higher price could result from improvements to a property by the affiliate of our Manager or increases in market value of the property during the period of time the property is owned by the affiliate as evidenced by an appraisal of the property. In the event we were to acquire properties from one of our affiliates, our proposed purchase prices will be based upon fair market values determined in good faith by our Manager, utilizing, for example, independent appraisals and competitive bidding if the assets are marketed to the public, with any actual or perceived conflicts of interest approved by independent members of the conflicts committee of our board of directors. These prices may not be the subject of arm's-length negotiations, which could mean that the acquisitions may be on terms less favorable to us than those negotiated in an arm's-length transaction. When acquiring properties from our Manager and its affiliates, we may pay more for particular properties than we would have in an arm's-length transaction, which would reduce our cash available for other investments or distribution to our stockholders.
We may purchase real properties from persons with whom affiliates of our Manager have prior business relationships, which may impact the purchase terms, and as a result, affect our stockholders' investment.
If we purchase properties from third parties who have sold, or may sell, properties to our Manager or its affiliates, our Manager may experience a conflict between our current interests and its interest in preserving any ongoing business relationship with these sellers. As a result of this conflict, the terms of any transaction between us and such third parties may not reflect the terms that we could receive in the market on an arm's-length basis. If the terms we receive in a transaction are less favorable to us, our results from operations may be adversely affected.
The absence of arm's-length bargaining may mean that our agreements may not be as favorable to our stockholders as they otherwise could have been.
Any existing or future agreements between us and our Manager or any of its respective affiliates were not and will not be reached through arm's-length negotiations. Thus, such agreements may require us to pay more than we would if we were using unaffiliated third parties. The Management Agreement, the operating partnership agreement of our Operating Partnership and the terms of the compensation to our Manager and its affiliates or distributions to our Manager were not arrived at through arm's-length negotiations. The terms of the Management Agreement, the operating partnership agreement of our Operating Partnership and similar agreements may not solely reflect our stockholders' best interest and may be overly favorable to the other party to such agreements including in terms of the substantial compensation to be paid to or the potential substantial distributions to these parties under these agreements.
Our Manager and its affiliates receive fees and other compensation based upon our investments, which may impact operating decisions, and as a result, affect our stockholders' investment.
John A. Williams is our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the board of directors and the Chief Executive Officer of our Manager. As a result, Mr. Williams has a direct interest in all fees paid to our Manager and is in a position to make decisions about our investments in ways that could maximize fees payable to our Manager and its affiliates. Some compensation is payable to our Manager whether or not there is cash available to make distributions to our stockholders. To the extent this occurs, our Manager and its affiliates benefit from us retaining ownership and leveraging our assets, while our stockholders may be better served by the sale or disposition of, or lack of leverage on, the assets. For example, because asset management fees payable to our Manager are based on total assets under management, including assets purchased using debt, our Manager may have an incentive to incur a high level of leverage in order to increase the total amount of assets under management. In addition, our Manager's ability to receive fees and reimbursements depends on our revenues from continued investment in real properties and real estate-related investments. Therefore, the interest of our Manager and its affiliates in receiving fees may conflict with the interest of our stockholders in earning a return on an investment in our Common Stock or Series A Preferred Stock.
If we invest in joint ventures, the objectives of our partners may conflict with our objectives.
In accordance with our acquisition strategies, we may make investments in joint ventures or other partnership arrangements between us and affiliates of our Manager or with unaffiliated third parties. We also may purchase properties in partnerships, co-tenancies or other co-ownership arrangements. Such investments may involve risks not otherwise present when acquiring real estate directly, including, for example:
joint venturers may share certain approval rights over major decisions;
a co-venturer, co-owner or partner may at any time have economic or business interests or goals which are or which become inconsistent with our business interests or goals, including inconsistent goals relating to the sale of properties held in the joint venture or the timing of termination or liquidation of the joint venture;
a co-venturer, co-owner or partner in an investment might become insolvent or bankrupt;
we may incur liabilities as a result of an action taken by our co-venturer, co-owner or partner;
a co-venturer, co-owner or partner may be in a position to take action contrary to our instructions or requests or contrary to our policies or objectives, including our policy with respect to qualifying and maintaining our qualification as a REIT;
disputes between us and our joint venturers may result in litigation or arbitration that would increase our expenses and prevent our officers and directors from focusing their time and effort on our business and result in subjecting the properties owned by the applicable joint venture to additional risk; or
under certain joint venture arrangements, neither venture partner may have the power to control the venture, and an impasse could be reached which might have a negative influence on the joint venture.
These events could result in, among other things, exposing us to liabilities of the joint venture in excess of our proportionate share of these liabilities. The partition rights of each owner in a jointly owned property could reduce the value of each portion of the divided property. Moreover, there is an additional risk neither co-venturer will have the power to control the venture, and under certain circumstances, an impasse could be reached regarding matters pertaining to the co-ownership arrangement, which might have a negative influence on the joint venture and decrease potential returns to our stockholders. In addition, the fiduciary obligation that our Manager or our board of directors may owe to our partner in an affiliated transaction may make it more difficult for us to enforce our rights.
If we have a right of first refusal or buy/sell right to buy out a co-venturer, co-owner or partner, we may be unable to finance such a buy-out if it becomes exercisable or we may be required to purchase such interest at a time when it would not otherwise be in our best interest to do so. If our interest is subject to a buy/sell right, we may not have sufficient cash, available borrowing capacity or other capital resources to allow us to elect to purchase an interest of a co-venturer subject to the buy/sell right, in which case we may be forced to sell our interest as the result of the exercise of such right when we would otherwise prefer to keep our interest. Finally, we may not be able to sell our interest in a joint venture if we desire to exit the venture.
Risks Related to Investments in Real Estate
Our investments in real estate-related investments will be subject to the risks typically associated with real estate, which may have a material effect on our stockholders' investment.
Our loans held for investment generally will be directly or indirectly secured by a lien on real property, or the equity interests in an entity that owns real property, that, upon the occurrence of a default on the loan, could result in our acquiring ownership of the property. We will not know whether the values of the properties ultimately securing our loans will remain at or above the levels existing on the dates of origination of those loans. If the values of the underlying properties decline, our risk will increase because of the lower value of the security associated with such loans. In this manner, real estate values could impact the values of our loan investments. Any investments in mortgage-related securities, collateralized debt obligations and other real estate-related investments (including potential investments in real property) may be similarly affected by real estate property values. Therefore, our investments will be subject to the risks typically associated with real estate.
The value of real estate may be adversely affected by a number of risks, including:
natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods;
acts of war or terrorism, including the consequences of terrorist attacks, such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001;
adverse changes in national and local economic and real estate conditions;
an oversupply of (or a reduction in demand for) space in the areas where particular properties are located and the attractiveness of particular properties to prospective residents;
changes in governmental laws and regulations, fiscal policies and zoning ordinances and the related costs of compliance therewith and the potential for liability under applicable laws;
costs of remediation and liabilities associated with environmental conditions affecting properties; and
the potential for uninsured or underinsured property losses.
The value of each property is affected significantly by its ability to generate cash flow and net income, which in turn depends on the amount of rental or other income that can be generated net of expenses required to be incurred with respect to the property. Many expenditures associated with properties (such as operating expenses and capital expenditures) cannot be reduced when there is a reduction in income from the properties. These factors may have a material adverse effect on the ability of the borrowers to pay their loans, as well as on the value that we can realize from assets we own or acquire.
Natural disasters could significantly reduce the value of our properties and our stockholders' investment.
Natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires and floods could significantly reduce the value of our properties. While we will attempt to obtain adequate insurance coverage for natural disasters, insurance may be too expensive, may have significant deductibles, or may not properly compensate us for the long-term loss in value that a property may suffer if the area around it suffers a significant natural disaster. As a result, we may not be compensated for the loss in value. Any diminution in the value of our properties or properties underlying an investment that is not fully reimbursed will reduce our profitability and adversely affect the value of our stockholders' investment.
Terrorist attacks and other acts of violence or war may affect the real estate industry generally and our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We cannot predict the severity of the effect that potential future terrorist attacks would have on us. We may suffer losses as a result of the adverse impact of any future attacks and these losses may adversely impact our performance and the value of our real estate. The events of September 11, 2001 created significant uncertainty regarding the ability of real estate owners to obtain insurance coverage protecting against terrorist attacks at commercially reasonable rates. We may not be able to obtain insurance against the risk of terrorism because it may not be available or may not be available on terms that are economically feasible. The terrorism insurance that we obtain may not be sufficient to cover loss for damages to our properties as a result of terrorist attacks. The inability to obtain sufficient terrorism insurance or any terrorism insurance at all could limit our investment options as some mortgage lenders insist that specific coverage against terrorism be purchased by commercial owners as a condition of providing loans. We intend to obtain terrorism insurance if required by our lenders, but the terrorism insurance that we obtain may not be sufficient to cover loss for damages to our properties as a result of terrorist attacks. In addition, where insurance against the risk of terrorism is not available or is not available on terms that are economically feasible, we may be required to provide other financial support, either through financial assurances or self-insurance, to cover potential losses. We cannot assure our stockholders that we will have adequate coverage for such losses.
We may suffer losses that are not covered by insurance.
If we suffer losses that are not covered by insurance or that are in excess of insurance coverage, we could lose invested capital and anticipated profits. We intend to obtain comprehensive insurance for our properties, including casualty, liability, fire, extended coverage and rental loss customarily, that is of the type obtained for similar properties and in amounts which our Manager determines are sufficient to cover reasonably foreseeable losses, and with policy specifications and insured limits that we believe are adequate and appropriate under the circumstances. Material losses may occur in excess of insurance proceeds with respect to any property as insurance proceeds may not provide sufficient resources to fund the losses. However, there are types of losses, generally of a catastrophic nature, such as losses due to acts of war, earthquakes, floods, wind, pollution, environmental matters,
mold or terrorism which are either uninsurable, not economically insurable, or may be insured subject to material limitations, such as large deductibles or co-payments.
In addition, many insurance carriers exclude mold-related claims from standard policies, price mold endorsements at prohibitively high rates or add significant restrictions to such coverage. Because of our inability to obtain specialized coverage at rates that correspond to our perceived level of risk, we may not obtain insurance for acts of terrorism or mold-related claims. We will continue to evaluate the availability and cost of additional insurance coverage from the insurance market. If we decide in the future to purchase insurance for terrorism or mold, the cost could have a negative impact on our results of operations. If an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insured limits occurs on a property, we could lose our capital invested in the property, as well as the anticipated future revenues from the property and, in the case of debt that is recourse to us, would remain obligated for any mortgage debt or other financial obligations related to the property. Any loss of this nature would adversely affect us. Although we intend to adequately insure our properties, we cannot assure that we will successfully do so.
Compliance with the governmental laws, regulations and covenants that are applicable to our properties, including permit, license and zoning requirements, may adversely affect our ability to make future acquisitions or renovations, result in significant costs or delays and adversely affect our growth strategy.
Our properties are subject to various covenants and local laws and regulatory requirements, including permitting and licensing requirements. Local regulations, including municipal or local ordinances, zoning restrictions and restrictive covenants imposed by community developers, may restrict our use of our properties and may require us to obtain approval from local officials or community standards organizations at any time with respect to our properties, including prior to acquiring a property or when undertaking renovations of any of our existing properties. Among other things, these restrictions may relate to fire and safety, seismic, asbestos-cleanup or hazardous material abatement requirements. We cannot assure our stockholders that existing regulatory policies will not adversely affect us or the timing or cost of any future acquisitions or renovations, or that additional regulations will not be adopted that would increase such delays or result in additional costs. Our growth strategy may be materially and adversely affected by our ability to obtain permits, licenses and zoning approvals. Our failure to obtain such permits, licenses and zoning approvals could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Compliance or failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act or other safety regulations and requirements could result in substantial costs.
The Americans with Disabilities Act generally requires that public buildings, including “public accommodations," be made accessible to disabled persons. Noncompliance could result in the imposition of fines by the federal government or the award of damages to private litigants. If, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are required to make substantial alterations and capital expenditures in one or more of our properties or in properties we acquire, including the removal of access barriers, it could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations, as well as the amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders. Our properties are subject to various federal, state and local regulatory requirements, such as state and local fire and life safety requirements. If we fail to comply with these requirements, we could incur fines or private damage awards. We do not know whether existing requirements will change or whether compliance with future requirements will require significant unanticipated expenditures that will affect our cash flow and results of operations.
Rising expenses could reduce cash flow and funds available for future acquisitions, which may materially affect cash available for distributions.
