SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
Amendment No. 1
☒ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
☐ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission file number: 001-36007
PHYSICIANS REALTY TRUST
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
|(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
|309 N. Water Street, Suite 500||53202|
|(Address of Principal Executive Offices)||(Zip Code)|
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered under Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)|| ||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Shares, $0.01 par value||DOC|| ||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered under 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 ☐
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 ☒
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 ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted 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 such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ☒ Accelerated filer ☐ Non-accelerated filer ☐ Smaller reporting company ☐ Emerging growth company ☐
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 4262(b)) by the registered accounting firm that prepared or issues its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of Physicians Realty Trust’s common shares held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2020 was approximately $3,623,042,043 based upon the closing price reported for such date on the New York Stock Exchange.
As of February 22, 2021, there were 210,588,276 shares of Physicians Realty Trust’s common shares outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
The information required by Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, to the extent not set forth in this Form 10-K, is incorporated herein by reference from Physicians Realty Trust’s definitive proxy statement relating to the annual meeting of shareholders to be held on May 5, 2021, to be filed with the Security and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the Registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.
We are filing this Amendment No. 1 (“Form 10-K/A”) to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on February 26, 2021 (the “Form 10-K”), to correct the following typographical omissions: the Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm related to their Opinion on the Financial Statements and the Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm related to their Opinion on Internal Control over Financial Reporting previously filed with the Form 10-K have been amended to include the electronic signature of Ernst & Young LLP on such reports for Physicians Realty Trust, which signatures had been obtained prior to our filing the Form 10-K.
In accordance with Rule 12b-15 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, each item of the Form 10-K that is amended by this Form 10-K/A is restated in its entirety, and this Form 10-K/A is accompanied by restated and re-executed certifications on Exhibits 31.1, 31.2, and 32.1 by our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer.
This Form 10-K/A speaks as of the original filing date of the Form 10-K and does not reflect any events that may have occurred subsequent to the original filing date. Except as described above, no other changes have been made to the Form 10-K and we are not amending any other part of, or updating any other disclosures made in, the Form 10-K. For ease of reference we have included a complete copy of the Form 10-K, as amended per above, in this filing.
PHYSICIANS REALTY TRUST
Annual Report on Form 10-K for the Year Ended December 31, 2020
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical facts may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. In particular, statements pertaining to our capital resources, property performance and results of operations contain forward-looking statements. Likewise, all of our statements regarding anticipated growth in our funds from operations and anticipated market conditions, demographics and results of operations are forward-looking statements. You can identify forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “believe,” “expect,” “outlook,” “continue,” “project,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seek,” “approximately,” “intend,” “plan,” “pro forma,” “estimate,” or “anticipate” or the negative of these words and phrases or similar words or phrases which are predictions of or indicate future events or trends and which do not relate solely to historical matters. You can also identify forward-looking statements by discussions of strategy, plans, expectations, or intentions.
These forward-looking statements reflect the views of our management regarding current expectations and projections about future events and are based on currently available information. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve numerous risks and uncertainties and you should not rely on them as predictions of future events. Forward-looking statements depend on assumptions, data, or methods which may be incorrect or imprecise and we may not be able to realize them. We do not guarantee that the transactions and events described will happen as described (or that they will happen at all).
While forward-looking statements reflect our good faith beliefs, they are not guarantees of future performance. We disclaim any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect changes in underlying assumptions or factors, new information, data or methods, future events or other changes after the date of this report, except as required by applicable law. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements that are based on information currently available to us or the third parties making the forward-looking statements.
Factors that may cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those set forth or contemplated in the forward-looking statements include, without limitation, those discussed in Item 1 - Business, Item 1A - Risk Factors, Item 6 - Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and elsewhere in this report and our other filings with the SEC.
As used in this report, unless the context otherwise requires, references to “we,” “us,” “our,” and the “Company” refer to Physicians Realty Trust (the “Trust”), a Maryland real estate investment trust, and Physicians Realty L.P. (the “Operating Partnership”), a Delaware limited partnership and the consolidated subsidiary of the Trust through which we conduct our business.
Summary Risk Factors
An investment in our common shares involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully read and consider the risks discussed below and described more fully along with other risks in Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” of this report, before investing in our common shares.
•Our business and operations and those of our tenants have and may continue to be adversely affected by the global outbreak of the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic.
•Our portfolio is concentrated in health care properties, making us dependent on the health care industry generally, and possibly more vulnerable economically than if our investments were diversified across different industries.
•We may not be successful in identifying and consummating suitable investment acquisitions or investment opportunities, which may impede our growth and negatively affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
•Cybersecurity incidents, attacks or other significant disruptions of our information technology systems or the information technology systems of our third party property managers could disrupt our business and result in the compromise of confidential information of ours and third parties, including our tenants.
•The health care industry is heavily regulated, and new laws or regulations, changes to existing laws, regulations, health policies, or reimbursement levels from third-party payors, loss of licensure or failure to obtain licensure could adversely impact our company and result in the inability of our tenants to make rent payments to us.
•Our operating performance is subject to risks associated with the real estate industry including vacancies or our inability to rent space on favorable terms, inability to collect rent from tenants, changes in the demand for certain health care-related properties, and impacts from periods of economic slowdown or recession such as the recent U.S. economic downturn.
•Required payments of principal and interest on borrowings may leave us with insufficient cash to operate our properties or to pay the distributions currently contemplated or necessary to qualify as a REIT and may expose us to the risk of default under our debt obligations.
•Our failure to qualify and maintain our qualification as a REIT in any taxable year would result in adverse tax consequences that would substantially reduce funds available for distribution to our shareholders.
•Certain provisions of Maryland law, the Trust’s declaration of trust and the partnership agreement of the Operating Partnership contain limits and restrictions on the transferability of our outstanding shares of beneficial interest, which may have the effect of delaying, discouraging or preventing a transaction or change of control of our company.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Physicians Realty Trust, a Maryland real estate investment trust, and Physicians Realty L.P., a Delaware limited partnership, were organized in April 2013 to acquire, selectively develop, own and manage health care properties that are leased to physicians, hospitals, and health care delivery systems. Unless otherwise indicated or unless the context requires otherwise, all references in this report to “we,” “us,” “our,” the “Company,” and “Physicians Realty” refer to the Trust, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, including the Operating Partnership. References to the “Operating Partnership” mean collectively the Operating Partnership together with its consolidated subsidiaries. We completed our initial public offering (“IPO”) in July 2013. The Trust’s common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) and it is included in the MSCI US REIT Index and MidCap 400.
We have grown our consolidated portfolio of gross real estate investments from approximately $124 million at the time of our IPO to approximately $4.9 billion as of December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2020, our consolidated portfolio consisted of 263 health care properties located in 31 states with approximately 14,011,008 net leasable square feet, which were approximately 96% leased with a weighted average remaining lease term of approximately 6.8 years. As of December 31, 2020, approximately 90% of the net leasable square footage of our consolidated portfolio was either on campus with a hospital or other health care facility or strategically affiliated with a hospital or other health care provider organization.
We receive a cash rental stream from health care providers under our leases. Approximately 94% of the annualized base rent payments from our properties as of December 31, 2020 are from absolute and triple-net leases, pursuant to which the tenants are responsible for all operating expenses relating to the property, including but not limited to real estate taxes, utilities, property insurance, routine maintenance and repairs, and property management. This structure helps insulate us from increases in certain operating expenses and provides relatively predictable cash flow. We seek to structure our leases to generate attractive returns on a long-term basis. Our leases typically have initial terms of 5 to 15 years and include annual rent escalators of approximately 1.5% to 3.0%, with an annual weighted average rent escalator of approximately 2.4%. Our operating results depend significantly upon the ability of our tenants to make required rental payments. We believe that our portfolio of medical office buildings and other health care facilities will enable us to generate stable cash flows over time because of the diversity of our tenants, staggered lease expiration schedule, long-term leases, and low historical occurrence of tenants defaulting under their leases. As of December 31, 2020, leases representing a percentage of our consolidated portfolio on the basis of leased square feet will expire as follows:
|Year||Portfolio Lease Expirations|
(1)“MTM” means month-to-month. This line also includes 12 leases which expired on December 31, 2020, representing 0.2% of leased square feet.
We invest in real estate that is integral to providing high quality health care services. Our properties are typically located on a campus with a hospital or other health care facilities or strategically affiliated with a hospital or other health care system. We believe the impact of government programs and continuing trends in the health care industry create attractive opportunities for us to invest in health care-related real estate. Our management team has significant public health care REIT
experience and has long established relationships with physicians, hospitals, and health care delivery system decision makers who we believe will provide quality investment and growth opportunities. Our principal investments include medical office buildings, outpatient treatment facilities, and other real estate integral to health care providers. We seek to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders through a combination of stable and increasing dividends and potential long-term appreciation in the value of our properties and our common shares.
The Trust is a Maryland real estate investment trust and has elected to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. We conduct our business through an umbrella partnership REIT structure in which our properties are owned by the Operating Partnership directly or through limited partnerships, limited liability companies, or other subsidiaries. The Trust is the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership and, as of February 22, 2021, owned approximately 97.4% of the OP Units.
Our Objectives and Growth Strategy
Our principal business objective is to provide attractive risk-adjusted returns to our shareholders through a combination of (i) sustainable and increasing rental revenue and cash flow that generate reliable, increasing dividends, and (ii) potential long-term appreciation in the value of our properties and common shares.
Our primary strategy to achieve our business objective is to utilize our physician and hospital relationships nationwide to identify off-market opportunities to invest in, own, and manage a diversified portfolio of high quality health care properties, and to understand our tenants’ real estate strategies, which we believe will drive high retention, high occupancy, and reliable, increasing rental revenue cash flow and growth.
We intend to grow our portfolio of high-quality health care properties leased to physicians, hospitals, health care delivery systems, and other health care providers primarily through acquisitions of existing health care facilities that provide stable revenue growth and predictable long-term cash flows. We may also selectively finance the development of new health care facilities with premier health care real estate developers. Generally, we expect to make investments in new development properties when approximately 80% or more of the development property has been pre-leased before construction commences. We seek to invest in properties where we can develop strategic alliances with financially sound health care providers and health care delivery systems that offer need-based health care services in sustainable health care markets. We focus our investment activity on medical office buildings (“MOB”) and ambulatory surgery centers.
We may from time to time also make investments in other health care properties. We believe that trends such as shifting consumer preferences, limited space in hospitals, the desires of patients and health care providers to limit non-essential services provided in a hospital setting, and cost considerations continue to drive the industry towards performing more procedures in off-campus outpatient facilities versus the hospital setting. As these trends continue, we believe that demand for medical office buildings and similar health care properties away from hospital settings and in convenient locations to patients will continue to rise. We intend to exploit this trend and favor off-campus properties consistent with our investment philosophy and strategies.
While not our focus, we may at some point decide to invest opportunistically in life science facilities, senior housing properties, skilled nursing facilities, specialty hospitals, and treatment centers. Consistent with the Trust’s qualification as a REIT, we may also opportunistically invest in companies that provide health care services, and in joint venture entities with operating partners structured to comply with the REIT Investment Diversification Act of 2007 (“RIDEA”).
As of December 31, 2020, we have grown our consolidated portfolio of gross real estate investments to approximately $4.9 billion while maintaining a conservative balance sheet. For short-term funding purposes, we may borrow on our primary unsecured credit facility. From time to time, we replace these borrowings with long-term capital such as senior unsecured notes and equity, or alternative securities. We may selectively utilize capital market transactions in furtherance of our investment strategy.
We are focused on building and maintaining a portfolio of high-quality health care properties leased to physicians, hospitals, health care delivery systems, and other health care providers. Our investment strategy includes a focus on investments with the following key attributes:
•We seek to invest in properties occupied by health care systems with dominant market share and high credit quality and in those who are investing capital into their campuses. In particular, we seek to acquire off-market or selectively marketed assets with attractive demographics, economic growth, and high barriers to entry. We seek to own well-occupied properties that we believe are critical to the delivery of health care and which are off-campus but affiliated with a hospital.
•We emphasize ensuring an appropriate and balanced mix of tenants to provide synergies within both individual buildings and the broader health system campus. Our primary tenants are health care systems, academic medical centers, and leading physician groups. These groups typically have strong and stable financial performance. We believe this helps ensure stability in our rental income and tenant retention over time.
•We seek to maintain a core, critical portfolio of properties and to build our reputation as a dedicated leading MOB owner and operator.
•We seek to maintain or increase our average rental rates, focus on actively leasing our vacant space, and reduce leasing concessions.
We seek to invest in properties where we can develop strategic alliances with financially sound health care providers and health care delivery systems that offer need-based health care services in sustainable health care markets and consider the potential for long-term relationships and repeat business when assessing acquisition potential.
We actively manage our balance sheet to maintain our investment grade credit rating, to maintain an appropriate level of leverage, and to preserve financing flexibility for funding of future acquisitions. In particular, we:
•Seek to maintain a high level of liquidity, including borrowing availability under our unsecured revolving credit facility.
•Maintain access to multiple sources of capital, including private debt issuances, public bond offerings, public equity offerings, unsecured bank loans, and equity from joint venture partners.
•Periodically review our portfolio to consider the potential dispositions of lower quality properties to reinvest the proceeds into higher quality properties.
•Closely monitor our existing debt maturities, average interest rates, and look for refinancing opportunities.
Since our founding in 2013, the Company has established a track record of environmental stewardship, value creation at the community level, and strong governance. We are also committed to increased transparency and accountability through public disclosure. We believe that sustainable investments are investments in a brighter future, and we are committed to being a leader in Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) performance within the REIT industry. Our ESG Committee, formed in 2018, is overseen by the Nominating and Governance Committee of our Board of Trustees and each major department is represented within this group. In 2020, we released our first inaugural annual ESG report.
As a result of our commitment to sustainability, we have been recognized with eight Institute of Real Estate Management Certified Sustainable Property (“IREM® CSP”) designations in 2019 and ten IREM® CSP designations in 2020. In addition, we have incorporated green lease language into nearly all of our new leases and renewals, aligning our financial and energy incentives with our tenants. This has resulted in recognition by the Institute for Market Transformation (“IMT”) as a Green Lease Leader in 2020. Our portfolio also includes three LEED-certified properties, and DOC has been an Energy Star Partner since 2015.
We are focused on climate preparedness as part of our sustainability strategy. As a long-term owner and active manager of our assets, we are proactive in identifying climate risks and implementing preventive measures to combat these risks. Responsibility for these measures is distributed across several departments including Executive Leadership, Asset Management, Construction & Project Management, Leasing, Marketing, and Property Management. In 2020, we began work to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (“TCFD”), and the aforementioned team is assessing our climate related risk and intends to report in alignment with TCFD in our annual ESG report.
Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”)
The Real Estate Sustainability Accounting Standard issued by SASB in 2018 proposes sustainability accounting metrics designed for disclosure in mandatory filings, such as Part II, Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of this report, and serves as the framework against which we have aligned our disclosures for sustainability information.
Energy and water data is collected from utility bills and submeters and assured by a third party. The recommended energy and water management activity metrics for the real estate industry include:
•energy consumption data coverage as a percentage of floor area (“Energy Use Intensity”);
•total energy consumed by portfolio area (“Total Energy Consumption”);
•like-for-like change in energy consumption by portfolio area (“Like-for-Like Energy Change”);
•water withdrawal as a percentage of total floor area (“Water Intensity”);
•total water withdrawn by portfolio area (“Total Water Consumption”); and
•like-for-like change in water withdrawal by portfolio area (“Like-for-Like Water Change”).
The charts below detail our Energy Use Intensity, Total Energy Consumption, Like-for-Like Energy Change, Water Intensity, Total Water Consumption, and Like-for-Like Water Change for 2018 through 2020 for which data on occupied and actively-managed properties was available.1
Our Industry and Market Opportunity
The nature of health care delivery continues to evolve due to the impact of government programs, regulatory changes and consumer preferences. We believe these changes have increased the need for capital among health care providers and increased pressure on these providers to integrate more efficient real estate solutions in order enhance the delivery of quality health care. In particular, we believe the following factors and trends are creating an attractive environment in which to invest in health care properties.
$3.8 Trillion Health Care Industry Projected to Grow to $6.2 Trillion (and 19.4% of U.S. GDP) by 2028
According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), health care spending accounted for 17.7% of U.S. gross domestic product (“GDP”) in 2019. The general aging of the population, driven by the Baby Boomer generation and advances in medical technology and services which increase life expectancy, are key drivers of the growth in health care expenditures. The anticipated continuing increase in demand for health care services, together with an evolving complex and costly regulatory environment, changes in medical technology and reductions in government reimbursements are expected to pressure capital-constrained health care providers to find cost effective solutions for their real estate needs.
1 The charts reflect the performance of 4.5 million square feet, which is 32% of our portfolio and 44% of our managed portfolio. The energy scope includes energy produced from fuel, gas, and electricity. The water scope includes irrigation, domestic water, and sewer utilities. Data points in the Like-for-Like Change table above are measured against our 2018 benchmark.
We believe the demand by health care providers for health care real estate will increase as health care spending in the United States continues to increase. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ National Health Expenditure Projections 2019-2028, national health care expenditures continue to rise and are projected to grow from an estimated $3.8 trillion in 2019 to $6.2 trillion by 2028, representing an average annual rate of growth of 5.4%, reaching a projected 19.7% of GDP in 2028.
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary
The aging of the U.S. population has a direct effect on the demand for health care as older persons generally utilize health care services at a rate well in excess of younger people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population over 65 years of age is projected to more than double from 49.2 million to nearly 94.7 million, and the 85 and older population is expected to almost triple, from 6.4 million to 19.0 million, between 2016 and 2060. Also, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of older Americans is growing as a percentage of the total U.S. population with the number of persons older than 65 estimated to comprise 15.2% of the total U.S. population in 2016 and projected to grow to 23.5% by 2060.
We believe that health care expenditures for the population over 65 years of age will continue to rise as a disproportionate share of health care dollars is spent on older Americans. To illustrate, in 2012 the elderly (65+ years old) represented only 14% of the population while accounting for 34% of all health care-related spending. We believe the older population group increasingly will require treatment and management of chronic and acute health ailments and that this increased demand for health care services will create a substantial need for additional medical office buildings and other facilities that serve the health care industry in many regions of the United States. Additionally, we believe there will likely be a focus on lowering the cost of outpatient care for the aging U.S. population, which will continue to support medical office and outpatient facility property demand in the long term. For example, beginning in 2019, CMS expanded the list of procedures that can be performed and reimbursed in outpatient surgery centers to include 12 cardiac catheterization diagnostic procedures and 5 ancillary procedures. CMS expanded this list to include an additional 31 procedures between 2020 and 2021. We believe these trends will result in a substantial increase in the demand for health care space in our facilities and the number of properties meeting our investment criteria.
We believe advances in medical technology will continue to enable health care providers to identify and treat once fatal illnesses and improve the survival rate of critically ill and injured patients who will require continuing medical care in outpatient medical office buildings.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (as hereinafter defined) constituted a significant overhaul of many aspects of health care regulations and health insurance and created new features in the framework for health care services over the near term. It required every American to have health insurance or be subjected to a tax. Those who cannot afford health insurance are offered insurance subsidies or Medicaid coverage. On December 14, 2018, a federal district court in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was unconstitutional. The Affordable Care Act remains law while appeals of this ruling continue.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that approximately 50 million Americans did not have health care insurance in 2009, before the Affordable Care Act was enacted. The U.S. Census Bureau calculated that in 2019, approximately 26.1 million Americans did not have health insurance, continuing a trend after passage of the Affordable Care Act to reduce the number of uninsured. The Affordable Care Act and subsequent legislation, executive orders and events, as well as their potential impact on our business, are discussed more fully under Item 1 - Business, under the caption “Certain Government Regulations.”
We believe an increase in the number of Americans with access to health insurance would result in an increase in physician office visits and an overall rise in health care utilization which in turn will drive a need for expansion of medical, outpatient, and smaller specialty hospital facilities. We also believe the increased dissemination of health research through media outlets, marketing of health care products, and availability of advanced screening techniques and medical procedures have contributed to a more engaged population of health care users and has created increased demand for customized facilities providing specialized, preventive and integrative health care services. With the growth of electronic health care information transmission, physician offices increasingly engage with patients through telehealth. Health care payors, including Medicare, are beginning to reimburse for telehealth services when medical information is transmitted and used between patients and physicians. Telehealth services have also expanded as a result of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing.
We further believe the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are designed to lower certain reimbursement amounts under Medicare and tie reimbursement levels to the quality of services provided will increase the pressure on health care providers to become more efficient in their business models, invest capital in their businesses, lower costs and improve the quality of care, which in turn will drive health care systems to monetize their real estate assets and create demand for new, modern and specialized facilities.
Clinical Care Continues to Shift to Outpatient Care
According to the American Hospital Association (the “AHA”), many procedures traditionally performed in hospitals, such as certain types of surgery, are increasingly moving to outpatient facilities driven by advances in clinical science, shifting consumer preferences, limited or inefficient space in existing hospitals, and lower costs in the outpatient environment. This continuing shift toward delivering health care services in an outpatient environment rather than a traditional hospital environment increases the need for additional outpatient facilities and smaller, more specialized and efficient hospitals. Studies by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and others have shown that health care is delivered more cost effectively and with higher patient satisfaction when it is provided on an outpatient basis. Increasingly, hospital admissions are reserved for the critically ill, and less critical patients are treated on an outpatient basis with recuperation in their own homes. We believe health care market trends toward outpatient care will continue to push health care services out of larger, older, inefficient hospitals and into newer, more efficient and conveniently located outpatient facilities and smaller specialized hospitals. We believe that increased specialization within the medical field is also driving demand for medical facilities designed specifically for particular specialties and that physicians want to locate their practices in medical office space that is in or adjacent to these facilities.
Impact of BBA on Outpatient Care
Section 603 Assets: Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (the “2015 BBA”) generally prohibits hospital outpatient departments (“HOPDs”) from charging preferential hospital outpatient department rates for Medicare patients treated in “off-campus” locations on or after January 1, 2017, potentially impacting their profitability. These preferential Medicare rates are only permitted if the hospital provides HOPD services in a building within 250 yards of the hospital’s main inpatient location. A hospital HOPD can be grandfathered by the 2015 BBA even if the location is outside the 250 yard distance. Under the statutory authority, an off-campus HOPD facility in existence as of November 2, 2015 can be “grandfathered” and can continue to be paid at the preferential HOPD rates, if, among other things, the hospital was billing HOPD services in that location on a HOPD basis as of November 2, 2015 and continues to provide those services in that location. On November 21, 2018, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the “Secretary”) issued a final rule, effective January 1, 2019, that eliminates the higher, Outpatient Prospective Payment System (“OPPS”) reimbursement rate for evaluation and management services provided by Grandfathered HOPD locations (the “Final Rule”). The Secretary, instead, will only reimburse for evaluation and management services at the lower, Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rate that new non-grandfathered off-campus HOPD locations receive. The AHA and a number of hospitals have sued the Secretary in federal court to enforce the plain meaning of Section 603 of the 2015 BBA and restore the right to Grandfathered HOPD reimbursement rates. On September 17, 2019, a federal district judge ruled in favor of the AHA. The court stated that CMS did not have the authority to lower payments for off-campus hospital-based departments that were grandfathered under the 2015 BBA. CMS challenged this ruling and requested a stay in the decision, which the court denied on October 21, 2019. In its December 15, 2020 final rule for hospital OPPS rates, CMS continued its efforts to lower payment for certain HOPD services basing reductions on the principle of “site neutrality.” These lower payment levels are effective January 1, 2021, notwithstanding the CMS’ projections that overall payments under OPPS will increase by 2.4%.“Grandfathered” hospitals providing HOPD services in our portfolio are referred to as 603 assets in our SEC reports and other public disclosures.
We own a number of assets that will continue to be reimbursed at hospital outpatient department rates, which we refer to as “603 assets” after the applicable section of the 2015 BBA. Rent derived from these 603 assets accounts for approximately 17% of our total consolidated portfolio annualized base rent as of December 31, 2020. Depending upon the implementation of the regulations and mix of procedures in an HOPD, the 2015 BBA may enhance the value of these 603 assets because existing HOPDs may lose their higher reimbursements rates should they choose to change locations, thus enhancing lease renewal probabilities and rent growth.
Please see Item 2 - Properties for a table that summarizes our consolidated portfolio as of December 31, 2020.
As of December 31, 2020, approximately 14.2% of our consolidated gross leasable area was derived from properties located in Texas.
As a result of this geographic concentration, we are particularly exposed to downturns in the Texas economy or other changes in local real estate market conditions. Any material change in the current payment programs or regulatory, economic, environmental, or competitive conditions in Texas could have a disproportionate effect on our overall business results. In the event of negative economic or other changes in the Texas market, our business, financial condition, and results of operations,
our ability to make distributions to our shareholders and the market price of our common shares may be adversely affected. See the discussion under Item 1A - Risk Factors, under the caption, “Economic and other conditions that negatively affect geographic areas in which we conduct business, and in particular Texas, and other areas to which a greater percentage of our revenue is attributed could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.”