Our real estate assets may be subject to increases in tax rates, assessed property values, utility costs, operating expenses, insurance costs, repairs and maintenance, administrative and other expenses. Some of the leases on our properties may require the resident or tenant to pay all or a portion of utility costs; however, significant utility costs are borne by us. Such increased expenses could adversely affect funds available for future acquisitions or cash available for distributions.
Failure to generate sufficient cash flows from operations may reduce distributions to stockholders.
We intend to rely primarily on our cash flow from operations to make distributions to our stockholders. The cash flow from equity investments in our real estate assets depends on the amount of revenue generated and expenses incurred in operating our assets. The revenue generated and expenses incurred in operating our assets depends on many factors, some of which are beyond our control. For instance, rents from our properties may not increase as expected or the real estate-related investments we purchase may not generate the anticipated returns. If our investments do not generate revenue sufficient to meet our operating expenses, debt service and capital expenditures, our cash flows and ability to make distributions to our stockholders will be adversely affected.
If we purchase assets at a time when the real estate market is experiencing substantial influxes of capital investment and competition for properties, the real estate we purchase may not appreciate or may decrease in value.
The real estate market may experience substantial influxes of capital from investors. This substantial flow of capital, combined with significant competition for the acquisition of real estate, may result in inflated purchase prices for such assets and compression of capitalization rates. To the extent we purchase real estate in such an environment, we are subject to the risk that, if the real estate market subsequently ceases to attract the same level of capital investment, or if the number of companies seeking to acquire such assets decreases, our returns will be lower and the value of our assets may not appreciate or may decrease significantly below the amount we paid for such assets.
We may be unable to sell a property if or when we decide to do so, which could adversely impact our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
In connection with the acquisition of a property, we may agree on restrictions that prohibit the sale of that property for a period of time or impose other restrictions, such as a limitation on the amount of debt that can be placed or repaid on that property. Even absent such restrictions, the real estate market is affected by many factors that are beyond our control, including general economic conditions, availability of financing, interest rates and supply and demand. We cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any property for the price or on the terms set by us, or whether any price or other terms offered by a prospective purchaser would be acceptable to us. We cannot predict the length of time needed to find a willing purchaser and to close the sale of a property or real estate-related asset. If we are unable to sell a property or real estate-related asset when we determine to do so, it could have a significant adverse effect on our cash flow and results of operations. As a result, we may not have funds to make distributions to our stockholders.
We may have difficulty selling real estate investments, and our ability to distribute all or a portion of the net proceeds from such sale to our stockholders may be limited.
Real estate investments are relatively illiquid, and as a result, we will have a limited ability to vary our portfolio in response to changes in economic or other conditions. We also will have a limited ability to sell assets in order to fund working capital and similar capital needs. When we sell any of our properties, we may not realize a gain on such sale. We may elect not to distribute any proceeds from the sale of properties to our stockholders and we may use such proceeds to:
purchase additional properties;
buy out the interests of any co-venturers or other partners in any joint venture in which we are a party;
create working capital reserves; or
make repairs, maintenance, tenant improvements or other capital improvements or expenditures to our remaining properties.
We may not make a profit if we sell a property, which could adversely impact our ability to make cash distributions to our stockholders.
The prices that we can obtain when we determine to sell a property will depend on many factors that are presently unknown, including the property's operating performance, tax treatment of real estate investments, demographic trends in the area and available financing. There is a risk that we will not recover all or a portion of our investment in a property. Accordingly, our stockholders' ability to recover all or any portion of their investment under such circumstances will depend on the amount of funds so realized and claims to be satisfied therefrom.
Our ability to sell our properties also may be limited by our need to avoid a 100% penalty tax that is imposed on gain recognized by a REIT from the sale of property characterized as dealer property. In order to ensure that we avoid such characterization we may be required to hold our properties for a minimum period of time and comply with certain other requirements in the Code, or possibly hold some properties through taxable REIT subsidiaries, or TRSs, that must pay full corporate-level income taxes.
We may incur foreseen or unforeseen liabilities in connection with properties we acquire.
Our anticipated acquisition activities are subject to many risks. We may acquire properties that are subject to liabilities or that have problems relating to environmental condition, state of title, physical condition or compliance with zoning laws, building codes or other legal requirements. In each case, our acquisition may be without any, or with only limited, recourse with respect to unknown liabilities or conditions. As a result, if any liability were asserted against us relating to those properties or entities, or if any adverse condition existed with respect to the properties or entities, we might have to pay substantial sums to settle or cure it, which could adversely affect our cash flow and operating results. However, some of these liabilities may be covered by insurance. In addition, we intend to perform customary due diligence regarding each property or entity we acquire. We also will attempt to obtain appropriate representations and undertakings from the sellers of the properties or entities we acquire, although it is possible that the sellers may not have the resources to satisfy their indemnification obligations if a claim is made. Unknown liabilities to third parties with respect to properties or entities acquired might include, without limitation:
liabilities for clean-up of undisclosed environmental contamination;
claims by residents or other persons dealing with the former owners of the properties;
liabilities incurred in the ordinary course of business; and
claims for indemnification by general partners, directors, officers and others indemnified by the former owners of the properties.
Such liabilities could cause losses that adversely affect our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
The costs of compliance with environmental laws and other governmental laws and regulations may adversely affect our income and the cash available for any distributions.
All real property and the operations conducted on real property are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to environmental protection and human health and safety. Examples of Federal laws include: the National Environmental Policy Act; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; the Solid Waste Disposal Act as amended by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the Federal Water Pollution Control Act; the Federal Clean Air Act; the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act; and the Hazard Communication
Act. These laws and regulations generally govern wastewater discharges; air emissions; the operation and removal of underground and above-ground storage tanks; the use, storage, treatment, transportation and disposal of solid and hazardous materials; and the remediation of contamination associated with disposals. Some of these laws and regulations may impose joint and several liability on residents, owners or operators for the costs of investigation or remediation of contaminated properties, regardless of fault or the legality of the original disposal. In addition, the presence of these substances, or the failure to properly remediate these substances, may adversely affect our ability to sell or rent the property or to use the property as collateral for future borrowing.
Recently, indoor air quality issues, including mold, have been highlighted in the media and the industry is seeing mold claims from lessees rising. Due to such recent increase in mold claims and given that the law relating to mold is unsettled and subject to change, we could incur losses from claims relating to the presence of, or exposure to, mold or other microbial organisms, particularly if we are unable to maintain adequate insurance to cover such losses. We also may incur unexpected expenses relating to the abatement of mold on properties that we acquire.
Compliance with new or more stringent laws or regulations or stricter interpretation of existing laws may require material expenditures by us. We cannot assure our stockholders that future laws, ordinances or regulations will not impose any material environmental liability, or that the current environmental condition of our properties will not be affected by the operations of residents, existing conditions of the land, operations in the vicinity of the properties, or the activities of unrelated third parties. In addition, there are various local, state and federal fire, health, life-safety and similar regulations that we may be required to comply with. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could result in fines and/or damages, suspension of personnel of our Manager and/or other sanctions.
Discovery of previously undetected environmentally hazardous conditions may adversely affect our operating results.
Under various federal, state and local environmental laws, ordinances and regulations, a current or previous owner or operator of real property may be liable for the cost of removal or remediation of hazardous or toxic substances on, under or in such property. The costs of removal or remediation could be substantial. These laws often impose liability whether or not the owner or operator knew of, or was responsible for, the presence of the hazardous or toxic substances.
Environmental laws also may impose restrictions on the manner in which property may be used or businesses may be operated, and these restrictions may require substantial expenditures. Environmental laws provide for sanctions in the event of noncompliance and may be enforced by governmental agencies or, in certain circumstances, by private parties. Certain environmental laws and common law principles govern the presence, maintenance, removal and disposal of certain building materials, including asbestos and lead-based paint (which are both discussed above).
The cost of defending against such claims of liability, of compliance with environmental regulatory requirements, of remediating any contaminated property, or of paying personal injury claims could materially adversely affect our business, assets or results of operations and, consequently, amounts available for distribution to our stockholders.
We cannot assure our stockholders that properties which we acquire will not have any material environmental conditions, liabilities or compliance concerns. Accordingly, we have no way of determining at this time the magnitude of any potential liability to which we may be subject arising out of environmental conditions or violations with respect to the properties we may purchase.
We may be unable to secure funds for future capital improvements, which could adversely impact our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
When residents or tenants do not renew their leases or otherwise vacate their space, in order to attract replacement residents or tenants, we may be required to expend funds for capital improvements to the vacated apartment units or leased spaces and common areas. In addition, we may require substantial funds to renovate a property in order to sell it, upgrade it or reposition it in the market. If we have insufficient capital reserves, we will have to obtain financing from other sources. We typically establish capital reserves in an amount we, in our discretion, believe is necessary. A lender also may require escrow of capital reserves separately maintained from any reserves we establish. If these reserves or any reserves otherwise established are designated for other uses or are insufficient to meet our cash needs, we may have to obtain financing from either affiliated or unaffiliated sources to fund our cash requirements. We cannot assure our stockholders that sufficient financing will be available or, if available, will be available on economically feasible terms or on terms acceptable to us. Moreover, certain reserves required by lenders may be designated for specific uses and may not be available for capital purposes such as future capital improvements. Additional borrowing will increase our interest expense; therefore, our financial condition and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders may be adversely affected.
We may not have control over costs arising from rehabilitation of properties.
We may elect to acquire properties which require rehabilitation. In particular, we may acquire “affordable” properties that we will rehabilitate and convert to market rate properties. Consequently, we may retain independent general contractors to perform the actual physical rehabilitation work and will be subject to risks in connection with a contractor's ability to control the rehabilitation costs, the timing of completion of rehabilitation, and a contractor's ability to build and rehabilitate in conformity with plans and specifications.
The profitability of our acquisitions is uncertain.
We intend to acquire properties selectively. Acquisition of properties entails risks that investments will fail to perform in accordance with expectations. In undertaking these acquisitions, we will incur certain risks, including the expenditure of funds on, and the devotion of management's time to, transactions that may not come to fruition. Additional risks inherent in acquisitions include risks that the properties will not achieve anticipated occupancy levels and that estimates of the costs of improvements to bring an acquired property up to our standards may prove inaccurate.
Competition with third parties in acquiring properties and other assets may reduce our profitability and the return to our stockholders.
We compete with many other entities engaged in real estate investment activities, including individuals, corporations, bank and insurance company investment accounts, other REITs, real estate limited partnerships and other entities engaged in real estate investment activities. Many of these entities have significant financial and other resources, including operating experience, allowing them to compete effectively with us. Competitors with substantially greater financial resources than us may be able to accept more risk than we can effectively manage. In addition, those competitors that are not REITs may be at an advantage to the extent they can utilize working capital to finance projects, while we (and our competitors that are REITs) will be required by the annual distribution provisions under the Code to distribute significant amounts of cash from operations to our stockholders.
Some or all of our properties have incurred, and will incur, vacancies, which may result in reduced revenue and resale value, a reduction in cash available for distribution and a diminished return to our stockholders.
Our properties have incurred, and will incur, vacancies. If vacancies of a significant level continue for a long period of time, we may suffer reduced revenues resulting in lower cash distributions to our stockholders. In addition, the resale value of the property could be diminished because the market value of a particular property will depend principally upon the value of the leases of such property.
We are dependent on a concentration of our investments in a single asset class, making our profitability more vulnerable to a downturn or slowdown in the sector or other economic factors.
We expect to concentrate at least 80% of our investments in the multifamily sector. As a result, we will be subject to risks inherent in investments in a single type of property. A downturn or slowdown in the demand for multifamily housing may have more pronounced effects on our cash available for distribution or on the value of our assets than if we had more fully diversified our investments.
We may rely significantly on repayment guarantors of our mezzanine loan investments and, therefore, could be subject to credit concentration that makes us more susceptible to adverse events with respect to such guarantors.
The repayment of amounts owed to us under certain of our mezzanine loan investments may be partially guaranteed by the principals of the borrowers. If it were necessary to enforce a guaranty of completion or a guaranty of repayment, our rights under such enforcement are limited by rights held by the senior lender pursuant to intercreditor agreements we have in place. Therefore, the failure to perform by the borrowers and such guarantors is likely to have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
We are subject to geographic concentrations that make us more susceptible to adverse events with respect to certain geographic areas.
We are subject to geographic concentrations, the most significant carrying values of which are as follows as of December 31, 2014:
Carrying value of real estate assets and real estate related loans, in millions:
Any downturn in one or more of these states, or in any other state in which we may have a significant concentration in the future, could result in a material reduction of our cash flows or material losses to us.
Failure to succeed in new markets or sectors may have adverse consequences on our performance.