We receive substantially all of our revenue as rent payments from tenants under leases of space in our health care properties, with our five largest tenants based upon rental revenue representing approximately $62.0 million, or 20.3%, of the annualized base rent from our consolidated properties as of December 31, 2020. No one tenant represents more than 5.6% of our total consolidated annualized base rent; however, 16.7% of our total consolidated annualized base rent as of December 31, 2020 is from tenants affiliated with CommonSpirit Health. We have no control over the success or failure of our tenants’ businesses and, at any time, any of our tenants may experience a downturn in its business that may weaken its financial condition. Our business, financial position, or results of operations could be materially adversely affected if CommonSpirit Health were to experience a material adverse effect on its business, financial position, or results of operations.
We compete with many other entities engaged in real estate investment activities for acquisitions of health care properties, including national, regional and local operators, acquirers, and developers of health care-related real estate properties and other investors such as private equity firms, some of whom may have greater financial resources and lower costs of capital than we do. The competition for health care-related real estate properties may significantly increase the price that we must pay for health care properties or other assets that we seek to acquire, and our competitors may succeed in acquiring those properties or 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 REITs that target health care properties may enjoy significant competitive advantages that result from, among other things, a lower cost of capital, enhanced operating efficiencies, more personnel, and market penetration and familiarity with markets. In addition, the number of entities and the amount of funds competing for suitable investment properties may increase. Increased competition would result in increased demand for the same assets and therefore increase prices paid for them. Those higher prices for health care properties or other assets may adversely affect our returns from our investments.
We also face competition in leasing available MOBs and other facilities that serve the health care industry to prospective tenants. As a result, we may have to provide rent concessions, incur charges for tenant improvements, offer other inducements, or we may be unable to timely lease vacant space in our properties, all of which may have a material adverse impact on our results of operations.
Our business has not been, and we do not expect it to become, subject to material seasonal fluctuations.
Human Capital Management
At December 31, 2020, we had 81 full-time employees, none of whom are subject to a collective bargaining agreement. We believe that relations with our employees are positive.
We believe that the success of our business depends on a strong, talented, and committed workforce to ensure excellence on behalf of our clients and shareholders. We prioritize the well-being of our team members and offer comprehensive benefits packages, opportunities for personal and group volunteer efforts, and paths for life-long learning to our employees. Our employees work with a variety of business units across the Company to diversify their skill sets and are offered challenging projects, stock ownership, and a collaborative environment with exposure to our top executives. In addition, our team members regularly participate in training courses on topics such as leadership, freedom from harassment through a positive work environment, and more.
To represent our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DE&I”), we established a DE&I Council in 2019 that sets goals, develops educational platforms, and plans activities to promote DE&I at all levels of our organization. As part of our multi-year DE&I goals, we have developed a roadmap to recruit, retain, and support underrepresented populations within our company. Strategies include promoting the inclusion of diverse candidates in recruitment efforts, providing enhanced career development support for underrepresented populations, and ensuring that we continue to offer benefits and compensation that
attracts and retains diverse team members. The DE&I Council is overseen by the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Board of Trustees.
We have a strong commitment to team involvement in the workplace. Employees lead committees focusing on social, environmental, philanthropic, and health & wellness topics that shape the Company’s policies and drive positive change. We also conduct annual engagement surveys through third-party companies to provide anonymous team member feedback. We believe that continuous improvement and investment in our team is the key to our continued success.
As an owner of real estate, we are subject to various federal, state, and local environmental laws, regulations, and ordinances and also could be liable to third parties as a result of environmental contamination or noncompliance at our properties even if we no longer own such properties. See the discussion under Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” under the caption “Environmental compliance costs and liabilities associated with owning, leasing, developing and operating our properties may affect our results of operations.”
Certain Government Regulations
Our tenants and operators are typically subject to extensive and complex federal, state, and local health care laws and regulations relating to fraud and abuse practices, government reimbursement, licensure, protection of patient health information, and certificate of need and similar laws governing the operation of health care facilities, and we expect that the health care industry, in general, will continue to face increased regulation and pressure in the areas of fraud, waste and abuse, cost control, health care management, and provision of services, among others. These regulations are wide-ranging and can subject our tenants and operators to civil, criminal and administrative sanctions. Affected tenants and operators may find it increasingly difficult to comply with this complex and evolving regulatory environment because of a relative lack of guidance in many areas as certain of our health care properties are subject to oversight from several government agencies and the laws may vary from one jurisdiction to another. Changes in laws and regulations, reimbursement enforcement activity and regulatory non-compliance by our tenants and operators can all have a significant effect on their operations and financial condition, which in turn may adversely impact us, as detailed below and set forth under Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” under the caption “The health care industry is heavily regulated, and new laws or regulations, changes to existing laws or regulations, loss of licensure, or failure to obtain licensure could adversely impact our company and result in the inability of our tenants to make rent payments to us.”
In 2017, Congress came within a single vote of repealing of the Affordable Care Act and substantially reducing funding to the Medicaid program. New legislation may be introduced in the future, proposing changes, if not full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Beyond this, significant changes to commercial health insurance and government-sponsored insurance (e.g., Medicare and Medicaid) remain possible. Commercial and government payors are likely to continue imposing larger discounts and tighter cost controls upon operators, through reductions in reimbursement rates and changes in payment methodologies, discounted fee structures, the assumption by health care providers of all or a portion of the financial risk or otherwise. A shift toward less comprehensive health insurance coverage and increased consumer cost-sharing on health expenditures could have a material adverse effect on certain of our operators’ liquidity, financial condition, and results of operations and, in turn, their ability to satisfy their contractual obligations, including making rental payments under and otherwise complying with the terms of our leases.
The following is a discussion of certain laws and regulations generally applicable to our operators, and in certain cases, to us.
Health Care Legislation
Health Reform Laws. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “Affordable Care Act”) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which amends the Affordable Care Act (collectively with other subsequently enacted federal health care laws and regulations, the “Health Reform Laws”). The Health Reform Laws contain various provisions that may directly impact us or the operators and tenants of our properties. Some provisions of the Health Reform Laws may have a positive impact on our operators’ or tenants’ revenues, by, for example, increasing coverage of uninsured individuals, while others may have a negative impact on the reimbursement of our operators or tenants by, for example, altering the market basket adjustments for certain types of health care facilities. The Health Reform Laws also enhance certain fraud and abuse penalty provisions that could apply to our operators and tenants, in the event of one or more violations of the federal health care regulatory laws. In addition, there are provisions that impact the health coverage that we and our operators and tenants provide to our respective employees. The Health Reform Laws also provide additional Medicaid funding to allow states to carry out the expansion of Medicaid coverage to certain financially-eligible individuals beginning in 2014, and have also permitted states to expand their Medicaid coverage to these individuals since April 1, 2010, if certain conditions are met. On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate of the Health Reform Laws but partially invalidated the expansion of Medicaid. The ruling on Medicaid expansion allows states not to participate in the expansion-and to forego funding for the Medicaid expansion-without losing their existing Medicaid funding. As of December 1, 2020, 12 states have pursued the option not to adopt the Medicaid expansion. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have adopted the expansion. The participation by states in the Medicaid expansion could have the dual effect of increasing our tenants’ revenues, through new patients, but could also further strain state budgets. While the federal government paid for approximately 100% of those additional costs from 2014 to 2016, states now are expected to pay for part of those additional costs.
Challenges to the Health Reform Laws and Potential Repeal and/or Further Reforms under Trump Administration. Since the enactment of the Health Reform Laws, there have been multiple attempts through legislative action and legal challenge to repeal or amend the Health Reform Laws, including the case that was before the U.S. Supreme Court, King v. Burwell. Although the Supreme Court in Burwell upheld the use of subsidies to individuals in federally-facilitated health care exchanges on June 25, 2015, which ultimately did not disrupt significantly the implementation of the Health Reform Laws, we cannot predict whether other current or future efforts to repeal, amend or challenge the validity of all or part of the Health Reform Laws will be successful, nor can we predict the impact that such a repeal, amendment or challenge would have on our operators or tenants and their ability to meet their obligations to us.
In 2017, former President Trump and Congress unsuccessfully sought to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On January 20, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order stating that it is the administration’s official policy to repeal the Affordable Care Act and instructing the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies with authority and responsibility under the Affordable Care Act to, among other matters, delay implementation of or grant an exemption from any provision of the Affordable Care Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any state or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, health care providers, health insurers, patients, and others. On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”) was signed into law. The Tax Act, among other things, reduces the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty to zero beginning in 2019. The elimination of the penalties does not remove the requirement to obtain health care coverage; however, without penalties there effectively will be no enforcement. On December 14, 2018, a federal district court in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was unconstitutional. The court also ruled that the provisions of the individual mandate were not severable from the remainder of the Affordable Care Act, rendering the remainder of the Affordable Care Act invalid as well. Following a series of appeals, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on November 10, 2020, with a decision expected in 2021. The law remains in place pending a final decision.
It is possible that Congress will continue to consider other legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act or repeal and replace some or all elements of the Affordable Care Act. In addition, Congress is considering authorization of significant additional funding for health care services to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a final rule on June 21, 2018 authorizing the creation of Association Health Plans (“AHP”). This rule was one of three components of a 2017 Executive Order to increase consumer health insurance options and also created short-term limited duration health insurance and health reimbursement arrangements. On March 28, 2019, the US District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the AHP. On April 26, 2019, the DOJ appealed that decision.
On June 24, 2019, former President Trump signed an Executive Order on Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Health Care to Put Patients First. The Order was intended to increase the availability of meaningful price and quality information for patients. CMS included in its final rule for Medicare hospital outpatient payment, the requirement that
hospitals make public their standard charges, along with payer-specific negotiated rates, in a consumer-friendly format. This requirement was to be effective January 1, 2020. In 2019, the AHA and other hospital groups initiated litigation against DHHS/CMS to prevent implementation of this price transparency rule. The AHA was unsuccessful in challenging this rule which became effective January 1, 2021. The public availability of hospital charges may give patients information to select physician office-based care rather than in the hospital.
We cannot predict the effect of Trump or Biden Executive Orders, the Tax Act’s 2019 repeal of the individual mandate penalty on the Affordable Care Act, or the Texas court’s decision or any appeal thereof, the decision on the AHP rule or any appeal thereof, other state-based litigation, or whether Congress’ attempt to change the law will be successful. Further, we cannot predict how the Affordable Care Act might be amended or modified, either through the legislative or judicial process, and how any such modification might impact our tenants’ operations or the net effect of this law on us. If the operations, cash flows or financial condition of our operators and tenants are materially adversely impacted by any repeal or modification of the law, our revenue and operations may be materially adversely affected as well.
Fraud and Abuse Enforcement
There are various extremely complex federal and state laws and regulations governing health care providers’ relationships and arrangements and prohibiting fraudulent and abusive practices by such providers. These laws include (i) federal and state false claims acts, which, among other things, prohibit providers from filing false claims or making false statements to receive payment from Medicare, Medicaid or other federal or state health care programs, (ii) federal and state anti-kickback and fee-splitting statutes, including the Medicare and Medicaid anti-kickback statute, which prohibit the payment or receipt of remuneration to induce referrals or recommendations of health care items or services, (iii) federal and state physician self-referral laws (commonly referred to as the “Stark Law”), which generally prohibit referrals by physicians to entities with which the physician or an immediate family member has a financial relationship, (iv) the federal Civil Monetary Penalties Law, which prohibits, among other things, the knowing presentation of a false or fraudulent claim for certain health care services and (v) federal and state privacy laws, including the privacy and security rules contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which provide for the privacy and security of personal health information. Violations of health care fraud and abuse laws carry civil, criminal and administrative sanctions, including punitive sanctions, monetary penalties, imprisonment, denial of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and potential exclusion from Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal or state health care programs. These laws are enforced by a variety of federal, state, and local agencies and can also be enforced by private litigants through, among other things, federal and state false claims acts, which allow private litigants to bring qui tam or “whistleblower” actions. Many of our operators and tenants are subject to these laws, and some of them may in the future become the subject of governmental enforcement actions if they fail to comply with applicable laws.
Sources of revenue for many of our tenants and operators include, among other sources, governmental health care programs, such as the federal Medicare program, state Medicaid programs, and non-governmental payors, such as insurance payors, managed care organizations (MCOs), health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). As federal and state governments focus on health care reform initiatives, and as the federal government and many states face significant budget deficits, efforts to reduce costs by these payors will likely continue, which may result in reduced or slower growth in reimbursement for certain services provided by some of our tenants and operators.
We cannot predict whether future Congressional action will reduce physician reimbursements. Efforts by other payors to reduce health care costs are likely to continue, which may result in reductions or slower growth in reimbursement for certain services provided by some of our tenants. Further, revenue realizable under third-party payor agreements can change after examination and retroactive adjustment by payors during the claims settlement process or as a result of post-payment audits. For example, payors may disallow requests for reimbursement based on determinations that certain costs are not reimbursable or reasonable, because additional documentation is necessary or because certain services were not covered or were not medically necessary. The Health Care Reform Laws and regulatory changes could impose further limitations on government and private payments to health care providers. In some cases, states have enacted or are considering enacting measures designed to reduce their Medicaid expenditures and to make changes to private health care insurance. In addition, the failure of any of our tenants to comply with various laws and regulations could jeopardize their ability to continue participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and other government sponsored payment programs. The financial impact on our tenants’ failure to comply with such laws and regulations could restrict their ability to make rent payments to us.
Health Care Licensure and Certificate of Need
Certain health care facilities in our portfolio are subject to extensive federal, state and local licensure, certification and inspection laws, and regulations. In addition, various licenses and permits are required to dispense narcotics, operate pharmacies and laboratories, handle radioactive materials, and operate equipment. Many states require certain health care providers to obtain a certificate of need, which requires prior approval for the construction, expansion, and closure of certain health care facilities. The approval process related to state certificate of need laws may impact some of our tenants’ and operators’ abilities to expand or change their businesses.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the “CAA”) signed by President Trump on December 27, 2020 will expand or extend Medicaid and Medicare payment for health care providers and services beginning in 2021. The CAA extends and supplements certain health care provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), enacted on March 27, 2020. Among other changes, the CAA will moderate reductions in physician payment that were scheduled to start on January 1, 2021, making approximately $3 billion available for physician services. The CAA authorizes $1.4 trillion to fund federal agencies through 2021, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which administers the Medicare and Medicaid programs at the national level. New patient protections will be established that restrict “surprise billing” by out-of-network health care providers and physicians and will restrict billing patients at higher rates than in-network providers.
Our website address is www.docreit.com. We make available, free of charge through the Investor Relations portion of the website, annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (as amended, the “Exchange Act”) as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or the “Commission”). Reports of beneficial ownership filed pursuant to Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act are also available on our website. These reports and other information are also available, free of charge, at www.sec.gov.
In addition, the Trust’s Board of Trustees has established a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics that applies to our officers, including our President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, trustees, and employees. The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics provides a statement of the Company’s policies and procedures for conducting business legally and ethically. A copy of the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is available in the Investor Relations section of our website (www.docreit.com) under the tab “Corporate Information - Governance Documents.” Any amendments to or waivers from the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics will be disclosed on our website. Information contained on our website is not part of this report.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
The following summarizes the most significant risks of purchasing or owning our securities. Additional unknown risks may also impair our financial performance and business operations. Our business, financial condition, and/or results of operation may be materially adversely affected by the nature and impact of these risks. In such case, the market value of our securities could be detrimentally affected, and investors may lose part or all of the value of their investment. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below.
We have grouped these risk factors into the following general categories:
•Risks related to our business;
•Risks related to the health care industry;
•Risks related to the real estate industry;
•Risks related to financings;
•Risks related to our portfolio and structure; and
•Risks related to our qualification and operation as a REIT.
Risks Related To Our Business
Our business and operations have and may continue to be adversely affected by the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and may be adversely affected by other outbreaks of pandemic disease.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to prevent its spread have, and could continue to have, and any other global outbreaks of pandemic disease could have, a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations, including liquidity, capital, and financing resources will depend on numerous evolving conditions that the Company cannot predict.
The COVID-19 pandemic has materially adversely impacted regional and global economies and financial markets. The impact of the outbreak has been rapidly evolving and, as cases of COVID-19 have continued to be identified in the United States, governmental authorities, including in many states and cities where we own properties, either directly or through joint ventures, where we have development projects, and where our principal place of business is located, have reacted by instituting measures to prevent its spread, including quarantines, social distancing mandates, face mask mandates, restrictions on travel and “shelter-in-place” rules. In addition, some states have limited business operations to those businesses carrying out essential services and other states have begun lifting their restrictions only to impose additional restrictions and mandates in the wake of increased COVID-19 cases. For example, recent increases in COVID-19 cases in certain areas of the country have resulted or may result in the imposition of additional protocols or restrictions by state and local governments. While many of our tenants that are hospitals or health care delivery systems are deemed essential services, certain state or other orders have discouraged or suspended the performance of elective medical procedures which has had an adverse impact on certain tenants' financial condition. These adverse economic conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially any downturns in the geographic areas in which we operate, and particularly in Texas and Georgia, or any downturn in the health care industry as a whole, may lower our occupancy levels and in certain cases, have required us to agree to rental concessions. In some cases, we have restructured some tenants' long-term rent obligations and may not be able to do so on terms that are as favorable to us as those currently in place. In addition, a number of federal, state, local, and industry-initiated efforts have been enacted that could adversely affect our ability to collect rent or enforce remedies for the failure to pay rent. These restrictions and initiatives have adversely affected our business to date and may continue to do so in the future. We cannot predict if additional states and cities will implement similar restrictions or initiatives, when restrictions and initiatives currently in place will expire, if additional restrictions or initiatives will be imposed, or if these or other restrictions or initiatives will be imposed in the future and the impact on our business of any such restrictions or initiatives.
Further, certain of our tenants have been able to secure stimulus funds under the CARES Act, the CAA or other government assistance programs. There is significant uncertainty regarding whether the U.S. Congress or state governmental authorities will pass further laws providing for additional stimulus, funding, or relief, and we are unable to predict whether additional stimulus measures will be enacted, whether our tenants will be eligible or will apply for any such funds, whether the funds, if available, could be used by tenants to pay rent or could affect or limit our tenants’ future operations, and/or whether the funds will be sufficient for tenants’ rent and other obligations to us. There can be no assurance as to the total amount of
financial and other types of assistance our tenants may receive under these programs, and we cannot predict the impact of any such future legislation on our tenants’ operations. Moreover, we are unable to assess the extent to which potential negative impacts on our tenants, and, in turn, to us, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic will be offset by amounts or benefits to be received under any government assistance programs. Any inability by our tenants to secure any such funds may impact their ability to pay their rent or other obligations to us, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
In addition, in light of health and safety concerns, the majority of our employees are currently working remotely. The effects of the applicable executive orders, including an extended period of remote work arrangements, could create increased vulnerability to cybersecurity breaches or incidents involving us or our third party managers, which could disrupt our business, compromise our confidential information and confidential information of third parties, including our tenants, damage our reputation, subject us to liability claims or regulatory penalties, and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, we depend upon the performance of our property managers to effectively manage certain of our properties and real estate assets. Remote work arrangements and other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could impair our and property managers' ability to effectively manage our properties, which could also adversely impact our business and results of operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic, or a future pandemic, could also have material adverse effects on our ability to successfully operate our business, our financial condition, our results of operations, and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders due to, among other factors:
•a complete or partial closure of, or other operational issues at, one or more of our properties resulting from government or tenant action;
•the reduced economic activity impacting our tenants' businesses, including a suspension or a reduction in elective medical or surgical procedures that can be deferred, which may have a material adverse effect on our tenant's financial condition and liquidity and may cause one or more of our tenants to be unable to pay their rent to us in full, or at all, or to otherwise seek rental concessions or modifications of their monetary obligations under their leases;
•difficulty finding suitable replacement tenants in the event of a tenant default or non-renewal of our leases, especially for our properties in smaller markets;
•reduced economic activity that could result in a recession or other prolonged adverse economic condition that could negatively impact the real estate industry, resulting in declining demand for real estate, which may affect our ability to sell any of our properties at a profit, or at all, in the future;
•the general decline in business activity and demand for real estate transactions, which has adversely affected, and is likely to continue affecting, our ability to acquire additional properties;
•the decline in the market price of our common shares, which could adversely impact our ability to access equity capital markets and require us to try to rely on debt financing to fund our capital needs, which may not be available on acceptable terms or at all;
•any debt financing we may be able to secure could increase our leverage, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who have less debt, and could place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who have debt on more favorable terms;
•any inability to comply with covenants under our debt agreements, which could result in a default under the applicable debt agreement and could trigger a cross-default under other indebtedness, which could cause an acceleration of our indebtedness, result in a downgrade in our credit rating, or negatively impact our ability to incur additional indebtedness;
•any impairment in value of our tangible or intangible assets which could be recorded as a result of weaker economic conditions or if a tenant at one of our properties fails to pay rent; and
•the potential negative impact on the health of our personnel, particularly if a significant number of them are impacted, could impair our ability to perform critical functions and may cause a disruption in our business operations.
The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts, and will continue to impact, our operations and those of our tenants will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including the scope, severity, and duration of the pandemic including whether there are additional waves or other additional periods of increased COVID-19 cases and the availability and effectiveness of vaccines or an effective treatment, the actions taken to contain the pandemic or mitigate its impact including mandatory closures, shelter-in-place or social distancing measures, face mask measures, travel restrictions or quarantine mandates, and the direct and indirect economic effects of the pandemic and containment measures, among others. The rapid development and fluidity of this situation precludes our ability to predict the full adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. If we are unable to respond and manage the impact of these events, our business, financial condition, and results of operations including liquidity, capital, and financing resources may continue to be adversely affected.
Our real estate investments are concentrated in health care properties, and any downturn in the health care industry could materially affect our business.
We acquire, own, manage, operate, and selectively develop properties for lease primarily to physicians, hospitals, and health care delivery systems. We are subject to risks inherent in concentrating investments in real estate, and further from the concentration of our investments in the health care sector. Any adverse effects that result from these risks could be more pronounced than if we diversified our investments outside of health care properties. Given our concentration in this sector, our tenant base is especially concentrated and dependent upon the health care industry generally, and any industry downturn could adversely affect the ability of our tenants to make lease payments and our ability to maintain current rental and occupancy rates. Our tenant mix could become even more concentrated if a significant portion of our tenants practice in a particular medical field or are reliant upon a particular health care delivery system. Accordingly, a downturn in the health care industry generally, or in the health care-related facility specifically, could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares.
Economic and other conditions that negatively affect geographic areas in which we conduct business, and in particular Texas, and other areas to which a greater percentage of our revenue is attributed could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our operating results depend upon our ability to maintain and increase occupancy levels and rental rates at our properties. Adverse economic or other conditions in the geographic markets in which we operate, including periods of economic slowdown or recession, industry slowdowns, periods of deflation, relocation of businesses, changing demographics, pandemics, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, the effects of climate change, earthquakes and other natural disasters, fires, terrorist acts, civil disturbances or acts of war, and other man-made disasters which may result in uninsured or underinsured losses, and changes in tax, real estate, zoning, and other laws and regulations, may lower our occupancy levels and limit our ability to increase rents or require us to offer rental concessions.
As of December 31, 2020, approximately 2.0 million square feet of our gross leasable area and $48.8 million of our total consolidated annualized base rent was derived from properties located in Texas (14.2% of our gross leasable area and 15.9% of our total consolidated annualized base rent). As a result of this geographic concentration, we are particularly exposed to downturns in the Texas economy or other changes in local real estate market conditions. Any material change in the current payment programs or regulatory, economic, environmental, or competitive conditions in Texas could have a disproportionate effect on our overall business results. In the event of negative economic or other changes in any of the markets in which we conduct business, our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares may be adversely affected.
In addition, one of our strategies is to capitalize on shifting consumer preferences and other demographic and market trends by pursuing off-campus properties consistent with our investment philosophy and strategies. We may not be successful in identifying and acquiring suitable off-campus properties that meet our investment criteria or that we can acquire on satisfactory terms. Further, if such preferences and trends do not continue, such off-campus properties may not produce the expected benefits or command the same rent as our on-campus affiliated properties, and we may not be able to lease such properties on terms acceptable to us, or at all. If we are unable to successfully acquire, lease, and operate such off-campus properties, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely impacted.
We have and may in the future make investments in joint ventures, which could be adversely affected by our lack of decision-making authority, our reliance upon our joint venture partners’ financial condition, any disputes that may arise between us and our joint venture partners and our exposure to potential losses from the actions of our joint venture partners.
We have and may in the future make co-investments with third parties through partnerships, joint ventures, or other entities, acquiring noncontrolling interests in or sharing responsibility for the management of the affairs of a property, partnership, joint venture or other entity. Joint ventures generally involve risks not present with respect to our wholly-owned properties, including the following:
•our joint venture partners may make decisions with which we disagree or that are not in our best interest;
•we may be prevented from taking actions that are opposed by our joint venture partners;
•our ability to transfer our interest in a joint venture to a third party may be restricted;
•our joint venture partners might become bankrupt or fail to fund their share of required capital contributions which may delay construction or development of a health care related facility or increase our financial commitment to the joint venture;
•our joint venture partners may have economic or business interests or goals with respect to the health care related facility or the joint venture that are or become inconsistent with our business interests and goals which could increase the likelihood of disputes regarding the ownership, management, or disposition of the health care related facility or the joint venture may compete with us for property acquisitions;
•disputes may develop with our joint venture partners over decisions affecting the health care related facility or the joint venture which may result in litigation or arbitration that would increase our expenses and distract our officers and/or trustees from focusing their time and effort on our business and possibly disrupt the daily operations of the health care related facility; and
•we may suffer losses as a result of the actions of our joint venture partners with respect to our joint venture investments.