We may make acquisitions outside of our existing market areas if appropriate opportunities arise. Our Manager's or any of its affiliates' historical experience in their existing markets does not ensure that we will be able to operate successfully in new markets, should we choose to enter them. We may be exposed to a variety of risks if we choose to enter new markets, including an inability to accurately evaluate local market conditions, to identify appropriate acquisition opportunities, to hire and retain key personnel, and a lack of familiarity with local governmental and permitting procedures. In addition, we may abandon opportunities to enter new markets that we have begun to explore for any reason and may, as a result, fail to recover expenses already incurred.
Acquiring or attempting to acquire multiple properties in a single transaction may adversely affect our operations.
We are likely to acquire multiple properties in a single transaction. Such portfolio acquisitions are more complex and expensive than single-property acquisitions, and the risk that a multiple-property acquisition does not close may be greater than in a single-property acquisition. Portfolio acquisitions also may result in us owning investments in geographically dispersed markets, placing additional demands on our ability to manage the properties in the portfolio. In addition, a seller may require that
a group of properties be purchased as a package even though we may not want to purchase one or more properties in the portfolio. In these situations, if we are unable to identify another person or entity to acquire the unwanted properties, we may be required to operate, or attempt to dispose of, these properties. We may be required to accumulate a large amount of cash in order to acquire multiple properties in a single transaction. We would expect that the returns that we can earn on such cash will be less than the ultimate returns on real property, and therefore, accumulating such cash could reduce our funds available for distributions. Any of the foregoing events may have an adverse effect on our operations.
If we sell properties by providing financing to purchasers, we will bear the risk of default by the purchaser.
If we decide to sell any of our properties, we intend to use our commercially reasonable efforts to sell them for cash. However, in some instances we may sell our properties by providing financing to purchasers. If we provide financing to purchasers, we will bear the risk of default by the purchaser and will be subject to remedies provided by law, which could negatively impact distributions to our stockholders. There are no limitations or restrictions on our ability to take such purchase money obligations. We may, therefore, take a purchase money obligation secured by a mortgage as full or partial payment for the purchase price of a property. The terms of payment to us generally will be affected by custom in the area where the property being sold is located and
the then prevailing economic conditions. If we receive promissory notes or other property in lieu of cash from property sales, the distribution of the proceeds of sales to our stockholders, or their reinvestment in other assets, will be delayed until the promissory notes or other property are actually paid, sold or refinanced, or we have otherwise disposed of such promissory notes or other property. In some cases, we may receive initial down payments in cash and other property in the year of sale in an amount less than the selling price and subsequent payments will be spread over a number of years. If any purchaser defaults under a financing arrangement with us, it could negatively impact our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
Our revenue and net income may vary significantly from one period to another due to investments in opportunity-oriented properties and portfolio acquisitions, which could increase the variability of our cash available for distributions.
We may make investments in opportunity-oriented properties in various phases of development, redevelopment or repositioning and portfolio acquisitions, which may cause our revenues and net income to fluctuate significantly from one period to another. Projects do not produce revenue while in development or redevelopment. During any period when our projects in development or redevelopment or those with significant capital requirements increase without a corresponding increase in stable revenue-producing properties, our revenues and net income likely will decrease. Many factors may have a negative impact on the level of revenues or net income produced by our portfolio of investments, including higher than expected construction costs, failure to complete projects on a timely basis, failure of the properties to perform at expected levels upon completion of development or redevelopment, and increased borrowings necessary to fund higher than expected construction or other costs related to the project. Further, our net income and stockholders' equity could be negatively affected during periods with large portfolio acquisitions, which generally require large cash outlays and may require the incurrence of additional financing. Any such reduction in our revenues and net income during such periods could cause a resulting decrease in our cash available for distributions during the same periods.
We may obtain properties with lock-out provisions, or agree to such provisions in connection with obtaining financing, which may prohibit us from selling a property, or may require us to maintain specified debt levels for a period of years on some properties.
We may agree to obtain certain properties from contributors who contribute their direct or indirect interest in such properties to our Operating Partnership in exchange for operating partnership units and agree to restrictions on sales or refinancing, called “lock-out” provisions, that are intended to preserve favorable tax treatment for the contributors of such properties and otherwise agree to provide the indemnities to contributions. Additionally, we may agree to lock-out provisions in connection with obtaining financing for the acquisition of properties. Furthermore, we may agree to make a certain amount of debt available for these contributors to guarantee in order to preserve their favorable tax treatment. Lock-out provisions and the consequences of related tax indemnities could materially restrict us from selling, conveying, transferring otherwise disposing of all or any portion of the interest in these properties in a taxable transaction or from refinancing properties. This would affect our ability to turn our investments into cash and thus affect cash available to make distributions to our stockholders. Lock-out provisions could impair our ability to take actions during the lock-out period that would otherwise be in the best interests of our stockholders, and therefore, might have an adverse impact on the value of our capital stock. In particular, lock-out provisions could preclude us from participating in major transactions that could result in a disposition of our assets or a change in control even though that disposition or change in control might be in the best interests of our stockholders.
Risks Associated with Debt Financing
We have significant debt, which could have important adverse consequences.
As of December 31, 2014, we had outstanding debt of approximately $386.9 million. This indebtedness could have important consequences, including:
if a property is mortgaged to secure payment of indebtedness, and if we are unable to meet our mortgage obligations, we could sustain a loss as a result of foreclosure on the mortgaged property;
our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions is increased; and
our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in business and industry conditions is limited.
The mortgages on our properties subject to secured debt and our Revolving Credit Facility contain customary restrictions, requirements and other limitations, as well as certain financial and operating covenants, including maintenance of certain financial ratios. Maintaining compliance with these provisions could limit our financial flexibility. A default in these provisions, if uncured, could require us to repay the indebtedness before the scheduled maturity date, which could adversely affect our liquidity and increase our financing costs.
We may be unable to renew, repay, or refinance our outstanding debt.
We are subject to the risk that indebtedness on our properties or our unsecured indebtedness will not be renewed, repaid, or refinanced when due or the terms of any renewal or refinancing will not be as favorable as the existing terms of such indebtedness. If we are unable to refinance our indebtedness on acceptable terms, or at all, we might be forced to dispose of one or more of the properties on disadvantageous terms, which might result in losses to us. Such losses could have a material adverse effect on us and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders and pay amounts due on our debt. Furthermore, if a property is mortgaged to secure payment of indebtedness and we are unable to meet mortgage payments, the mortgagee could foreclose on the property, appoint a receiver and exercise rights under an assignment of rents and leases, or pursue other remedies, all with a consequent loss of our revenues and asset value. Foreclosures could also create taxable income without accompanying cash proceeds, thereby hindering our ability to meet the REIT distribution requirements of the Code.
We plan to incur additional mortgage indebtedness and other borrowings, which may increase our business risks. We intend to acquire properties subject to existing financing or by borrowing new funds. In addition, we may incur or increase our mortgage debt by obtaining loans secured by selected, or by all of our, real properties to obtain funds to acquire additional real properties and/or make capital improvements to properties. We also may borrow funds, if necessary, to satisfy the requirement that we generally distribute to stockholders as dividends at least 90% of our annual REIT taxable income (excluding net capital gain), or otherwise as is necessary or advisable to assure that we maintain our qualification as a REIT.
We intend to incur mortgage debt on a particular property only if we believe the property's projected cash flow is sufficient to service the mortgage debt. However, if there is a shortfall in cash flow requiring us to use cash from other sources to make the mortgage payments on the property, then the amount available for distributions to stockholders may be affected. In addition, incurring mortgage debt increases the risk of loss since defaults on indebtedness secured by properties may result in foreclosure actions initiated by lenders and our loss of the property securing the loan which is in default. For tax purposes, a foreclosure of any of our properties would be treated as a sale of the property for a purchase price equal to the outstanding balance of the debt secured by the mortgage. If the outstanding balance of the debt secured by the mortgage exceeds our tax basis in the property, we would recognize taxable income on foreclosure, but would not receive any cash proceeds. We may, in some circumstances, give a guaranty on behalf of an entity that owns one or more of our properties. In these cases, we will be responsible to the lender for satisfaction of the debt if it is not paid by such entity. If any mortgages contain cross-collateralization or cross-default provisions, there is a risk that more than one property may be affected by a default.
Any mortgage debt which we place on properties may contain clauses providing for prepayment penalties. If a lender invokes these penalties upon the sale of a property or the prepayment of a mortgage on a property, the cost to us to sell the property could increase substantially, and may even be prohibitive. This could lead to a reduction in our income, which would reduce cash available for distribution to stockholders and may prevent us from borrowing more money.
We may incur additional indebtedness, which may harm our financial position and cash flow and potentially impact our ability to pay dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock and our Common Stock.
Our governing documents do not have limitations on the amount of leverage we may use. As of December 31, 2014, we and our subsidiaries had outstanding approximately $386.9 million of indebtedness. We may incur additional indebtedness and become more highly leveraged, which could harm our financial position and potentially limit our cash available to pay dividends due to debt covenant restrictions and/or resulting lower amounts of cash from operating activities. As a result, we may not have sufficient funds remaining to satisfy our dividend obligations relating to the Series A Preferred Stock and our Common Stock if we incur additional indebtedness.
Interest-only indebtedness may increase our risk of default and ultimately may reduce our funds available for distributions to our stockholders.
We also may finance our property acquisitions using interest-only mortgage indebtedness for all or a portion of the term. During the interest-only period, the amount of each scheduled payment will be less than that of a traditional amortizing mortgage loan. The principal balance of the mortgage loan will not be reduced (except in the case of prepayments) because there are no scheduled monthly payments of principal during this period. After the interest-only period, we will be required either to make scheduled payments of amortized principal and interest or to make a lump-sum or “balloon” payment at maturity. These required principal or balloon payments will increase the amount of our scheduled payments and may increase our risk of default under the related mortgage loan. If the mortgage loan has an adjustable interest rate, the amount of our scheduled payments also may increase
at a time of rising interest rates. Increased payments and substantial principal or balloon maturity payments or prepayment penalties will reduce the funds available for distribution to our stockholders because cash otherwise available for distribution will be required to pay principal and interest associated with these mortgage loans. While our intention and practice has been to place interest rate caps on our floating rate mortgages, these caps will be at rates above current rates.
We may change our operational policies (including our investment guidelines, strategies and policies and the targeted assets in which we invest) with the approval of our board of directors but without stockholder consent or notice at any time, which may adversely affect the market value of our capital stock, our results of operations and cash flows and our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders.
Our board of directors determines our operational policies and may amend or revise our policies (including our policies with respect to the targeted assets in which we invest, dispositions, growth, operations, indebtedness, capitalization and dividends) or approve transactions that deviate from these policies at any time, without a vote of, or notice to, our stockholders. We may change our investment guidelines and our strategy at any time with the approval of our board of directors, but without the consent of, or notice to, our stockholders, which could result in us making investments that are different in type from, and possibly riskier than, the investments we currently invest in.
If mortgage debt is unavailable at reasonable rates, it may make it difficult for us to finance or refinance properties, which could reduce the number of properties we can acquire, our cash flows from operations and the amount of cash distributions we can make.
If we are unable to borrow monies on terms and conditions that we find acceptable, we likely will have to reduce the number of properties we can purchase, and the return on the properties we do purchase may be lower. If we place mortgage debt on properties, we run the risk of being unable to refinance the properties when the debt becomes due or of being unable to refinance on favorable terms. If interest rates are higher when we refinance the properties, our income could be reduced. As such, we may find it difficult, costly or impossible to refinance indebtedness which is maturing. If any of these events occur, our interest cost would increase as a result, which would reduce our cash flow. This, in turn, could reduce cash available for distribution to our stockholders and may hinder our ability to raise capital by issuing more stock or borrowing more money. If we are unable to refinance maturing indebtedness with respect to a particular property and are unable to pay the same, then the lender may foreclose on such property.
Financial and real estate market disruptions could adversely affect the multifamily property sector's ability to obtain financing from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which could adversely impact us.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are major sources of financing for the multifamily sector and both have historically experienced losses due to credit-related expenses, securities impairments and fair value losses. If new U.S. government regulations (i) heighten Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's underwriting standards, (ii) adversely affect interest rates, or (iii) reduce the amount of capital they can make available to the multifamily sector, it could reduce or remove entirely a vital resource for multifamily financing. Any potential reduction in loans, guarantees and credit-enhancement arrangements from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could jeopardize the effectiveness of the multifamily sector's available financing and decrease the amount of available liquidity and credit that could be used to acquire and diversify our portfolio of multifamily assets.
Volatility in and regulation of the commercial mortgage-backed securities market has limited and may continue to impact the pricing of secured debt.