Joint venture investments involve risks that may not be present with other methods of ownership. In addition to those risks identified above, our partners may be in a position to take action or withhold consent contrary to our instructions or requests. In the future, in certain instances, we or our partners may have the right to trigger a buy-sell arrangement, which could cause us to sell our interest, or acquire our partners’ interest, at a time when we otherwise would not have initiated such a transaction. Our ability to acquire our partners’ interest may be limited if we do not have sufficient cash, available borrowing capacity, or other capital resources. In such event, we may be forced to sell our interest in the joint venture when we would otherwise prefer to retain it. Joint ventures may require us to share decision-making authority with our partners, which could limit our ability to control the properties in the joint ventures. Even when we have a controlling interest, certain major decisions may require partner approval, such as the sale, acquisition or financing of a property.
Our health care properties and tenants face competition from nearby hospitals and other health care properties, and we may not realize the benefits that we anticipate from focusing on health care properties that are strategically aligned with a health care delivery system and from the relationships established through such strategic alignments. Further, we may not be able to maintain or expand our relationships with our existing and future hospital and health care delivery system clients.
As part of our business strategy, we focus on health care properties that are strategically aligned with a health care delivery system by (i) seeking to acquire, own, manage, and develop health care properties that are located on medical campuses where the underlying land is owned by a health care delivery system or by us, or (ii) seeking to acquire, own, manage, and develop health care properties located in close proximity to a health care delivery system or strategically aligned with a health care delivery system through leasing or other arrangements. We may not realize the benefits that we anticipate as a result of these strategic relationships, such as increased rents and reduced tenant turnover rates as compared to health care properties that are not strategically aligned. Moreover, building a portfolio of health care properties that are strategically aligned does not assure the success of any given property. The associated health care delivery system may not be successful and the strategic alignment that we seek for our health care properties could dissolve, and we may not succeed in replacing them. In addition, our health care properties, the associated health care delivery systems with which our health care properties are strategically aligned, and our tenants may be unable to compete successfully with nearby hospitals, medical practices, other health care properties that provide comparable services, pharmacies and other retailers, like CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, and others, that may initiate or expand health care clinic operations and services to compete with our tenants. Any of our properties may be materially and adversely affected if the health care delivery system with which it is strategically aligned is unable to compete successfully. If we do not realize the benefits that we anticipate from our business strategy and our strategic alignments dissolve and we are not successful in replacing them, our reputation, business, financial results, and prospects may be adversely affected.
The success of our business depends, to a large extent, on our current and future relationships with hospital and health care delivery system clients. We invest a significant amount of time to develop, maintain, and be responsive to these relationships, and our relationships have helped us to secure acquisition and development opportunities, as well as other advisory, property management, and projects, with both new and existing clients. If our relationships with hospital or health system clients deteriorate, if a conflict of interest or non-compete arrangement prevents us from expanding these relationships, or if a hospital on or near whose campus one of our properties is located fails or becomes unable to meet its financial obligations, the business of our tenants could be adversely affected or our ability to secure new acquisition and development opportunities or other advisory, property management, and hospital project management projects could be adversely impacted and our professional reputation within the industry could be damaged.
Any failure, inability, or unwillingness by our tenants to pay rent or other amounts under leases could materially adversely affect our financial results; we may have difficulty finding suitable replacement tenants in the event of a tenant default or non-renewal of our leases, especially for our properties located in smaller markets.
Our portfolio of health care properties is leased to physicians, hospitals, health care delivery systems, and other health care providers and our revenues are subject to the financial strength of our tenants. We cannot provide assurance that our tenants will have sufficient assets, income, and access to financing to enable them to satisfy their respective obligations to us, and any failure, inability or unwillingness by our tenants to do so could adversely affect our financial results. We have had tenants pay us rent late or fail to pay rent, which has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and has adversely affected our financial results.
We cannot predict whether our tenants will renew or extend existing leases beyond their current terms. Nearly all of our properties are subject to leases which have multi-year terms. As of December 31, 2020, leases representing 4.3% and 4.4% of leased square feet at our consolidated properties will expire in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and leases representing 0.2% of leased square feet had expired as of December 31, 2020. If any of our leases are not renewed or extended, or if a tenant defaults under the terms of its lease or becomes insolvent, we would attempt to relet those spaces or properties to other tenants or new tenants. In case of non-renewal, we generally have advance notice before expiration of the lease term to arrange for reletting or repositioning of the spaces or the properties and our tenants are required to continue to perform all of their obligations (including the payment of all rental amounts) under the non-renewed leases until such expiration. However, following expiration of a lease term or if we exercise our right to replace a tenant in default, rental payments on the related properties could decline or cease altogether while we relet or reposition the spaces or the properties with suitable replacement tenants. We also might not be successful in identifying suitable replacement tenants or entering into leases with new tenants on a timely basis or on terms as favorable to us as our current leases, or at all, and we may be required to fund certain expenses and obligations (e.g., real estate taxes, debt costs, and maintenance expenses) to preserve the value of, and avoid the imposition of liens on, our properties while they are being relet or repositioned. Our ability to relet or reposition our properties, or spaces within our properties, with suitable tenants could be significantly delayed or limited by state licensing, receivership, certificate of need or other laws, as well as by the Medicare and Medicaid change-of-ownership rules. We could also incur substantial additional expenses in connection with any licensing, receivership, or change-of-ownership proceedings. In addition, our ability to locate suitable replacement tenants could be impaired by the specialized health care uses or contractual restrictions on use of the properties, and we may be required to spend substantial amounts to adapt the properties to other uses. Any such delays, limitations and expenses could adversely impact our ability to collect rent, obtain possession of leased properties, or otherwise exercise remedies for tenant default and could have a material adverse effect on us or cause us to take an impairment charge on a property.
All of these risks may be greater in smaller markets, where there may be fewer potential replacement tenants, making it more difficult to replace tenants, especially for specialized spaces, like hospital or outpatient treatment facilities located in our properties, and could have a material adverse effect on us.
If the business, financial position or results of operations of CommonSpirit Health or one or more of our CommonSpirit Health-affiliated tenants suffer or are adversely affected, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, or results of operations.
As of December 31, 2020, tenants affiliated with CommonSpirit Health (“CommonSpirit”), represented approximately 16.7% of our total consolidated annualized base rent. Although CommonSpirit is not a party to nor a guarantor of the related lease agreements, it controls each of the subsidiaries and affiliates that are parties to a master lease agreement we have with the CommonSpirit tenants. Given this control, if CommonSpirit’s business, financial position or results of operations suffer or are adversely affected, it could adversely affect its ability to provide any financial or operational support for the subsidiaries and affiliates it controls, which could adversely affect one or more of the CommonSpirit-affiliated tenants’ ability to pay rent to us. In addition, if CommonSpirit were to cause its subsidiaries or affiliates to terminate any of their leases, vacate the leased premises, or consolidate, downsize, or relocate their operations from any of our premises, or if the subsidiaries and affiliates do not comply with the health care regulations to which the leased properties and operations are subject, we may be required to find other lessees for any affected leased properties and there could be a decrease or cessation of rental payments by CommonSpirit’s subsidiaries and affiliates. Additionally, if CommonSpirit’s business, financial position or results of operations were to suffer or its credit ratings were to be downgraded, it could cause investors to lose confidence in our ability to collect rent from the CommonSpirit-affiliated tenants and could cause our stock price to decline. Moreover, there can be no assurance that CommonSpirit’s subsidiaries and affiliates will have sufficient assets, income, and access to financing to enable them to satisfy their payment obligations under their lease agreements. The inability of any of these subsidiaries and affiliates to meet their rent obligations could materially adversely affect our business, financial position, or results of operations including our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders as required to maintain our status as a REIT. The inability of CommonSpirit’s
subsidiaries and affiliates to satisfy their other obligations under their lease agreements such as the payment of taxes, insurance, and utilities could have a material adverse effect on the condition of the leased properties as well as on our business, financial position, and results of operations. For these reasons, if CommonSpirit were to experience a material adverse effect on its business, financial position, or results of operations, our business, financial position, or results of operations could also be materially adversely affected.
We may not be successful in identifying and completing off-market acquisitions and other suitable acquisitions or investment opportunities, which may impede our growth and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
An important component of our growth strategy is to acquire “off-market” properties before they are widely marketed by the owners. Facilities that are acquired off-market are typically more attractive to us as a purchaser because of the absence of a formal marketing process, which could lead to higher prices or other unattractive terms. If we cannot obtain off-market deal flow in the future, our ability to locate and acquire facilities at attractive prices could be adversely affected. We expect to compete with many other entities engaged in real estate investment activities for acquisitions of health care properties, including national, regional, and local operators, acquirers and developers of health care-related real estate properties, and other investors such as private equity firms, some of whom may have greater financial resources and lower costs of capital than we do. The competition for health care-related real estate properties may significantly increase the price that we must pay for health care properties or other assets that we seek to acquire, and our competitors may succeed in acquiring those properties or 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 REITs that target health care properties may enjoy significant competitive advantages that result from, among other things, a lower cost of capital, enhanced operating efficiencies, more personnel and market penetration, and familiarity with markets. In addition, the number of entities and the amount of funds competing for suitable investment properties may increase. Increased competition would result in increased demand for these assets and therefore likely would increase prices paid for them. Those higher prices for health care properties or other assets may adversely affect our returns from our investments.
We have and may in the future make investments in development projects, which may not yield anticipated returns which could directly affect our operating results and reduce the amount of funds available for distributions.
A component of our growth strategy is exploring development opportunities, some of which may arise through strategic joint ventures. In deciding whether to make an investment in a particular development, we make certain assumptions regarding the expected future performance of that property. To the extent that we consummate development opportunities, our investment in these projects will be subject to the following risks:
•we may not be able to obtain financing for development projects on favorable terms or at all;
•we may not complete development projects on schedule or within budgeted amounts;
•we may encounter delays in obtaining or fail to obtain all necessary zoning, land use, building, occupancy, environmental and other governmental permits and authorizations, or underestimate the costs necessary to develop the property to market standards;
•development or construction delays may provide tenants the right to terminate preconstruction leases or cause us to incur additional costs;
•volatility in the price of construction materials or labor may increase our development costs;
•hospitals or health systems may maintain significant decision-making authority with respect to the development schedule;
•we may incorrectly forecast risks associated with development in new geographic regions;
•tenants may not lease space at the quantity or rental rate levels projected;
•demand for our development project may decrease prior to completion, including due to competition from other developments; and
•lease rates and rents at newly developed properties may fluctuate based on factors beyond our control, including market and economic conditions.
If our investments in development projects do not yield anticipated returns for any reason, including those set forth above, our business, financial condition and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders and the trading price of our common shares may be adversely affected.
Some of our existing properties and properties we acquire in the future are and may be subject to ground lease or other restrictions on the use of the space. If we are required to undertake significant capital expenditures to procure new tenants, then our business and results of operations may suffer.
Eighty-one of our consolidated properties, representing approximately 44.5% of our total leasable square feet and 42.8% of our annualized revenue based on rental payments for the month ended December 31, 2020, are subject to ground leases that contain certain restrictions. These restrictions include limits on our ability to re-lease our initial properties to tenants not affiliated with the health care delivery system that owns the underlying property, rights of purchase and rights of first offer and refusal with respect to sales of the property, and limits on the types of medical procedures that may be performed. As a lessee under a ground lease, we are also exposed to the possibility of losing the property upon expiration of the ground lease term or earlier breach by us of the ground lease. In addition, lower than expected rental rates, including annual rent escalators, upon re-leasing could impede our growth. We may not be able to re-lease space on terms that are favorable to us or at all. Further, we may be required to undertake significant capital expenditures to renovate or reconfigure space to attract new tenants. If we are unable to promptly re-lease our initial properties, if the rates upon such re-leasing are significantly lower than expected, or if we are required to undertake significant capital expenditures in connection with re-leasing, our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares may be adversely affected.
Uninsured losses or losses in excess of our insurance coverage could adversely affect our financial condition and our cash flows.
We maintain and we require our tenants and property managers to maintain when appropriate, desirable, or necessary, comprehensive liability, fire, flood, earthquake, wind (as deemed necessary or as required by our lenders), extended coverage, and rental loss insurance with respect to our properties. Certain types of losses, however, may be either uninsurable or not economically insurable, such as losses due to pandemics and other communicable diseases, riots, acts of war, or terrorism. Should an uninsured loss occur, we could lose both our investment in and anticipated profits and cash flows from a health care-related facility. If any such loss is insured, we may be required to pay a significant deductible on any claim for recovery of such a loss prior to our insurer being obligated to reimburse us for the loss, or the amount of the loss may exceed our coverage for the loss. In addition, future lenders may require such insurance, and our failure to obtain such insurance could constitute a default under loan agreements. We may determine not to insure some or all of our properties at levels considered customary in our industry, which would expose us to an increased risk of loss. As a result, our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares may be adversely affected.
Environmental compliance costs and liabilities associated with owning, leasing, developing, and operating our properties may affect our results of operations.
Under various U.S. federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, and regulations, current and prior owners and tenants of real estate may be jointly and severally liable for the costs of investigating, remediating, and monitoring certain hazardous substances or other regulated materials on or in such property. In addition to these costs, the past or present owner or tenant of a property from which a release emanates could be liable for any personal injury or property damage that results from such releases, including for the unauthorized release of asbestos-containing materials and other hazardous substances into the air, as well as any damages to natural resources or the environment that arise from such releases. These environmental laws often impose such liability without regard to whether the current or prior owner or tenant knew of, or was responsible for, the presence or release of such substances or materials. Moreover, the release of hazardous substances or materials, or the failure to properly remediate such substances or materials, may adversely affect the owner’s or tenant’s ability to lease, sell, develop, or rent such property or to borrow by using such property as collateral. Persons who transport or arrange for the disposal or treatment of hazardous substances or other regulated materials may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of such substances at a disposal or treatment facility, regardless of whether or not such facility is owned or operated by such person.
Certain environmental laws impose compliance obligations on owners and tenants of real property with respect to the management of hazardous substances and other regulated materials. For example, environmental laws govern the management and removal of asbestos-containing materials and lead-based paint. Failure to comply with these laws can result in penalties or other sanctions. If we incur substantial costs to comply with these environmental laws or we are held liable under these laws, our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares may be adversely affected.
We may be unable to make distributions which could result in a decrease in the market price of our common shares.
Substantially all of our assets are held through the Operating Partnership, which holds substantially all of its properties and assets through subsidiaries. Our Operating Partnership’s cash flow is dependent upon cash distributions to it by its subsidiaries, and in turn, substantially all of the Trust’s cash flow is dependent upon cash distributions to it by the Operating Partnership. The creditors of each of our direct and indirect subsidiaries are entitled to payment of that subsidiary’s obligation to them, as and when due and payable, before distributions may be made by that subsidiary to its equity holders. Therefore, our Operating Partnership’s ability to make distributions to holders of OP Units, including the Trust, depends on its subsidiaries’ ability first to satisfy their obligations to their creditors and then to make distributions to the Operating Partnership. Finally, the Trust’s ability to pay dividends to holders of common shares depends upon our Operating Partnership’s ability to first satisfy its obligations to its creditors and then to make distributions to the Trust.
While we expect to make regular quarterly distributions to the holders of our common shares, if sufficient cash is not available for distribution from our operations, we may have to fund distributions from working capital, borrow to provide funds for such distributions, or reduce the amount of such distributions. To the extent we borrow to fund distributions, our future interest costs would increase, thereby reducing our earnings and cash available for distributions from what they otherwise would have been. If cash available for distribution generated by our assets is less than expected, or if such cash available for distribution decreases in future periods from expected levels, our inability to make distributions could result in a decrease in the market price of our common shares. All distributions are made at the discretion of our Board of Trustees. Any inability to make distributions, or to make distributions at expected levels in the future, could result in a decrease in the market price of our common shares.
Cybersecurity incidents could disrupt our business and result in the compromise of confidential information.
Our business is at risk from and may be impacted by cybersecurity attacks, or other significant disruptions to the Company’s information technology systems involving us, our tenants, or any third party property managers, including attempts to gain unauthorized access to our confidential data, and other electronic security breaches, including those resulting from human error or technology failures. These cybersecurity risks may be heightened as a result of our tenants increased use of telehealth services. Such cyber attacks can range from individual attempts to gain unauthorized access to our information technology systems to more sophisticated security threats. In the past, we have experienced cybersecurity breaches, which to date have not had a material impact on our operations, but there can be no assurance that any future breach or disruption will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or operations. While we employ a number of measures to prevent, detect and mitigate these threats, there is no guarantee such efforts will be successful in preventing a cyber attack. Even well-protected information technology systems remain vulnerable, as techniques used in such attempted attacks continually evolve and in some cases are designed not to be detected and may not be detected.
In addition, we rely on third party property managers to manage certain of our properties and real estate assets. We face risks associated with cybersecurity attacks or breaches affecting such third party property managers. A cybersecurity attack or a security breach at any such third party could be perceived as a cybersecurity attack or a breach of our system. Cybersecurity incidents or other disruptions could disrupt our business, compromise confidential information of ours and third parties, including our tenants, damage to our reputation, subject us to liability claims or regulatory penalties and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
A failure to meet market expectations with respect to our business could negatively affect the market price of our common shares and thereby limit our ability to raise capital.
The availability of equity capital to us will depend, in part, upon the market price of our common shares which, in turn, will depend upon various market conditions and other factors that may change from time to time. Our failure to meet the market’s expectation with regard to future earnings and cash distributions may adversely affect the market price of our common shares and, as a result, the cost and availability of equity capital to us.
In addition, the vesting of any restricted shares granted to trustees, executive officers, and other employees under our 2013 Equity Incentive Plan, the issuance of our common shares or OP Units in connection with future property, portfolio or business acquisitions, and other issuances of our common shares, including pursuant to our ATM program, may cause dilution to our shareholders and could have an adverse effect on the per share market price of our common shares and may adversely affect the terms upon which we may be able to obtain additional capital through the sale of equity securities.
Increases in interest rates may increase our interest expense and adversely affect our cash flows, our ability to service our indebtedness and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and could cause our stock price to decline. Failure to hedge effectively against interest rate changes may adversely affect our results of operations.
One of the factors that influences the market price of our common shares is the dividend yield on common shares (as a percentage of the price of our common shares) relative to market interest rates. In response to the global financial crisis, the U.S. Federal Reserve took actions which resulted in low interest rates prevailing in the marketplace for a historically long period of time. From 2015 to 2018, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate. While the U.S. Federal Reserve decreased its benchmark interest rate in 2019 and again in 2020 in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may raise its benchmark interest rate in the future. Further increases in market interest rates may lead prospective purchasers of our common shares to expect a higher dividend yield (with a resulting decline in the market price of our common shares) and higher interest rates would likely increase our borrowing costs for both our existing and future indebtedness and potentially decrease funds available for distribution. Thus, higher market interest rates could cause the market price of our common shares to decrease.
Additionally, as of December 31, 2020, we had approximately $172.1 million of variable-rate indebtedness outstanding that has not been swapped for a fixed interest rate. Certain indebtedness in the future, including borrowings under our unsecured revolving credit facility since December 31, 2020 and thereafter, will be subject to variable interest rates. Increases in interest rates on any variable rate indebtedness will increase our interest expense, which could adversely affect our cash flow and our ability to pay distributions to our shareholders.
In certain cases, we may seek to manage our exposure to interest rate volatility by using interest rate hedging arrangements. Hedging involves risks, such as the risk that the counterparty may fail to honor its obligations under an arrangement, that the arrangements may not be effective in reducing our exposure to interest rate changes, and that a court could rule that such an agreement is not legally enforceable. In addition, we may be limited in the type and amount of hedging transactions that we may use in the future by our need to satisfy the REIT income tests under the Code. Failure to hedge effectively against interest rate changes may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares.
The income from certain of our properties is dependent on the ability of third party property managers to successfully manage those properties.
We depend upon the performance of third party property managers to effectively manage certain of our properties and real estate assets. Approximately 40.3% of our total portfolio gross leasable area is managed by third party property managers. We do not control third party property managers, and are accordingly subject to various risks generally associated with outsourcing of management of day-to-day activities. The income we recognize from any properties managed by third party property managers is dependent on the ability of the property manager of such property to successfully manage the property, which such property management is not within our control. Property managers generally compete with other companies in the management of properties, with respect to the quality of care provided, reputation, physical appearance of the property, and price and location, among other attributes. A property manager’s inability to successfully compete with other companies on one or more of the foregoing aspects could adversely impact our business and results of operations. Additionally, because we do not control third party property managers, any adverse events such as issues related to insufficient internal controls, cybersecurity incidents, or other adverse events may impact the income we recognize from properties managed by such third party property managers. We may be unable to anticipate such events or properly assess the magnitude of any such events because we do not control third party property managers who provide property management services to us.
Risks Related to the Health Care Industry
The health care industry is heavily regulated, and new laws or regulations, changes to existing laws and regulations, health policies, reimbursement levels from third-party payors, loss of licensure, or failure to obtain licensure could adversely impact our company and result in the inability of our tenants to make rent payments to us.
The health care industry is heavily regulated by U.S. federal, state and local governmental authorities. Our tenants generally are subject to laws and regulations covering, among other things, licensure, certification for participation in government programs, billing for services, privacy and security of health information, and relationships with physicians and other referral sources. In addition, new laws and regulations, changes in existing laws and regulations or changes in the interpretation of such laws or regulations could negatively affect our financial condition and the financial condition of our tenants. These changes, in some cases, could apply retroactively. The enactment, timing, or effect of legislative or regulatory changes cannot be predicted.
The Affordable Care Act, along with other U.S. health care reform efforts, has resulted in significant health care reform since it was signed into law in 2010, including by changing how health care services are covered, delivered, and reimbursed through expanded coverage of uninsured individuals and reduced Medicare program spending. The complexities and ramifications of the Affordable Care Act are significant and were implemented in a phased approach which began in 2010. It remains difficult to predict the full effects of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on our business, our revenues, and financial condition and those of our tenants due to the law’s complexity, lack of implementing regulations or interpretive guidance, gradual implementation, partial repeal, and possible full repeal. Further, we are unable to foresee how individuals and businesses will respond to the choices afforded them by the Affordable Care Act, or the effect of any potential changes made to the Affordable Care Act or other health care laws and programs. The Affordable Care Act could adversely affect the reimbursement rates received by our tenants, the financial success of our tenants and strategic partners and consequently us.
On January 20, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order stating that it is the administration’s official policy to repeal the Affordable Care Act and instructing the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies with authority and responsibility under the Affordable Care Act to, among other matters, minimize the economic and regulatory impacts of the Affordable Care Act to the extent permitted by law. On December 22, 2017, the Tax Act was signed into law. The Tax Act, amongst other things, repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty beginning in 2019. The elimination of the penalties does not remove the requirement to obtain health care coverage; however, without penalties there effectively will be no enforcement. On December 14, 2018, a federal district court in Texas ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was unconstitutional. The court also ruled that the provisions of the individual mandate were not severable from the remainder of the Affordable Care Act, rendering the remainder of the Affordable Care Act invalid as well. The Affordable Care Act remains law while the appeals process continues, and it is uncertain whether this or any future attempts to amend or repeal the law will be successful. We cannot predict the impact or effect that the Executive Order, the Tax Act’s 2019 repeal of the individual mandate penalty on the Affordable Care Act, or any future judicial decision or legislative amendment to the Affordable Care Act may have on us or our tenants. Further, we cannot predict how the Affordable Care Act may be amended or modified, either through the legislative or judicial process, and how any such modification might impact our tenants’ operations or the net effect of this law on us. Both our tenants and we may be materially adversely affected by the law or its repeal, amendment, or replacement, and if the operations, cash flows, or financial condition of our operators and tenants are materially adversely impacted by any repeal or modification of the law, our revenue and operations may be materially adversely affected as well.
Changes to health care laws and regulations, including to government reimbursement programs such as Medicare and reimbursement rates applicable to our current and future tenants, could have a material adverse effect on the financial condition of our tenants and, consequently, their ability to meet obligations to us.
Statutory, regulatory, and reimbursement policy changes and judicial decisions may impact one or more specific providers that lease space in any of our facilities. The laws and regulations applicable to the health care industry are subject to frequent and substantial changes that may have a dramatic effect on the permissible or impermissible activities, costs of doing business, availability, and amount of reimbursement by both government and other third-party payors, and the costs of complying with such laws and regulations. Such changes could adversely affect the ability of our tenants to make rent payments to us, which may have an adverse effect on our business, operations, and financial condition. This may in turn have an adverse effect on our ability to make distributions to our shareholders and the market price of our common shares.