As a result of the past crisis in the residential mortgage-backed securities markets, the most recent global recession and some concerns over the ability to refinance or repay existing commercial mortgage-backed securities as they come due, liquidity previously provided by the commercial mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations markets has significantly decreased. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act imposes significant new regulations related to the mortgage backed securities industry and market participants, which has contributed to uncertainty in the market. The volatility in the commercial mortgage-backed securities market could result in the following adverse effects on our incurrence of secured debt, which could have a materially negative impact on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flow and cash available for distribution:
reduced loan to value ratios and resulting borrower proceeds; and
higher amortization and reserve requirements.
The Company could be negatively impacted by the condition of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and by changes in government support for multi-family housing.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are a major source of financing for multi-family real estate in the United States. The Company utilizes loan programs sponsored by these entities as a key source of capital to finance its growth and its operations. In September 2008, the U.S. government assumed control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and placed both companies into a government conservatorship under the Federal Housing Finance Agency. In December 2009, the U.S. Treasury increased its financial support for these conservatorships. In February 2011, the Obama administration released its blueprint for winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for reforming the system of housing finance. In June 2013, a bipartisan group of senators proposed an overhaul of the housing finance system which would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within five years; in August 2013, President Obama announced his support for this legislation. A decision by the U.S. government to eliminate or downscale Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or to reduce government support for multi-family housing more generally may adversely affect interest rates, capital availability, development of multi-family communities and the value of multi-family residential real estate and, as a result, may adversely affect the Company and its growth and operations.
High levels of debt or increases in interest rates could increase the amount of our loan payments, which could reduce the cash available for distribution to stockholders.
As mentioned above, we incur and expect to continue to incur debt. Higher debt levels would cause us to incur higher interest charges, would result in higher debt service payments and could be accompanied by restrictive covenants. Interest we pay could reduce cash available for distribution to stockholders. Additionally, if we incur variable rate debt, increases in interest rates would increase our interest costs, which would reduce our cash flow and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders. If we need to repay existing debt during periods of rising interest rates, we could be required to liquidate one or more of our investments in properties at times which may not permit realization of the maximum return on such investments and could result in a loss.
Lenders may require us to enter into restrictive covenants relating to our operations, which could limit our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
In providing financing to us, a lender may impose restrictions on us that affect our ability to incur additional debt, make certain investments, reduce liquidity below certain levels, make distributions to our stockholders and otherwise affect our distribution and operating policies. In general, we expect our loan agreements to restrict our ability to encumber or otherwise transfer our interest in the respective property without the prior consent of the lender. Such loan documents may contain other negative covenants that may limit our ability to discontinue insurance coverage, replace our Manager or impose other limitations. Any such restriction or limitation may have an adverse effect on our operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders. Further, such restrictions could make it difficult for us to satisfy the requirements necessary to maintain our qualification as a REIT.
Risks Related to Our Real Estate-Related Investments
Our investments in, or originations of, senior debt or mezzanine debt and our investments in membership or partnership interests in entities that own real estate assets will be subject to the specific risks relating to the particular company and to the general risks of investing in real estate-related loans and securities, which may result in significant losses.
We may invest in, or originate, senior debt or mezzanine debt and invest in membership or partnership interests in entities that own real estate assets. These investments will involve special risks relating to the particular company, including its financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, business and prospects. In particular, the debt securities may not be collateralized and also may be subordinated to the entity's other obligations. We are likely to invest in debt securities of companies that are not rated or are rated non-investment grade by one or more rating agencies. Investments that are not rated or are rated non-investment grade have a higher risk of default than investment grade rated assets and therefore may result in losses to us. We have not adopted any limit on such investments.
These investments also will subject us to the risks inherent with real estate investments referred to previously, including the risks described with respect to multifamily properties and other real estate-related investments and similar risks, including:
risks of delinquency and foreclosure, and risks of loss in the event thereof;
the dependence upon the successful operation of, and net income from, real property;
risks generally incident to interests in real property; and
risks specific to the type and use of a particular property.
These risks may adversely affect the value of our investments in entities that own real estate assets and the ability of our borrowers thereof to make principal and interest payments in a timely manner, or at all, and could result in significant losses.
Our mezzanine loan assets will involve greater risks of loss than senior loans secured by income-producing properties.
We may originate (in connection with a forward purchase or option to purchase contract or otherwise) or acquire mezzanine loans in entities that own or are developing multifamily properties or other real estate-related investments which take the form of subordinated loans secured by second mortgages on the underlying property or loans secured by a pledge of the ownership interests of either the entity owning the property or a pledge of the ownership interests of the entity that owns the interest in the entity owning the property. These types of assets involve a higher degree of risk than long-term senior mortgage lending secured by income-producing real property because the loan may become unsecured as a result of foreclosure by the senior lender and because it is in second position and there may not be adequate equity in the property. In the event of a bankruptcy of the entity providing the pledge of its ownership interests as security, we may not have full recourse to the assets of such entity, or the assets of the entity may not be sufficient to satisfy our mezzanine loan. If a borrower defaults on our mezzanine loan or debt senior to our loan, or in the event of a borrower bankruptcy, our mezzanine loan will be satisfied only after the senior debt. We may be unable to enforce guaranties of payment and/or performance given as security for some mezzanine loans. As a result, we may not recover some or all of our initial expenditure. Our mezzanine loans partially finance the construction of real estate projects and so involve additional risks inherent in the construction process, such as adherence to budgets and construction schedules. In addition, mezzanine loans may have higher loan-to-value ratios than conventional mortgage loans, resulting in less equity in the property and increasing the risk of loss of principal. Significant losses related to our mezzanine loans would result in operating losses for us and may limit our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
Risks Related to our Investments in Multifamily Communities
We face competition from other acquirers of apartment communities for investment opportunities, both of which may limit our profitability and returns to our stockholders.
The competition for apartment communities may significantly increase the price we must pay for assets we seek to acquire, and our competitors may succeed in acquiring those assets themselves. In addition, our potential acquisition targets may find our competitors to be more attractive because they may have greater resources, may be willing to pay more for the properties or may have a more compatible operating philosophy. In particular, larger apartment REITs may enjoy significant competitive advantages that result from, among other things, a lower cost of capital and enhanced operating efficiencies. In addition, the number of entities and the amount of funds competing for suitable investment properties may increase. This competition will result in increased demand for these assets and therefore increase the prices paid for them. Because of an increased interest in single-property acquisitions among tax-motivated individual purchasers, we may pay higher prices if we purchase single properties in comparison with portfolio acquisitions. If we pay higher prices for our properties, our business, financial condition and results of operations and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders may be materially and adversely affected.
Economic conditions may adversely affect the multifamily real estate market and our income.
A multifamily property's income and value may be adversely affected by international, national and regional economic conditions. Currently, although the U.S. real estate market has shown recent signs of improvement, international markets are experiencing increased levels of volatility due to a combination of many factors, including decreasing values of home prices and commercial real estate, limited access to credit markets, increased energy costs, high unemployment rates, the debt crisis in the United States and Europe, and recovery from the recent national and global recession. If such conditions persist, the real estate industry may experience a significant decline in business caused by a reduction in overall renters. The current weak yet stabilizing economy and persistently high unemployment rates also may have an adverse effect on our operations if they cause the residents occupying the multifamily properties we acquire to cease making rent payments to us.
In addition, local real estate conditions such as an oversupply of properties or a reduction in demand for properties, availability of "for sale" properties, competition from other similar properties, our ability to provide adequate maintenance, insurance and management services, increased operating costs (including real estate taxes), the attractiveness and location of the property and changes in market rental rates may adversely affect a property's income and value. The continued rise in energy costs
could result in higher operating costs, which may adversely affect our results from operations. In addition, local conditions in the markets in which we own or intend to own properties may significantly affect occupancy or rental rates at such properties. The risks that may adversely affect conditions in those markets include: layoffs, business closings, relocations of significant local employers and other events negatively impacting local employment rates and the local economy; an oversupply of, or a lack of demand for, apartments; a decline in household formation; the inability or unwillingness of residents to pay rent increases; and rent control, rent stabilization and other housing laws, which could prevent us from raising rents.
We cannot predict if the current recovery in the multifamily real estate market will continue. Therefore, to the extent that there are adverse economic conditions in the multifamily market, such conditions could result in a reduction of our income and cash available for distributions and thus affect the amount of distributions we can make to our stockholders.
We must comply with the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, or the FHAA, and failure to comply may affect cash available for distributions.
We must comply with the FHAA, which requires that apartment communities first occupied after March 13, 1991 be accessible to handicapped residents and visitors. Compliance with the FHAA could require removal of structural barriers to handicapped access in a community, including the interiors of apartment units covered under the FHAA. Recently there has been heightened scrutiny of multifamily housing communities for compliance with the requirements of the FHAA and the ADA and an increasing number of substantial enforcement actions and private lawsuits have been brought against apartment communities to ensure compliance with these requirements. Noncompliance with the FHAA could result in the imposition of fines, awards of damages to private litigants, payment of attorneys' fees and other costs to plaintiffs, substantial litigation costs and substantial costs of remediation.
Short-term apartment leases expose us to the effects of declining market rent, which could adversely impact our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
We expect that most of our apartment leases will be for terms of thirteen months or less. Because these leases generally permit the residents to leave at the end of the lease term without any penalty, our rental revenues may be impacted by declines in market rents more quickly than if our leases were for longer terms.
We will face competition from other apartment communities and the affordability of single-family homes, which may limit our profitability and the returns to our stockholders.
The multifamily apartment industry is highly competitive. This competition could reduce occupancy levels and revenues at our multifamily communities, which would adversely affect our operations. Our competitors include those in other apartment communities both in the immediate vicinity where our multifamily communities will be located and the broader geographic market. Such competition also may result in overbuilding of apartment communities, causing an increase in the number of apartment units available and potentially decreasing our occupancy and apartment rental rates. We also may be required to expend substantial sums to attract new residents. The resale value of the property could be diminished because the market value of a particular property will depend principally upon the value of the leases of such property. In addition, increases in operating costs due to inflation may not be offset by increased apartment rental rates. Further, costs associated with real estate investment, such as utilities and maintenance costs, generally are not reduced when circumstances cause a reduction in income from the investment. These events would cause a significant decrease in cash flow and could cause us to reduce the amount of distributions to our stockholders.
Furthermore, apartment communities we acquire most likely compete, or will compete, with numerous housing alternatives in attracting residents, including single- and multi-family homes available to rent or purchase. Competitive housing in a particular area and the increasing affordability of single- and multi-family homes available to rent or buy caused by declining mortgage interest rates and government programs to promote home ownership could adversely affect our ability to retain our residents, lease apartment units and increase or maintain rental rates. Additionally, the current amount of foreclosed homes available at very attractive prices, along with the low residential mortgage interest rates currently available and government sponsored programs to promote home ownership, has resulted in a record high level on the National Association of Realtor's Housing Affordability Index, an index used to measure whether or not a typical family could qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home. The foregoing factors may encourage potential renters to purchase residences rather than renting an apartment, thereby causing a decline in the pool of available renters for our properties.
Risks Related to our Retail Investments
Downturns in the retail industry likely will have a direct adverse impact on our grocery-anchored necessity retail revenues and cash flow.
Our retail properties currently owned and planned for acquisition consist primarily of grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers. Our retail performance therefore is generally linked to economic conditions in the market for retail space. The market for retail space could be adversely affected by any of the following:
weakness in the national, regional and local economies, which could adversely impact consumer spending and retail sales and in turn tenant demand for space and could lead to increased store closings;
changes in market rental rates;
changes in demographics (including the number of households and average household income) surrounding our shopping centers;
adverse financial conditions for grocery anchors and other retail, service, medical or restaurant tenants;
continued consolidation in the retail and grocery sector;
excess amount of retail space in our markets;
reduction in the demand by tenants to occupy our shopping centers as a result of reduced consumer demand for certain retail formats;
the growth of super-centers and warehouse club retailers, such as those operated by Wal-Mart and Costco, and their adverse effect on traditional grocery chains;
the impact of an increase in energy costs on consumers and its consequential effect on the number of shopping visits to our centers; and
consequences of any armed conflict involving, or terrorist attack against, the United States.
To the extent that any of these conditions occur, they are likely to impact market rents for retail space, occupancy in our retail properties, our ability to sell, acquire or develop retail properties, and our cash available for distributions to stockholders.
Competition may impede our ability to renew retail leases or re-let retail spaces as leases expire, which could harm our business and operating results.
We face competition from similar retail centers and other types of shopping venues within our market areas that may affect our ability to renew leases or re-let space as leases expire at our grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers. Certain national retail chain bankruptcies and resulting store closings/lease disaffirmations have generally resulted in increased available retail space which, in turn, has resulted in increased competitive pressure to renew retail tenant leases upon expiration and to find new retail tenants for vacant space at such properties. In addition, any new competitive retail properties that are developed within the market areas of our existing grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers may result in increased competition for customer traffic and creditworthy retail tenants. Increased competition for retail tenants may require us to make tenant and/or capital improvements to retail properties beyond those that we would otherwise have planned to make. Any unbudgeted tenant and/or capital improvements we undertake may reduce cash that would otherwise be available for distributions to our stockholders. Ultimately, if we are unable to renew leases or re-let space as retail leases expire or renew or re-let such spaces at lower rental rates, our business and operations could be negatively impacted.
Loss of revenues from significant retail tenants could reduce distributions to our stockholders.
For our currently owned and planned acquisitions of grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers, we derive or will derive significant revenues from anchor tenants such as Kroger, Publix, and Bi-Lo.
Distributions to our stockholders could be adversely affected by the loss of revenues in the event a significant retail tenant:
becomes bankrupt or insolvent;
experiences a downturn in its business;
materially defaults on its leases;
does not renew its leases as they expire; or
renews at lower rental rates.
Vacated anchor space, including space owned by the anchor, can also reduce rental revenues generated by the shopping center because of the loss of the departed anchor tenant's customer drawing power. If significant tenants vacate a property, then other tenants may be entitled to terminate their leases at the property or pay reduced rent.
We may be unable to collect balances due from retail tenants in bankruptcy.
Although minimum rent is supported by lease contracts of varying term, retail tenants who file bankruptcy have the legal right to reject any or all of their leases and close related stores. In the event that a retail tenant with a significant number of leases in our shopping centers files bankruptcy and rejects its leases, we could experience a significant reduction in our retail revenues and may not be able to collect all pre-petition amounts owed by that party.
Our Common Area Maintenance (“CAM”) contributions may not allow us to recover the majority of our
operating expenses from retail tenants.
CAM costs typically include allocable energy costs, repairs, maintenance and capital improvements to common areas, janitorial services, administrative, property and liability insurance costs and security costs. The amount of CAM charges we bill to our retail tenants may not allow us to recover or pass on all these operating expenses to tenants, which may reduce operating cash flow from our retail properties.
Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations
If we fail to maintain our qualification as a REIT, we will be subjected to tax on our income and the amount of distributions we make to our stockholders will be less.
We elected to be a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes, commencing with our tax year ended December 31, 2011. A REIT generally is not taxed at the corporate level on income and gains it distributes to its stockholders on a timely basis.
If we were to fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year:
we would not be allowed to deduct our distributions to our stockholders when computing our taxable income;
we would be subject to U.S. federal income tax (including any applicable alternative minimum tax) on our taxable income at regular corporate rates and possibly increased state and local taxes;
we could be disqualified from being taxed as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which qualification was lost, unless entitled to relief under certain statutory provisions;
we would have less cash to make distributions to our stockholders; and
we might be required to borrow additional funds or sell some of our assets in order to pay corporate tax obligations we may incur as a result of our disqualification.
Although we intend to operate in a manner intended to qualify as a REIT, it is possible that future economic, market, legal, tax or other considerations may cause our board of directors to determine to revoke our REIT election. Even if we qualify as a REIT, we expect to incur some taxes, such as state and local taxes, taxes imposed on certain subsidiaries and potential U.S. federal excise taxes.
We may be subject to adverse legislative or regulatory tax changes that could increase our tax liability, reduce our operating
flexibility and reduce the market price of our Common Stock.
In recent years, numerous legislative, judicial and administrative changes have been made in the provisions of U.S. federal income tax laws applicable to REITs. Additional changes to the tax laws are likely to continue to occur. Although REITs generally receive better tax treatment than entities taxed as regular corporations, it is possible that future legislation would result in a REIT having fewer tax advantages, and it could become more advantageous for a company that invests in real estate to elect to be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a regular corporation. As a result, our charter provides our board of directors with the power, under certain circumstances, to revoke or otherwise terminate the REIT election we have made and cause us to be taxed as a regular corporation, without the vote of our stockholders. Our board of directors has fiduciary duties to us and our stockholders and could only cause such changes in our tax treatment if it determines in good faith that such changes are in the best interest of our stockholders.
If the Operating Partnership fails to maintain its status as a partnership, its income may be subject to taxation.
We intend to maintain the status of the Operating Partnership as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. However, if the IRS were to successfully challenge the status of the Operating Partnership as a partnership for such purposes, it would be taxable as a corporation. In such event, this would reduce the amount of distributions that the Operating Partnership could make to us. This also would result in our losing REIT status, and becoming subject to a corporate level tax on our own income, and would substantially reduce our cash available to pay distributions and the yield to our stockholders. In addition, if any of the partnerships or limited liability companies through which the Operating Partnership owns its properties, in whole or in part, loses its characterization as a partnership and is not otherwise disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes, it would be subject to taxation as a corporation, thereby reducing distributions to the Operating Partnership. Such a recharacterization of an underlying property owner could also threaten our ability to maintain our REIT qualification.
Our investments in certain debt instruments may cause us to recognize income for U.S. federal income tax purposes even though no cash payments have been received on the debt instruments, and certain modifications of such debt by us could cause the modified debt to not qualify as a good REIT asset, thereby jeopardizing our REIT qualification.
Our taxable income may substantially exceed our net income as determined based on GAAP, or differences in timing between the recognition of taxable income and the actual receipt of cash may occur. For example, we may acquire assets, including debt securities requiring us to accrue original issue discount, or OID, or recognize market discount income, that generate taxable income in excess of economic income or in advance of the corresponding cash flow from the assets. In addition, if a borrower with respect to a particular debt instrument encounters financial difficulty rendering it unable to pay stated interest as due, we may nonetheless be required to continue to recognize the unpaid interest as taxable income. We may also be required under the terms of the indebtedness that we incur to use cash received from interest payments to make principal payment on that indebtedness, with the effect that we will recognize income but will not have a corresponding amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders.
As a result of the foregoing, we may generate less cash flow than taxable income in a particular year and find it difficult or impossible to meet the REIT distribution requirements in certain circumstances. In such circumstances, we may be required to (1) sell assets in adverse market conditions, (2) borrow on unfavorable terms, (3) distribute amounts that would otherwise be used for future acquisitions or used to repay debt, or (4) make a taxable distribution of our shares of Common Stock as part of a distribution in which stockholders may elect to receive shares of Common Stock or (subject to a limit measured as a percentage of the total distribution) cash, in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements.
The failure of a mezzanine loan to qualify as a real estate asset could adversely affect our ability to maintain our qualification as a REIT.
In general, in order for a loan to be treated as a qualifying real estate asset producing qualifying income for purposes of the REIT asset and income tests, the loan must be secured by real property. We may originate (in connection with a forward purchase or option to purchase contract) or acquire mezzanine loans that are not directly secured by real property but instead secured by equity interests in a partnership or limited liability company that directly or indirectly owns real property. In Revenue Procedure 2003-65, the IRS provided a safe harbor pursuant to which a mezzanine loan that is not secured by real estate would, if it meets each of the requirements contained in the Revenue Procedure, be treated by the IRS as a qualifying real estate asset. Although the Revenue Procedure provides a safe harbor on which taxpayers may rely, it does not prescribe rules of substantive tax law and in many cases it may not be possible for us to meet all the requirements of the safe harbor. We cannot provide assurance that any mezzanine loan in which we invest would be treated as a qualifying asset producing qualifying income for REIT qualification purposes. If any such loan fails either the REIT income or asset tests, we may be disqualified as a REIT.
Furthermore, if we participate in any appreciation in value of real property securing a mortgage loan and the IRS characterizes such “shared appreciation mortgage” as equity rather than debt, for example, because of a large interest in cash flow of the borrower, we may be required to recognize income, gains and other items with respect to the real property for U.S. federal income tax purposes. This could affect our ability to qualify as a REIT.
The share ownership restrictions of the Code for REITs and the 9.8% share ownership limit in our charter may inhibit market activity in our shares of stock and restrict our business combination opportunities.
In order to maintain our qualification as a REIT, five or fewer individuals, as defined in the Code, may not own, actually or constructively, more than 50% in value of our issued and outstanding shares of stock at any time during the last half of each taxable year, other than the first year for which a REIT election is made. Attribution rules in the Code determine if any individual
or entity actually or constructively owns our shares of stock under this requirement. Additionally, at least 100 persons must beneficially own our shares of stock during at least 335 days of a taxable year for each taxable year, other than the first year for which a REIT election is made. To help insure that we meet these tests, among other purposes, our charter restricts the acquisition and ownership of our shares of stock.
Our charter, with certain exceptions, authorizes our directors to take such actions as are necessary and desirable to preserve our qualification as a REIT while we so qualify. Unless exempted by our board of directors, for so long as we qualify as a REIT, our charter prohibits, among other limitations on ownership and transfer of shares of our stock, any person from beneficially or constructively owning (applying certain attribution rules under the Code) more than 9.8% in value of the aggregate of our outstanding shares of stock or more than 9.8% (in value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive) of any class or series of our shares of stock. Our board of directors may not grant an exemption from these restrictions to any proposed transferee whose ownership in excess of 9.8% of the value of our outstanding shares would result in the termination of our qualification as a REIT. These restrictions on transferability and ownership will not apply, however, if our board of directors determines that it is no longer in our best interest to continue to qualify as a REIT or that compliance with the restrictions is no longer required in order for us to continue to so qualify as a REIT.
These ownership limits could delay or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for our stock or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders.
Unresolved Staff Comments
At December 31, 2014, we were the sole owner of the following ten multifamily communities, which comprise our multifamily segment:
Year construction completed
Number of Units
Average Unit Size (sq. ft.)
Enclave at Vista Ridge
Kansas City, KS
Our communities are equipped with an array of amenities believed to be sufficient to position Preferred Apartment Communities as attractive residential rental options within each local market. Such amenities can include, but are not limited to, one or more swimming pools, a clubhouse with a business center, tennis courts and laundry facilities. Unit-specific amenities can include high-end appliances, tile kitchen backsplashes, washer and dryer hookups and ceiling fans. Resident lease terms generally range from six to eighteen months.
At December 31, 2014, we were the sole owner of the following ten grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers, which comprise our retail segment:
Percent leased (2)
Parkway Town Centre
Spring Hill Plaza
(1) Gross leasable area, or GLA, represents the total amount of property square footage that can be leased to tenants.
(2) Percent leased represents the percentage of GLA that is leased, including lease agreements that have been signed which have not yet commenced.
All of our grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers were acquired during the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2014. Our centers are all located in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and South Carolina.
Our retail leases have original lease terms which generally range from three to seven years for spaces under 5,000 square feet and from 10 to 20 years for spaces over 10,000 square feet. Anchor leases generally contain renewal options for one or more additional periods whereas in-line tenant leases may or may not have renewal options. With the exception of anchor leases, the leases generally contain contractual increases in base rent rates over the lease term and the base rent rates for renewal periods are generally based upon the rental rate for the primary term, which may be adjusted for inflation or market conditions. Anchor leases generally do not contain contractual increases in base rent rates over the lease term and the renewal periods. Our leases generally provide for the payment of fixed monthly rentals and may also provide for the payment of additional rent based upon a percentage of the tenant’s gross sales above a certain threshold level (“percentage rent”). Our leases also generally include tenant reimbursements for common area expenses, insurance, and real estate taxes. Utilities are generally paid by tenants either directly through separate meters or through payment of tenant reimbursements. The foregoing general description of the characteristics of the leases in our centers is not intended to describe all leases and material variations in lease terms may exist.
Our largest tenants are our anchor tenants, which comprised 67.7% of our portfolio GLA at December 31, 2014. Our in-line tenants represent general retail, consumer services, healthcare providers, and restaurants; none of our in-line tenants individually constitute more than 3.5% of portfolio GLA as of December 31, 2014. The following table summarizes our anchor tenants by GLA and ABR as of December 31, 2014:
% of GLA within retail portfolio
The following table summarizes contractual lease expirations for the next ten years and thereafter, assuming no tenants exercise their renewal options:
Total retail portfolio
Number of leases
Percent of leased GLA
Month to month
Details regarding the mortgage debt on our properties may be found in the consolidated financial statements within this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our corporate headquarters is located at 3284 Northside Parkway NW, Suite 150, Atlanta, Georgia 30327.