For example, our tenants are generally subject to laws and regulations covering, among other things, laws protecting consumers against deceptive practices, laws relating to the operation of properties and businesses, such as fire, health and safety, data security and privacy laws, laws affecting hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers that participate in
Medicare and/or Medicaid that specify reimbursement rates, pricing, reimbursement procedures, payment policies, HOPD eligibility, quality of services and care, background checks, anti-kickback and physician referral laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) and similar state and local laws, regulations established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), requirements and regulations established by CMS, and other legislation such as the CARES Act and the CAA.
These laws, policies and regulations and any amendments or newly established laws or regulations may have an adverse financial impact on the net operating revenues and profitability of many of our tenants, including MOBs, long term care hospitals (“LTCH”) and other physicians offices. This could adversely affect their ability to pay rent.
Many states also regulate the establishment and construction of health care facilities and services, and the expansion of existing health care facilities and services through certificate of need, or CON, laws, which may include regulation of certain types of beds, medical equipment, and capital expenditures. Under such laws, the applicable state regulatory body must determine a need exists for a project before the project can be undertaken. If any of our tenants seeks to undertake a CON-regulated project, but are not authorized by the applicable regulatory body to proceed with the project, these tenants could be prevented from operating in their intended manner and could be materially adversely affected.
The application of lower reimbursement rates to our tenants or failure to qualify for existing rates under certain exceptions, the failure to comply with these laws and regulations, or the failure to secure CON approval to undertake a desired project could adversely affect our tenants’ ability to make rent payments to us which may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares.
Adverse trends in health care provider operations may negatively affect our lease revenues and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.
The health care industry is currently experiencing, among other things:
•changes in the demand for and methods of delivering health care services, such as telehealth services;
•changes in third party reimbursement methods and policies;
•consolidation and pressure to integrate within the health care industry through acquisitions, joint ventures, and managed service organizations;
•increased scrutiny of billing, pricing, referral, and other practices by U.S. federal and state authorities;
•competition among health care providers; and
•increased scrutiny of control over release of confidential patient medical information.
These factors may adversely affect the economic performance of some or all of our tenants and, in turn, our lease revenues, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares.
Reductions in reimbursement from third party payors, including Medicare and Medicaid, could adversely affect the profitability of our tenants and hinder their ability to make rent payments to us or renew their leases.
Sources of revenue for our tenants typically include private insurance payors, the U.S. federal Medicare program, state Medicaid programs, MCOs, HMOs, and ACOs. Health care providers continue to face government and private payor pressure to control or reduce health care costs and significant reductions in health care reimbursement, including changes to payment methodologies under the Affordable Care Act and other federal or state health care legislation. In some cases, private insurers rely upon all or portions of the Medicare payment systems to determine payment rates which may result in decreased reimbursement from private insurers.
The slowdown in the United States economy has negatively affected state budgets, thereby putting pressure on states to decrease spending on state programs including Medicaid. The need to control Medicaid expenditures may be exacerbated by the potential for increased enrollment in state Medicaid programs due to unemployment and declines in family incomes. Historically, states have often attempted to reduce Medicaid spending by limiting benefits and tightening Medicaid eligibility requirements. Many states have adopted, or are considering the adoption of, legislation designed to enroll Medicaid recipients in managed care programs and/or impose additional taxes on hospitals to help finance or expand the states’ Medicaid systems.
On September 15, 2020, CMS advised states on implementing value-based care (“VBC”) programs, with a particular emphasis on Medicaid. VBC programs hold providers financially accountable for providing quality care, reducing health disparities, eliminating unnecessary procedures, and lowering costs. Potential reductions to Medicaid program spending in response to state budgetary pressures could negatively impact the ability of our tenants to successfully operate their businesses.
Efforts by payors to reduce health care costs will likely continue which may result in reductions or slower growth in reimbursement for certain services provided by some of our tenants. A reduction in reimbursements to our tenants from third party payors for any reason could adversely affect our tenants’ ability to make rent payments to us which may have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares.
Our tenants and our company are subject to fraud and abuse laws, the violation of which by a tenant may jeopardize the tenant’s ability to make rent payments to us.
There are various federal and state laws prohibiting fraudulent and abusive business practices by health care providers who participate in, receive payments from, or are in a position to make referrals in connection with government-sponsored health care programs, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Our lease arrangements with certain tenants may also be subject to these fraud and abuse laws.
Violations of these laws may result in criminal and/or civil penalties that range from punitive sanctions, damage assessments, penalties, imprisonment, denial of Medicare and Medicaid payments, and/or exclusion from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In addition, the Affordable Care Act clarifies that the submission of claims for items or services generated in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute constitutes a false or fraudulent claim under the False Claims Act. The federal government issued safe harbor regulations defining the scope of leasing and physicians referrals that can be subject to enforcement. Further, the government has taken the position, and some courts have held, that violations of these and other laws, such as the Stark Law, can also be a violation of the False Claims Act. On November 20, 2020, the office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services issued final rules further clarifying the scope of the safe harbor regulations associated with the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute. These final rules limit civil monetary and criminal penalties to protect non-abusive business arrangements and lower barriers to value-based care. Additionally, certain laws, such as the False Claims Act, allow for individuals to bring whistleblower actions on behalf of the government for violations thereof. Imposition of any of these penalties upon one of our tenants or strategic partners could jeopardize that tenant’s ability to operate or to make rent payments or affect the level of occupancy in our health care properties, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares. Further, we enter into leases and other financial relationships with health care delivery systems that are subject to or impacted by these laws. We also have other investors who are health care providers in certain of our subsidiaries that own our health care properties. If any of our relationships, including those related to the other investors in our subsidiaries, are found not to comply with these laws, we and our health care provider investors may be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.
Our health care-related tenants may be subject to significant legal actions that could subject them to increased operating costs and substantial uninsured liabilities, which may affect their ability to pay their rent payments to us, and we could be subject to health care industry violations.
As is typical in the health care industry, our tenants may become subject to claims that their services have resulted in patient injury or other adverse effects. Many of these tenants may have experienced an increasing trend in the frequency and severity of professional liability and general liability insurance claims and litigation asserted against them. The insurance coverage maintained by these tenants may not cover all claims made against them nor continue to be available at a reasonable cost, if at all. In some states, insurance coverage for the risk of punitive damages arising from professional liability and general liability claims and/or litigation may not, in certain cases, be available to these tenants due to state law prohibitions or limitations of availability. As a result, these types of tenants of our health care properties and health care-related facilities operating in these states may be liable for punitive damage awards that are either not covered or are in excess of their insurance policy limits.
We also believe that there has been, and will continue to be, an increase in governmental investigations of certain health care providers, particularly in the area of Medicare/Medicaid false claims, as well as an increase in enforcement actions resulting from these investigations. Insurance is not available to cover such losses. Any adverse determination in a legal proceeding or governmental investigation, any settlements of such proceedings, or investigations in excess of insurance coverage, whether currently asserted or arising in the future, could have a material adverse effect on a tenant’s financial condition. If a tenant is unable to obtain or maintain insurance coverage, if judgments are obtained or settlements reached in
excess of the insurance coverage, if a tenant is required to pay uninsured punitive damages, or if a tenant is subject to an uninsurable government enforcement action or investigation, the tenant could be exposed to substantial additional liabilities, which may affect the tenant’s ability to pay rent, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to pay distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares. We could also be subject to costly government investigations or other enforcement actions which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to pay distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly referred to as HIPAA, was established to set national standards for the confidentiality, security, and transmission of personal health information (PHI). Health care providers are required, under HIPAA and its implementing regulations, to protect and keep confidential any PHI. HIPAA also sets limits and conditions on use and disclosure of PHI without patient authorization. The law gives patients specific rights to their health information, including rights to obtain a copy of or request corrections to their medical records. The physician or the medical practice can be liable if there are improper disclosures of PHI, including from employee mishandling of PHI, medical records security breaches, lost or stolen electronic devices, hacking, social media breaches or failure to get patient authorizations. Violations could result in multi-million dollar penalties. Actual or potential violations of HIPAA could subject our tenants to government investigations, litigation or other enforcement actions which could adversely affect our tenants’ ability to pay rent and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to pay distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares.
Trends in the methods of delivering health care services could reduce demand for medical office space.
The health care industry is experiencing, among other things, changes in the demand for and methods of delivering health care services such as telehealth, and telehealth services have also expanded rapidly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, both government and other third-party payors have incentivized physicians, providers, and patients to utilize technology for medical encounters by paying and reimbursing for such encounters as if they were in-office encounters, and CMS has made several changes in the manner in which Medicare will pay for telehealth visits. It is unclear whether these incentives and other changes will remain in place permanently or will be rolled-back following the COVID-19 pandemic, although the Company expects that the availability and popularity of patients using telehealth services will continue to increase over time. While the revenues and efficiencies of telehealth services may increase the service offerings of our tenants, a long-term increase in telehealth services could reduce demand for medical office space, which could increase non-renewal of leases by our tenants and adversely impact our ability to maintain current rental and occupancy rates and could adversely affect our revenues, financial condition, and results of operations.
Risks Related to the Real Estate Industry
Our operating performance is subject to risks associated with the real estate industry.
Real estate investments are subject to various risks and fluctuations and cycles in value and demand, many of which are beyond our control. Certain events may decrease cash available for distributions as well as the value of our properties. These events include, but are not limited to:
•vacancies or our inability to rent space on favorable terms, including possible market pressures to offer tenants rent abatements, tenant improvements, early termination rights, or tenant-favorable renewal options;
•inability to collect rent from tenants;
•competition from other real estate investors with significant capital, including other real estate operating companies, REITs, and institutional private equity or other investment funds;
•reductions in the level of demand for health care properties and changes in the demand for certain health care-related properties;
•increases in the supply of medical office space;
•increases in expenses associated with our real estate operations, including, but not limited to, insurance costs, third party management fees, energy prices, real estate assessments, and other taxes and costs of compliance with laws, regulations and governmental policies, and restrictions on our ability to pass such expenses on to our tenants; and
•changes in, and changes in interpretation or enforcement of, laws, regulations, and governmental policies associated with real estate, including, without limitation, health, safety, environmental, real estate and zoning and tax laws, increases in real property tax rates and taxation of REITs, governmental fiscal policies, and the ADA.
In addition, periods of economic slowdown or recession, such as the recent U.S. economic downturn, rising interest rates or declining demand for real estate, or the public perception that any of these events may occur, could result in a general decline in rents or an increased incidence of defaults under existing leases. If we cannot operate our properties to meet our financial expectations, our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flow, per share market price of our common shares, and ability to satisfy our debt service obligations and to make distributions to our shareholders could be adversely affected.
Illiquidity of real estate investments could significantly impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of any of our properties.
Because real estate investments are relatively illiquid, our ability to promptly sell one or more of our properties in response to changing economic, financial, and investment conditions is limited. The real estate market is affected by many factors, such as general economic conditions, availability of financing, interest rates, and other factors, including supply and demand, that are beyond our control. We cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any of our properties 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 or at all. We also cannot predict the length of time needed to find a willing purchaser and to close the sale of any of our properties. We may be required to expend funds to correct defects or to make improvements before a property can be sold. We cannot assure that we will have funds available to correct those defects or to make those improvements.
In acquiring a property, we may agree to transfer restrictions that materially restrict us from selling that property for a period of time or impose other restrictions, such as a limitation on the amount of debt that can be placed on that property. These transfer restrictions would impede our ability to sell a property even if we deem it necessary or appropriate. These facts and any others that would impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our properties may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or ability to make distributions to our shareholders and the market price of our common shares.
Uncertain market conditions could cause us to sell our health care properties at a loss in the future.
We intend to hold our various real estate investments until such time as we determine that a sale or other disposition appears to be advantageous to achieve our investment objectives. Our senior management team and the Trust’s Board of Trustees may exercise their discretion as to whether and when to sell a property, and we will have no obligation to sell our buildings at any particular time. We generally intend to hold our health care properties for an extended period of time, and we cannot predict with any certainty the various market conditions affecting real estate investments that will exist at any particular time in the future. Because of the uncertainty of market conditions that may affect the future disposition of our health care properties, we may not be able to sell our properties at a profit in the future or at all. In addition, if we are unable to access the capital markets for financing in the future, we may need to sell some of our properties to raise capital. We may incur prepayment penalties in the event that we sell a property subject to a mortgage earlier than we otherwise had planned. Additionally, we could be forced to sell health care properties at inopportune times which could result in us selling the affected property at a substantial loss. Accordingly, the extent to which we will pay cash distributions and realize potential appreciation on our real estate investments will, among other things, be dependent upon fluctuating market conditions. Any inability to sell a health care property could adversely impact our ability to make debt payments and distributions to our shareholders.