Neither we nor our subsidiaries nor, to our knowledge, our Manager is currently subject to any legal proceedings that we or our Manager consider to be material. To our knowledge, none of our communities are currently subject to any legal proceeding that we consider material.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our Common Stock is traded on the NYSE MKT (formerly known as the NYSE Amex) exchange under the symbol "APTS." The following table sets forth the historical quarterly price data pertaining to our Common Stock, and per-share dividend distributions declared on our Common Stock for 2013 and 2014:
As of December 31, 2014, there were approximately 8,285 holders of record of our Common Stock. This total excludes an unknown number of holders of 1,243,350 shares of Common Stock in street name at non-responding brokerage firms.
We have declared and subsequently paid cash dividends on shares of our Common Stock for each quarter since our IPO in 2011. Since we have elected to be taxed as a REIT effective with our tax year ended December 31, 2011, we are required to, and intend to, distribute at least 90% of our REIT taxable income to maintain such status. Dividends are declared with the action and approval of our board of directors and any future distributions are made at our board of director's discretion. Our dividend paying capacity is primarily dependent upon cash generated from our multifamily communities, interest income on our real estate loans and cash needs for capital expenditures, both foreseen and unforeseen, among other factors. Risks inherent in our ability to pay dividends are further described in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Equity Compensation Plan
The following table sets forth information as of December 31, 2014 regarding our equity compensation plans and our Common Stock authorized for issuance under the plans.
Number of securities to be issued upon exercise of outstanding options, warrants and rights
Weighted-average exercise price of outstanding options, warrants and rights
Number of securities remaining available for future issuance under equity compensation plans
Equity compensation plans approved by stockholders
Equity compensation plans not approved by stockholders
Includes our 2011 Stock Incentive Plan, as amended, or the 2011 Plan, that authorized a maximum of 1,317,500 shares of our Common Stock for issue under the 2011 Plan. Awards may be made in the form of issuances of Common Stock, restricted stock, stock appreciation rights, performance shares, incentive stock options, non-qualified stock options, or other forms. Eligibility criteria, amounts and all terms governing awards pursuant to the 2011 Plan, such as vesting periods and voting and dividend rights on unvested awards, are determined by our the compensation committee of our board of directors.
Represents 145,011 Class A Units of our Operating Partnership, or Class A Units, which are exchangeable for shares of our Common Stock on a one-for-one basis, or cash, as elected by us.
Represents the warrant to purchase up to 150,000 shares of our Common Stock that was issued to International Assets Advisory, LLC, or IAA, as partial compensation for services rendered in connection with our IPO. The exercise price is $12.50 per share, which is 125% of the gross IPO price of $10.00 per share. The warrant became exercisable as of September 28, 2011 and expires on March 31, 2015.
Shareholder Return Performance Graph
The following stock performance graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filings under the Exchange Act, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate it by reference into such filing.
The chart above presents comparative investment results of a hypothetical initial investment of $1,000 on April 1, 2011 in: (i) our Common Stock, ticker symbol "APTS;" (ii) the MSCI U. S. REIT Index, an index of equity REIT constituent companies that derive the majority of their revenue from real estate rental activities; and (iii) the S&P Small Cap 600 Index, a broad equity index comprised of constituent companies with capitalization levels that approximate ours. The total return results assume automatic reinvestment of dividends and no transaction costs.
Value of initial investment on:
APTS Common Stock
MSCI U. S. REIT Index
S&P Small Cap 600 Index
Sales of Unregistered Securities
There were no previously unreported sales of unregistered securities by the Company during the fiscal year ended 2014.
Use of Proceeds from Sales of Registered Securities
Effective January 1, 2014, we amended our investment guidelines to increase our maximum investment in other real estate related investments, such as grocery-anchored necessity retail properties from 10% to 20%. Certain proceeds from our Registration Statement (File No. 333-176604), our Follow-On Series A Registration Statement (File No. 333-183355) and our Shelf Registration Statement (File No. 333-188677) have been invested in such grocery-anchored necessity retail properties.
Selected Financial Data
The following table sets forth selected financial and operating data on a historical basis and should be read in conjunction with the section entitled “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Twelve months ended December 31,
Net income (loss)
Net Income (loss) per share of Common Stock
available to common stockholders,
basic and diluted
Weighted average number of shares of Common
Stock outstanding, basic and diluted
Cash dividends declared per share of Common Stock
Long term debt
Revolving credit facility
Series A Preferred Stock (par value outstanding)
Total equity (deficit)
Cash flows provided by (used in):
Funds from operations (1)
Normalized funds from operations (1)
Adjusted funds from operations (1)
(1) See "Reconciliation of Funds From Operations Attributable to Common Stockholders and Unitholders, Normalized Funds From Operations Attributable to Common Stockholders and Unitholders, and Adjusted Funds From Operations Attributable to Common Stockholders and Unitholders to Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Common Stockholders" and definitions of Non-GAAP Measures in the Results of Operations section within "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
(2) Funds From Operations, Normalized Funds From Operations, and Adjusted Funds From Operations are not presented for the year ended December 31, 2010 since the Company commenced its business operations effective with its initial public offering in April 2011 and the results would therefore not be meaningful.
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
During 2014, we acquired four multifamily communities located in the Kansas City, Dallas, Nashville, and Houston markets, representing an aggregate of 1,397 units, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $181.3 million. We now own 3,326 multifamily units, with an additional potential 3,843 units under construction through our mezzanine loan program. There can be no assurance that these acquisitions in fact will occur.
During 2014, we acquired ten grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers with an approximate aggregate 694,000 square feet of gross leasable area located in the Nashville, Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, Tampa, Columbus, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina markets for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $118.2 million.
In connection with these retail acquisitions, our current strategy is to aggregate a critical mass of grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping center assets within New Market Properties, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of our operating partnership, after which we would expect to spin off, sell or distribute New Market Properties, LLC into an independent, publicly traded REIT as soon as we believe it has reached sufficient scale and market conditions warrant. Moreover, there is an expectation that we will continue to own an investment in New Market Properties, LLC following such spin off, sale or distribution. There can be no assurance that any such spin off, sale or distribution will ever occur.
As of December 31, 2014, we had cumulatively issued 193,334 Units and collected net proceeds of approximately $174.7 million from our Primary Series A Offering and our Follow-On Offering.
During the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2014, we issued approximately 5.9 million shares of Common Stock pursuant to our at the market offering, or ATM Offering, through MLV & Co. LLC as our sales agent under our Shelf Registration Statement and collected net proceeds of approximately $49.0 million.
Certain statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including, without limitation, statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "intends," "expects," "assumes," "trends" and similar expressions, constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based upon our current plans, expectations and projections about future events. However, such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the following:
• our business and investment strategy;
• our projected operating results;
actions and initiatives of the U.S. Government and changes to U.S. Government policies and the execution and impact of these actions, initiatives and policies;
• the state of the U.S. economy generally or in specific geographic areas;
• economic trends and economic recoveries;
our ability to obtain and maintain financing arrangements, including through the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or Freddie Mac;
• financing and advance rates for our target assets;
• our expected leverage;
• changes in the values of our assets;
• our expected portfolio of assets;
• our expected investments;
• interest rate mismatches between our target assets and our borrowings used to fund such investments;
• changes in interest rates and the market value of our target assets;
• changes in prepayment rates on our target assets;
• effects of hedging instruments on our target assets;
• rates of default or decreased recovery rates on our target assets;
• the degree to which our hedging strategies may or may not protect us from interest rate volatility;
• impact of and changes in governmental regulations, tax law and rates, accounting guidance and similar matters;
• our ability to maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, for U.S. federal income tax purposes;
• our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended;
• availability of investment opportunities in mortgage-related and real estate-related investments and securities;
• availability of qualified personnel;
• estimates relating to our ability to make distributions to our stockholders in the future;
• our understanding of our competition;
• market trends in our industry, interest rates, real estate values, the debt securities markets or the general economy;
weakness in the national, regional and local economies, which could adversely impact consumer spending and retail sales and in turn tenant demand for space and could lead to increased store closings;
changes in market rental rates;
changes in demographics (including the number of households and average household income) surrounding our shopping centers;
adverse financial conditions for grocery anchors and other retail, service, medical or restaurant tenants;
continued consolidation in the retail and grocery sector;
excess amount of retail space in our markets;
reduction in the demand by tenants to occupy our shopping centers as a result of reduced consumer demand for certain retail formats;
the growth of super-centers and warehouse club retailers, such as those operated by Wal-Mart and Costco, and their adverse effect on traditional grocery chains;
our ability to aggregate a critical mass of grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers or to spin-off, sell or distribute them;
the impact of an increase in energy costs on consumers and its consequential effect on the number of shopping visits to our centers; and
consequences of any armed conflict involving, or terrorist attack against, the United States.
Forward-looking statements are found throughout "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The reader should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this report. Except as required under the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, we do not have any intention or obligation to publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect unforeseen or other events after the date of this report. The forward-looking statements should be read in light of the risk factors indicated in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in section 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 and as may be supplemented by any amendments to our risk factors in our subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other reports filed with the SEC, which are accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
The following discussion and analysis provides information that we believe is relevant to an assessment and understanding of our results of operations and financial position. This discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We are an externally managed Maryland corporation formed primarily to acquire and operate multifamily properties in select targeted markets throughout the United States. As part of our business strategy, we may enter into forward purchase contracts or purchase options for to-be-built multifamily communities and we may make bridge and mezzanine loans, provide deposit arrangements, or provide performance assurances, as may be necessary or appropriate, in connection with the construction of multifamily communities and other properties. As a secondary strategy, we may acquire or originate senior mortgage loans, subordinate loans or mezzanine debt secured by interests in multifamily properties, membership or partnership interests in multifamily properties and other multifamily related assets and invest not more than 20% of our assets in other real estate related investments such as grocery-anchored necessity retail properties, as determined by our Manager as appropriate for us.
We seek to generate returns for our stockholders by taking advantage of the current environment in the real estate market and the United States economy by acquiring multifamily assets and shopping centers in our targeted markets. The current economic environment still provides many challenges for new development, which provides opportunity for current multifamily product to potentially enjoy stable occupancy rates and rising rental rates as the overall economy continues to grow. As the real estate market and economy stabilize, we intend to employ efficient management techniques to grow income and create asset value.
As market conditions change over time, we intend to adjust our investment strategy to adapt to such changes as appropriate. We continue to believe there are abundant opportunities among our target assets that currently present attractive risk-return profiles. However, in order to capitalize on the investment opportunities that may be present in the various other points of an economic cycle, we may expand or change our investment strategy and target assets. We believe that the diversification of the portfolio of assets that we intend to acquire, our ability to acquire and manage our target assets, and the flexibility of our strategy will position us to generate attractive total returns for our stockholders in a variety of market conditions.
We elected to be taxed as a REIT under the Code effective with our tax year ended December 31, 2011. We also intend to operate our business in a manner that will permit us to maintain our status as a REIT and our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act. We have and will continue to conduct substantially all of our operations through our Operating Partnership in which we owned an approximate 99% interest as of December 31, 2014. New Market Properties, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Operating Partnership, owns and conducts the business of our grocery-anchored necessity retail properties.
We believe continued, albeit potentially sporadic, improvement in the United States' economy will continue in 2015, with continued job growth and improvements in consumer confidence. We believe a growing economy, improved job market and increased consumer confidence should help create favorable conditions for in the multifamily sector. If the economy continues to improve, we expect current occupancy rates generally to remain stable, on an annual basis, as the current level of occupancy nationwide will be difficult to improve on measurably. The pipeline of new multifamily construction, although increasing, has been relatively measured in most of our markets. Nationally, new multifamily construction is currently around average historical levels in most markets. Even with the increase in new supply of multifamily properties, recent job growth and demographic trends have led to improved absorption levels in our markets, which in most markets has offset or exceeded the new supply coming online. The absorption rate has led to stable or modestly increasing occupancy rates with concurrent increases in rental rates in our markets. We believe the supply of new multifamily construction will not increase dramatically as the constraints in the market (including availability of quality sites and the difficult permitting and entitlement process) will contain increases in multifamily supply.
We believe that the grocery-anchored necessity retail sector benefits from many of the same improving metrics as the multifamily sector, namely improved economy and job and wage growth. More specifically, the types of centers we own and plan to acquire are primarily occupied by grocery stores, service uses, medical providers and restaurants. We believe that these businesses are significantly less impacted by e-commerce than some other retail businesses, and that grocery anchors typically generate repeat trips to the center. We expect that improving macroeconomic conditions, coupled with continued population growth in the suburban markets where our retail properties are located, will create favorable conditions for grocery shopping and other uses provided by grocery-anchored retail shopping centers. With moderate supply growth following a period of historically low retail construction starts, we believe our centers that are all generally located in Sun Belt markets are well-positioned to have solid operating fundamentals.
Favorable U.S. Treasury yields and competitive lender spreads have created a generally favorable borrowing environment for multifamily owners and developers. Given the uncertainty around the world's financial markets, investors have been willing to accept lower yields on U.S. government backed securities, providing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae with excellent access to investor capital. Even with the recent volatility in U.S. Treasury rates, we expect the market to continue to remain favorable financing multifamily communities, as the equity and debt markets have generally continued to view the U.S. multifamily sector as a desirable investment despite recent volatility.
We believe the combination of continued high construction mortgage underwriting standards as compared to before the recent financial crisis, coupled with continued hesitance and reluctance among many prospective homebuyers to believe the net benefits of home ownership are greater than the flexibility offered through renting will continue to work in the existing multifamily sector's favor, resulting in gradual increases in market rents, lower concessions and opportunities for increases in ancillary fee income. We also believe, there will be a continued increase in demand for multifamily rental housing due to the ongoing entry of the domestic echo-boomer generation, the sons and daughters of the baby-boom generation, into the workforce resulting in a increase in demand for rental housing. Finally, we believe a continuation of the current declining homeownership rate trend in the United States would also result in increased demand for multifamily rental housing.
Critical Accounting Policies
Below is a discussion of the accounting policies that management believes are critical. We consider these policies critical because they involve significant management judgments, assumptions and estimates about matters that are inherently uncertain and because they are important for understanding and evaluating our reported financial results. These judgments affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and our disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the dates of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting periods. With different estimates or assumptions, materially different amounts could be reported in our financial statements. Additionally, other companies may utilize different estimates that may impact the comparability of our results of operations to those of companies in similar businesses.
Cost Capitalization. Investments in real estate properties are carried at cost and depreciated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of 30 to 40 years for buildings, 5 to 10 years for building and land improvements and 5 to 10 years for computers, furniture, fixtures and equipment. Acquisition costs are generally expensed as incurred for transactions that are deemed to be business combinations. Repairs, maintenance and resident turnover costs are charged to expense as incurred and significant replacements and betterments are capitalized and depreciated over the items' estimated useful lives. Repairs, maintenance and resident turnover costs include all costs that do not extend the useful life of the real estate property. We consider the period of future benefit of an asset to determine its appropriate useful life.
Real Estate Acquisition Valuation. We generally record the acquisition of income-producing real estate as a business combination. All assets acquired and liabilities assumed in a business combination are measured at their acquisition-date fair values.
We assess the acquisition-date fair values of all tangible assets, identifiable intangibles and assumed liabilities using methods similar to those used by independent appraisers (e.g., discounted cash flow analysis) and that utilize appropriate discount and/or capitalization rates and available market information. Estimates of future cash flows are based on a number of factors, including historical operating results, known and anticipated trends and market and economic conditions. The fair value of tangible assets of an acquired property considers the value of the property as if it were vacant.
We record above-market and below-market in-place lease values for acquired properties based on the difference between (i) the contractual amounts to be paid pursuant to the in-place leases and (ii) management’s estimate of fair market lease rates for the corresponding in-place leases, measured over a period equal to the remaining average non-cancelable term of the leases. We amortize any recorded above-market or below-market lease values as a reduction or increase, respectively, to rental income over the remaining average non-cancelable term of the respective leases.
Intangible assets include the value of in-place leases, which represents the estimated value of the net cash flows of the in-place leases to be realized, as compared to the net cash flows that would have occurred had the property been vacant at the time of acquisition and subject to lease-up. These estimates include estimated carrying costs, such as real estate taxes, insurance and other operating expenses and estimates of lost rentals at market rates during the hypothetical expected lease-up periods. Acquired in-place lease values are amortized to operating expense over the average remaining non-cancelable term of the respective in-place leases.
Intangible assets also include the value of customer relationships, which represent the value inherent in the relationships with existing lessees, quantified by management's estimate of the average likelihood of lease renewal. Customer relationships are amortized over the average remaining non-cancelable term of in place leases, plus an estimated renewal period.
Estimating the fair values of the tangible assets, identifiable intangibles and assumed liabilities requires us to make significant assumptions to estimate market lease rates, property-operating expenses, carrying costs during lease-up periods, discount rates, market absorption periods, the number of years the property will be held for investment and market interest rates. The use of different assumptions would result in variations of the values of our acquired tangible assets, identifiable intangibles and assumed liabilities, which would impact their subsequent amortization and ultimately our net income.
Impairment of Real Estate and Related Intangible Assets. We monitor events and changes in circumstances that could indicate that the carrying amounts of our real estate and related intangible assets may not be recoverable or realized. When conditions suggest that an asset group may be impaired, we compare its carrying value to its estimated undiscounted future cash flows, including proceeds from its eventual disposition. If, based on this analysis, we do not believe that we will be able to recover the carrying value of an asset group, we record an impairment to the extent that the carrying value exceeds the estimated fair value of the asset group. Fair market value is determined based on a discounted cash flow analysis. This analysis requires us to use future estimates of net operating income, expected hold period, capitalization rates and discount rates. The use of different assumptions would result in variations of the values of the assets which could impact the amount of our net income and our assets on our balance sheet.
Real Estate Loans
We extend loans for purposes such as to provide partial financing for the development of multifamily residential communities, to acquire land in anticipation of developing and constructing multifamily residential communities and for other real estate or real estate related projects. Certain of these loans we extend include characteristics such as exclusive options to purchase the project within a specific time window following expected project completion and stabilization, the rights to incremental exit fees over and above the amount of periodic interest paid during the life of the loans, or both. These characteristics can cause the loans to fall under the definition of a variable interest entity, or VIE, and thus trigger consolidation consideration. We consider the facts and circumstances pertinent to each loan, including the relative amount of financing we are contributing to the overall project cost, decision making rights or control we hold and our rights to expected residual gains or our obligations to absorb expected residual losses from the project. If we are deemed to be the primary beneficiary of a VIE due to holding a controlling financial interest, the majority of decision making control, or by other means, consolidation of the VIE would be required. Arriving at these conclusions requires us to make significant assumptions and judgments concerning each project, especially with regard to our estimates of future market capitalization rates and property net operating income projections. Additionally, we analyze each loan arrangement and utilize these same assumptions and judgments for consideration of whether the loan qualifies for accounting as a loan or as an investment in a real estate development project.
Impairment of Loans and Notes Receivable. We monitor the progress of underlying real estate development projects which are partially financed by our real estate loans and certain of our notes receivable. Draws of interest included in these loans and notes are monitored versus the budgeted amounts, and the progress of projects are monitored versus the estimates in the project timeline. Changes in circumstances could indicate that the carrying amounts of our loans and notes receivable may not be recoverable or realized. When conditions suggest that an impairment condition may exist, we compare its carrying value to its estimated undiscounted future cash flows, including proceeds from its eventual disposition. If, based on this analysis, we do not believe that we will be able to recover the carrying value of a loan or note, we record a valuation allowance to the extent that the carrying value exceeds its estimated fair value. Fair market value is determined based on a discounted cash flow analysis and is substantiated by an independent appraisal if necessary. This analysis requires us to use future estimates of progress of a project versus its budget, local and national economic conditions and discount rates. The use of different assumptions would result in variations of the values of the loans and notes which could impact the amount of our net income and our assets on our consolidated balance sheets.
We generally lease apartment units under leases with terms of thirteen months or less. We generally lease retail properties for rental terms of several years. Rental revenue, net of concessions, is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease. Differences from the straight-line method, which recognize the effect of any up-front concessions and other adjustments ratably over the lease term, are not material.
Revenue from reimbursements of retail tenants' share of real estate taxes, insurance and common area maintenance, or CAM, costs are recognized as the respective costs are incurred in accordance with the lease agreements. We estimate the collectability of the receivable related to rental and reimbursement billings due from tenants and straight-line rent receivables, which represent the cumulative amount of future adjustments necessary to present rental income on a straight-line basis, by taking into consideration our historical write-off experience, tenant credit-worthiness, current economic trends, and remaining lease terms.
We recognize gains on sales of real estate either in total or deferred for a period of time, depending on whether a sale has been consummated, the extent of the buyer’s investment in the property being sold, whether our receivable, if any, is subject to future subordination, and the degree of our continuing involvement with the property after the sale, if any. If the criteria for profit recognition under the full-accrual method are not met, we defer gain recognition and account for the continued operations of the property by applying the reduced profit, deposit, installment or cost recovery method, as appropriate, until the appropriate criteria are met.
Other income, including interest earned on our cash, is recognized as it is earned. We recognize interest income on real estate loans on an accrual basis over the life of the loan using the effective interest method. Direct loan origination fees and origination or acquisition costs, are amortized over the life of the loan as an adjustment to interest income. We stop accruing interest on loans when circumstances indicate that it is probable that the ultimate collection of all principal and interest due according to the loan agreement will not be realized, which is generally a delinquency of 30 days in required payments of interest or principal. Any payments received on such non-accrual loans are recorded as interest income when the payments are received. Interest accrual on real estate loan investments is resumed once interest and principal payments become current.
Promotional fees received from service providers at our properties are deferred and recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the agreement.
We calculate the fair value of equity compensation instruments such as warrants and stock options based upon estimates of their expected term, the expected volatility of and dividend yield on our Common Stock over this expected term period and the market risk-free rate of return. When appropriate, we will also estimate forfeitures of these instruments and accrue the compensation expense, net of estimated forfeitures, over the vesting period(s).
New Accounting Pronouncements
In April 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2014-08 (“ASU 2014-08”), Reporting Discontinued Operations and Disclosures of Disposals of Components of Entity. Under this new guidance, a disposal of a component of an entity or a group of components of an entity shall only be reported in discontinued operations if the disposal represents a strategic shift that has, or will have, a major effect on an entity’s operations and financial results. ASU 2014-08 is to be applied prospectively for annual and interim periods beginning on or after December 31, 2014, with early adoption permitted. Early adoption is not permitted for assets that have previously been reported as held for sale in the consolidated financial statements. Therefore, application of this new guidance was not permitted for our Trail Creek multifamily community, which was reported as held for sale in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2013 and in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three-month period ended March 31, 2014. We do not expect the adoption of this guidance to materially impact our financial position or results of operations.
In May 2014, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update 2014-09 ("ASU 2014-09"), Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606). ASU 2014-09 provides a single comprehensive revenue recognition model for contracts with customers (excluding certain contracts, such as lease contracts) to improve comparability within industries. ASU 2014-09 requires an entity to recognize revenue to reflect the transfer of goods or services to customers at an amount the entity expects to be paid in exchange for those goods and services and provide enhanced disclosures, all to provide more comprehensive guidance for transactions such as service revenue and contract modifications. ASU 2014-09 is effective for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2016 and may be applied using either a full retrospective or a modified approach upon adoption. We are currently evaluating the impact this standard may have on our financial statements.
In August 2014, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update 2014-15 (“ASU 2014-15”), Presentation of Financial Statements - Going Concern (Subtopic 205-40): Disclosure of Uncertainties about an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern. This new guidance requires management to evaluate, at each annual and interim reporting period, whether there are conditions or events that raise substantial doubt about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern within one year after the date the financial statements are issued and provide related disclosures. ASU 2014-15 is effective for annual periods ending after December 15, 2016 and interim periods thereafter, early adoption is permitted. We are currently in the process of evaluating the impact the adoption of ASU 2014-15 will have on our financial statements.
In February 2015, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update 2015-02 ("ASU 2015-02"), Consolidation (Topic 810): Amendments to the Consolidation Analysis. This new guidance specifically eliminates the presumption in the current voting model that a general partner controls a limited partnership or similar entity unless that presumption can be overcome. Generally, only a single limited partner that is able to exercise substantive kick-out rights will be required to consolidate the limited partnership. ASU 2015-02 is effective on January 1, 2016 and early adoption is permitted, including adoption in an interim period. The new standard must be applied using a modified retrospective approach by recording a cumulative-effect adjustment to equity/capital as of the beginning of the period of adoption or retrospectively to each period presented. We have not yet selected a transition method and are currently in the process of evaluating the impact the adoption of ASU 2014-15 will have on our financial statements.
Results of Operations
We commenced business operations in April of 2011 with our initial public offering of Common Stock. Our portfolio of real estate assets, as of December 31, 2014, consisted of ten wholly-owned multifamily communities totaling 3,326 units; ten grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers with an aggregate of approximately 694,000 square feet of gross leasable area; eleven mezzanine real estate construction loans that are partially financing the construction of eight multifamily communities and three student housing communities; and four land acquisition bridge loans. The total aggregate amount of our real estate loan commitments was approximately $175.7 million at December 31, 2014. All of our multifamily related mezzanine loans contain exclusive limited options to purchase the properties once developed and stabilized, which if all are exercised, would add 3,843 units to our portfolio.
We recorded net losses attributable to common stockholders of approximately $5.3 million, $15.0 million, and $615,000 for the twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2014, 2013, and 2012, respectively. These results reflect the incurrence of approximately $7.2 million, $1.5 million and $1,000 of acquisition costs and fees for these respective periods.
The highlights of our 2014 operating results included:
Normalized Funds From Operations, or NFFO, was $5,678,358, or $0.28 per share for the fourth quarter 2014, an increase of approximately 12% on a per share basis from our NFFO result of $3,281,225, or $0.25 per share for the fourth quarter 2013. For the full year 2014, NFFO was $18,373,674, or $1.05 per share for the year 2014, an increase of approximately 11% on a per share basis from our NFFO result of $9,128,980, or $0.95 per share for the year 2013. (1)
Adjusted Funds From Operations Attributable to Common Stockholders and Unitholders, or AFFO, increased to $4,412,745, or $0.22 per share for the fourth quarter 2014 from our AFFO result of $2,952,499, or $0.22 per share for the fourth quarter 2013. For the full year 2014, AFFO was $14,771,490, or $0.84 per share for the year 2014, an increase of approximately 2% on a per share basis from our AFFO result of $7,809,761, or $0.82 per share for the year 2013. AFFO is calculated after deductions for all preferred dividends. (1)
As of December 31, 2014, our total assets were approximately $696 million, an increase of approximately $354 million, or 104% compared to our total assets of approximately $342 million at December 31, 2013.
Total revenues for the fourth quarter 2014 were approximately $20.0 million, an increase of approximately $10.3 million, or 106%, compared to the fourth quarter 2013. Total revenues for the year 2014 were approximately $56.5 million, an increase of approximately $24.4 million, or 76%, compared to the year 2013.
Our Common Stock dividend of $0.175 per share for the fourth quarter 2014 represents a 40% overall growth rate from our initial Common Stock dividend of $0.125 per share, or approximately 11.6% on an annualized basis since June 30, 2011.
At December 31, 2014, our leverage, as measured by the ratio of our debt to the undepreciated book value of our total assets, was approximately 53.5%.
For the fourth quarter 2014, our average multifamily physical occupancy was 94.8% and our retail portfolio was 95.5% leased as of December 31, 2014.
For the year 2014, our NFFO payout ratio to our Common Stockholders and Unitholders was approximately 64.5% and our AFFO payout ratio to Common Stockholders and Unitholders was approximately 80.2%. (2)
For the year 2014, our NFFO payout ratio to our Series A Preferred Stockholders was approximately 28.7% and our AFFO payout ratio to our Series A Preferred Stockholders was approximately 33.3%.(2)
During September and October 2014, we acquired nine grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers with an approximate aggregate 628,000 square feet of gross leasable area located in the Nashville, Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, Tampa, Columbus, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina markets for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $112.5 million.
September 26, 2014, we acquired four multifamily communities, or the Dunbar Portfolio, representing an aggregate of 1,397 units, located in the Kansas City, Dallas, Nashville, and Houston markets, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $181.3 million. We now own 3,326 multifamily units.
On July 1, 2014, we increased our borrowing capacity on our Revolving Credit Facility from $40 million to a maximum of $50 million. Also, on September 19, 2014, we added a term loan with a maximum borrowing capacity of $45 million, or Term Loan, which we utilized to partially finance the acquisitions of the Dunbar and Sunbelt portfolios. On December 23, 2014, we repaid in full the outstanding principal and accrued and unpaid interest owed and thereby terminated the Term Loan.
During 2014, we originated four new land acquisition bridge loans. Two of these new loans, plus two other bridge loans that were outstanding prior to 2014, were converted to mezzanine loans during 2014. These mezzanine loans are in support of proposed multifamily communities that, if acquired by us, would add two new standalone multifamily communities, expand two existing multifamily communities, and add two student housing projects to our real estate asset portfolio. Upon completion of all the projects and assuming the exercise of all existing and potential purchase options within our real estate loan portfolio, we would own 15 additional multifamily properties, including three student housing communities, comprising an additional 3,843 units.
On October 20, 2014, the borrower repaid the mezzanine loan and accrued interest of approximately $5.4 million, which supported the development of a grocery anchored, necessity retail shopping center in Rome, Georgia. The grocery company exercised its right of first refusal for the center.
(1) “Per share” refers to per basic weighted average share of Common Stock and Class A Unit outstanding for the periods indicated. See Definitions of Non-GAAP and Other Measures later within this "Results of Operations" section.
(2) We calculate the NFFO and AFFO payout ratios to Common Stockholders and Unitholders as the ratio of Common Stock dividends and distributions to Unitholders to NFFO or AFFO, respectively. We calculate the NFFO and AFFO payout ratios to Series A Preferred Stockholders as the ratio of Preferred Stock dividends to the sum of Preferred Stock dividends and NFFO or AFFO, respectively. See Definitions of Non-GAAP and Other Measures later within this "Results of Operations" section.
On February 12, 2014, we completed the acquisition of a grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping center with approximately 66,000 square feet of gross leasable area in the Atlanta, Georgia market for approximately $5.7 million.
On September 5, 2014, we acquired two grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers with an approximate aggregate 127,200 square feet of gross leasable area located in the Nashville, Tennessee market, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $24.1 million.
On September 26, 2014, we acquired four multifamily communities located in the Kansas City, Dallas, Nashville, and Houston markets representing an aggregate of 1,397 units, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $181.3 million.
On September 30, 2014, we acquired six grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping centers with an approximate aggregate 438,000 square feet of gross leasable area located in the Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, Columbus, Georgia, Tampa, and Charleston, South Carolina markets, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $74.2 million.
On October 6, 2014, we acquired one grocery-anchored necessity retail shopping center with approximately 62,400 square feet of gross leasable area located in Nashville, Tennessee, for a purchase price of approximately $14.2 million.
Details of our real estate loan portfolio at December 31, 2014 consisted of:
Date of loan
Optional extension date
Total loan commitments
Senior loans held by unrelated third parties
Current / deferred interest % per annum
8 / 6
8 / 6
Aster at Lely
8 / 6
8 / 6
8 / 6
Atlanta, GA (3) (4)
8 / 6
Starkville, MS (4) (6)
8.5 / 4.33
8 / 6
Atlanta, GA (7)
8 / 5
Irvine, CA (7) (11)
8.5 / 4.3
8.5 / 4.33
Atlanta, GA (4) (8)
8.5 / 4.33
Summit Crossing III
Atlanta, GA (9)
Crosstown Walk II
Tampa, FL (10)
8.5 / 4.33
All loans are mezzanine loans pertaining to developments of multifamily communities, except as otherwise indicated. The borrowers for each of these projects are as follows: "CityPark View" - Oxford City Park Development LLC; "City Vista" - Oxford City Vista Development LLC; "Aster at Lely" - Lely Apartments LLC; "Crosstown Walk" - Iris Crosstown Partners LLC; "Overton Rise" - Newport Overton Holdings, LLC; "Haven West" - Haven Campus Communities Member, LLC; "Haven 12" - Haven Campus Communities - Starkville, LLC; "Founders' Village" - Oxford NTW Apartments LLC; "Encore" - GP - RV Land I, LLC; "Palisades" - Oxford Palisades Apartments LLC; "Fusion" - 360 - Irvine, LLC; "Green Park" - Weems Road Property Owner, LLC; "Stadium Village" - Haven Campus Communities - Kennesaw, LLC; "Summit Crossing III" - Oxford Forsyth Development, LLC and "Crosstown Walk II" - Iris Crosstown Apartments II, LLC.
In the event the Company exercises the associated purchase option and acquires the property, any additional accrued interest, if not paid, will be treated as additional consideration for the acquired project.
Completed 160-unit 568-bed student housing community adjacent to the campus of the University of West Georgia.
See note 7 - Related Party Transactions.
Deferred interest becomes due to the Company on the earliest to occur of (i) the maturity date, (ii) any uncured event of default as defined in the associated loan agreement, (iii) the sale of the project or the refinancing of the loan (other than a refinancing of the loan by the Company or one of its affiliates) and (iv) any other repayment of the loan.
A planned 152-unit, 536-bed student housing community adjacent to the Mississippi State University campus.
Bridge loan to partially finance the acquisition of land and predevelopment costs for a multifamily community.
Mezzanine loan in support of a planned 198-unit,792-bed student housing community adjacent to the campus of Kennesaw State University.
Bridge loan to partially finance the acquisition of land and predevelopment costs for a third phase adjacent to our Summit Crossing multifamily community.
Bridge loan to partially finance the acquisition of land and predevelopment costs for a second phase adjacent to the Crosstown Walk multifamily community development in Tampa, Florida.
Upon a sale of the property or refinancing with a third party, the Company would be due a payoff fee of $2.0 million on this loan.
The Palisades, Green Park and Stadium Village loans are subject to loan participation agreements with syndicates of unaffiliated third parties, under which the syndicates funded 25% of the loan commitment amounts and collectively receive 25% of interest payments and returns of principal.
Deferred interest percentages are rates at which interest accrues over the lives of the loans and which will be due in a lump sum at maturity or if the property is sold to, or refinanced by, a third party. There are no contingent events that are necessary to occur for us to realize the additional interest amounts.
We receive a fee of 2% of the aggregate amount of the loan at loan inception as partial inducement to offer the funds and concurrently pay 1% of the loan amount (half of the 2% loan fee) to our Manager as an acquisition fee. The net 1% retained is recognized as revenue over the term of the loan. The Company's real estate loans are collateralized by 100% of the membership interests of the underlying project entity, and, where management deems necessary, by unconditional joint and several repayment guaranties and performance guaranties by the principal(s) of the borrower. These guaranties generally remain in effect until the receipt of a final certificate of occupancy. All of the guaranties are subject to the rights held by the senior lender pursuant to a standard intercreditor agreement. The Encore, Fusion, Green Park, Summit III, and Crosstown Walk II loans are also collateralized by the acquired land. The Haven West and Stadium Village loans are additionally collateralized by an assignment by the developer of security interests in unrelated projects. Prepayment of the mezzanine loans are permitted in whole, but not in part, without our consent.
Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2014 compared to 2013
The following discussion and tabular presentations highlight the major drivers behind the line item changes in our results of operations for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014 versus 2013, as summarized in the table below:
Year ended December 31,
Change inc (dec)
Other property revenues
Interest income on loans and notes receivable
Interest income from related party
Property operating and maintenance
Property salary and benefits reimbursement to related party
Property management fees to related parties
Real estate taxes
General and administrative
Equity compensation to directors and executives
Depreciation and amortization
Acquisition and pursuit costs
Acquisition fees to related parties
Asset management fees to related parties
Insurance, professional fees and other
Total operating expenses
Asset management and general and administrative
expense fees deferred
Net operating expenses
Less interest expense
Loss on early extinguishment of debt
Net income (loss)
Rental revenue increased for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014 from the comparable 2013 period as shown in the following table:
Amount (rounded to 000s):
Percent of increase
Sunbelt Portfolio and other retail assets
Trail II and Summit II
In addition to the partial year of rental revenue contributions from the Dunbar and Sunbelt portfolios during 2014, the additions of the second phases of the Trail Creek multifamily community in June 2013 and the Summit Crossing multifamily community in December 2013 resulted in the realization of a full twelve months of rental activity for those acquired second phases during 2014.
Occupancy rates and rent growth are the primary drivers of increases in rental revenue from owned multifamily communities. We define physical occupancy as the number of units occupied divided by total apartment units. We calculate average economic occupancy by dividing gross potential rent less vacancy losses, model expenses, bad debt expenses and concessions by gross potential rent. Factors which we believe affect market rents include vacant unit inventory in local markets, local and national economic growth and resultant employment stability, income levels and growth, the ease of obtaining credit for home purchases, and changes in demand due to consumer confidence in the above factors.
We also collect revenue from residents for items such as utilities, application fees, lease termination fees, and late charges. The increases in other property revenues for the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2014 versus 2013 were similarly due to the acquisitions listed above.
Interest income from our real estate loans increased substantially for the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2014 versus 2013, due to the addition of the Green Park, Stadium Village (which was subsequently converted to a mezzanine loan), Summit Crossing III, and Crosstown Walk bridge loans and the conversion of the Haven 12 bridge loan to a mezzanine loan, partially offset by the payoff of the Madison-Rome mezzanine loan on October 20, 2014. Also contributing to the increases in interest income were higher loan balances on real estate loans, from accumulating draws and loan balances as the underlying projects progressed toward completion.
We recorded interest income and other revenue from these instruments as follows:
Year ended December 31,
Real estate loans:
Current interest payments
Additional accrued interest
Deferred loan fee revenue