We face risks associated with the potential impacts of climate change.
The impacts of climate change on our operations are highly uncertain and could have material adverse effects on our properties, operations, and business. To the extent that severe weather events or significant changes in climate occur in the geographic locations where our properties are located, we may experience revenue loss, cost increase, construction delays, tenant disruption or displacement, and decreased demand for properties located in such geographic areas or affected by such changes. In addition, changes in federal and state laws and regulations intended to reduce the impacts of climate change could result in, among other things, increased capital expenditures to improve energy efficiency at our properties, increased costs of property insurance or render such insurance unavailable on terms acceptable to us, and increased costs of developing properties without corresponding increases in revenue.
Our assets may be subject to impairment charges.
We periodically evaluate our real estate investments and other assets for impairment indicators. The judgment regarding the existence of impairment indicators is based upon factors such as market conditions, tenant performance, and legal structure. For example, the termination of a lease by a major tenant may lead to an impairment charge. If we determine that an impairment has occurred, we would be required to make an adjustment to the net carrying value of the asset, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations in the period in which the impairment charge is recorded. We have had tenant defaults that have caused us to record impairment charges in the past, and it is possible we may have tenant defaults in the future, which could lead to impairment charges.
Our investments in, or originations of, mezzanine and term loans will be subject to specific risks relating to the particular property or entity obligated to repay the loan, and our loan assets will involve greater risks of loss than senior loans secured by income-producing properties.
As of December 31, 2020, we have 22 mezzanine loans, three term loans, and one construction loan outstanding, and in the future, we may originate further loans. These investments involve special risks relating to the particular borrower, including its financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, business, and prospects. We may also originate 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 or other properties. 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 a subordinated 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 such loan. If a borrower defaults on a loan or debt senior to our loan, or in the event of a borrower bankruptcy, such 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 loans. As a result, we may not recover some or all of our initial expenditure. Mezzanine and term loans may 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 and term 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 and term loans would result in operating losses for us and may limit our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.
Risks Related to Financings
Required payments of principal and interest on borrowings may leave us with insufficient cash to operate our properties or to pay the distributions currently contemplated or necessary to qualify as a REIT and may expose us to the risk of default under our debt obligations.
We historically borrow on our unsecured revolving credit facility to acquire properties. Then, as market conditions dictate, we have issued equity or long-term fixed rate debt to repay borrowings under our unsecured revolving credit facility. We are subject to risks associated with debt financing, including the risk that existing indebtedness may not be refinanced or that the terms of refinancing may not be as favorable as the terms of current indebtedness. The majority of our borrowings were completed under indentures or contractual agreements that limit the amount of indebtedness we may incur. Accordingly, in the event that we are unable to raise additional equity or borrow money because of these limitations, our ability to acquire additional properties may be limited.
As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately $58.0 million of mortgage debt on individual properties and approximately $416.0 million of borrowings outstanding under our unsecured credit facility. In addition, in January 2016, August 2016, March 2017, and December 2017 we issued and sold $150.0 million, $75.0 million, $400.0 million, and $350.0 million, respectively, aggregate principal amount of senior notes. We expect to incur additional debt in the future. We do not anticipate that our internally generated cash flow will be adequate to repay our existing indebtedness upon maturity, and, therefore, we expect to repay our indebtedness through refinancings and future offerings of equity and debt securities, either of which we may be unable to secure on favorable terms or at all. Our level of debt and the limitations imposed upon us by our debt agreements could have adverse consequences, including the following:
•our cash flow may be insufficient to meet our required principal and interest payments;
•we may be unable to borrow additional funds as needed or on favorable terms, including to make acquisitions;
•we may be unable to refinance our indebtedness at maturity or the refinancing terms may be less favorable than the terms of our original indebtedness;
•because a portion of our debt bears, or is expected to bear, interest at variable rates, an increase in interest rates could materially increase our interest expense;
•we may fail to effectively hedge against interest rate volatility;
•we may be forced to dispose of one or more of our properties, possibly on disadvantageous terms if we are able to do so at all;
•our leverage could place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who have less debt;
•we may experience increased vulnerability to economic and industry downturns, reducing our ability to respond to changing business and economic conditions;
•we may default on our obligations and the lenders or mortgagees may foreclose on our properties that secure their loans and receive an assignment of rents and leases;
•we may violate financial covenants contained in our various loan documents which would cause a default on our obligations, giving lenders various remedies, including increased interest rates, foreclosure, and liability for additional expenses;
•we may inadvertently violate non-financial restrictive covenants in our loan documents, such as covenants that require us to maintain the existence of entities, maintain insurance policies and provide financial statements, which would entitle the lenders to accelerate our debt obligations; and
•our default under any of our mortgage loans with cross-default or cross-collateralization provisions could result in default on other indebtedness and result in the foreclosures of other properties.
The realization of any or all of these risks may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares.
In addition, in July 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority announced that it would phase out LIBOR as a benchmark by the end of 2021. It is unclear whether new methods of calculating LIBOR will be established after 2021. We are unable to predict the effect of any changes, any alternative reference rates, or any other reforms to LIBOR or any replacement of LIBOR that may be enacted in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. Such changes, reforms, or replacements relating to LIBOR could have a material adverse impact on the market for, or value of, any of our LIBOR-linked loans, derivatives, and other indebtedness or on our financial condition or results of operations.
As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately $416.0 million of borrowings outstanding under our unsecured credit facility (including the term loan feature of our unsecured credit facility). During 2016 and 2017, we issued an aggregate of $975.0 million of debt. All of these items are senior to our common shares upon liquidation, and we may in the future make offerings of debt or preferred equity securities which may be senior to our common shares for purposes of dividend distributions or upon liquidation, any of which may materially adversely affect the per share market price of our common shares.
As of December 31, 2020, there were approximately $416.0 million of borrowings outstanding under our unsecured credit facility (including the term loan feature of our unsecured credit facility). During 2016 and 2017, we issued $975.0 million of aggregate principal amount of senior notes. In the future, we may attempt to increase our capital resources by making additional offerings of debt or equity securities (or causing the Operating Partnership to issue debt securities), including medium-term notes, senior or subordinated notes, and classes or series of preferred shares. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities and lenders with respect to other borrowings will be entitled to receive our available assets prior to distribution to the holders of our common shares. Additionally, any convertible or exchangeable securities that we issue in the future may have rights, preferences, and privileges more favorable than those of our common shares and may result in dilution to owners of our common shares. Holders of our common shares are not entitled to preemptive rights or other protections against dilution. Because our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing, or nature of our future offerings. Thus, our shareholders bear the risk that our future offerings could reduce the per share market price of our common shares and dilute their interest in us.
The derivative instruments that we may use to hedge against interest rate fluctuations may not be successful in mitigating our risks associated with interest rates and could reduce the overall returns on our shareholders’ investment.
We may use derivative instruments to hedge exposure to changes in interest rates on certain of our variable rate loans, but no hedging strategy can protect us completely. We cannot assure our shareholders that our hedging strategy and the derivatives that we use will adequately offset the risk of interest rate volatility or that our hedging of these transactions will not result in losses. Any settlement charges incurred to terminate unused derivative instruments may result in increased interest expense, which may reduce the overall return on our investments. These instruments may also generate income that may not be treated as qualifying REIT income for purposes of the 75% or 95% REIT income tests.
We rely upon external sources of capital to fund future capital needs, and, if we encounter difficulty in obtaining such capital, we may not be able to make future acquisitions necessary to grow our business or meet maturing obligations.
In order to qualify as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), we are required, among other things, to distribute each year to our shareholders at least 90% of our taxable income, without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gain. Because of this distribution requirement, we may not be able to fund all of our future capital needs from cash retained from operations, including capital needed to make investments and to satisfy or refinance maturing obligations. As a result, we expect to rely upon external sources of capital, including debt and equity financing, to fund future capital needs. If we are unable to obtain needed capital on satisfactory terms or at all, we may not be able to make the investments needed to expand our business or to meet our obligations and commitments as they mature. Our access to capital will depend upon a number of factors over which we have little or no control, including general stock and bond market conditions and investor interest, the market’s perception of our current and potential future earnings, analyst reports about us and the REIT industry, cash distributions and the market price of our common shares, and other factors such as governmental regulatory action and changes in REIT tax laws. We may not be in a position to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities for growth if we are unable to access the capital markets on a timely basis on favorable terms. Moreover, additional equity offerings may result in substantial dilution of our shareholders’ interests, and additional debt financing may substantially increase our leverage, either of which could cause the per share price of our common shares to decline.
If we become highly leveraged in the future, the resulting increase in outstanding debt could adversely affect our ability to make debt service payments, to pay our anticipated distributions, to obtain additional financing, and to make the distributions required to qualify as a REIT.
As of December 31, 2020, our indebtedness represented approximately 28% of our gross assets. If we become more highly leveraged, the resulting increase in outstanding debt could adversely affect our ability to make debt service payments, to pay our anticipated distributions, to obtain additional financing, and to make the distributions required to qualify as a REIT. The occurrence of any of the foregoing risks could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations, or credit ratings, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders, and the market price of our common shares.
We are subject to covenants in our debt agreements that may restrict or limit our operations and acquisitions and our failure to comply with the covenants in our debt agreements could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
The terms of the instruments governing our existing indebtedness require us to comply with a number of customary financial and other covenants, such as maintaining certain leverage and coverage ratios and minimum tangible net worth requirements. Our continued ability to incur additional debt and to conduct business in general is subject to our compliance with these covenants, which limit our operational flexibility. Breaches of these covenants could result in defaults under the instruments governing the applicable indebtedness, in addition to any other indebtedness cross-defaulted against such instruments. Any such default could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, and financial condition or our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.
A downgrade in our credit ratings could materially adversely affect our business and financial condition.
Our credit rating and the credit ratings assigned to our debt securities could change based upon, among other things, our financial condition. These ratings are subject to ongoing evaluation by credit rating agencies, and any rating could be changed or withdrawn by a rating agency in the future if, in its judgment, circumstances warrant such action.
If any of the credit rating agencies that have rated our securities downgrades or lowers its credit rating, or if any credit rating agency indicates that it has placed any such rating on a “watch list” for a possible downgrade or lowering, or otherwise
indicates that its outlook for that rating is negative, such action could have a material adverse effect on our costs and availability of funding, which could in turn have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, the market price of our securities, and our ability to satisfy our debt service obligations, among other obligations.
If securities analysts downgrade our common shares or the health care-related real estate sector, the market price of our common shares could decline.
The market for our common shares depends in part upon the research and reports that industry or financial analysts publish about us and our industry. We have no control over these analysts. Furthermore, if one or more of the analysts who do cover us downgrades our shares or our industry, or the stock of any of our competitors, the price of our common shares could decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of our company, we could lose attention in the market which in turn could cause the market price of our common shares to decline.
Risks Related to Our Portfolio and Structure
We have no direct operations and rely upon funds received from the Operating Partnership to meet our obligations.
The Trust conducts substantially all of its operations through the Operating Partnership. As of February 22, 2021, the Trust owned approximately 97.4% of the OP Units and apart from this ownership interest, the Trust does not have any independent operations. As a result, the Trust relies upon distributions from the Operating Partnership to pay any distributions that the Trust might declare on the Trust’s common shares. We also rely upon distributions from the Operating Partnership to the Trust to meet our obligations, including tax liability on taxable income allocated to the Trust from the Operating Partnership (which might make distributions to the Trust not equal to the tax on such allocated taxable income). Shareholders’ claims will consequently be structurally subordinated to all existing and future liabilities and obligations (whether or not for borrowed money) of the Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries. Therefore, in the event of bankruptcy, liquidation or reorganization of the Trust, claims of the Trust’s shareholders will be satisfied only after all of the Trust’s and the Operating Partnership’s and its subsidiaries’ liabilities and obligations have been paid in full.
Our business could be harmed if key personnel terminate their employment with us or if we are unsuccessful in integrating new personnel into our operations.
Our success depends, to a significant extent, on the continued services of Mr. Thomas, our President and Chief Executive Officer and the rest of our executive leadership team. We do not maintain key person life insurance on any of our officers. Our ability to continue to acquire and develop health care properties depends upon the significant relationships that our senior management team has developed over many years.
Although the Trust has entered into employment agreements with our management team we cannot provide any assurance that any of them will remain employed by the Trust. Our ability to retain our leadership team, or to attract suitable replacements should any member of the senior management team leave, is dependent on the competitive nature of the employment market. The loss of services of, or the failure to successfully integrate one or more new members of, our senior management team could adversely affect our business and our prospects.
Certain provisions of Maryland law, the Trust’s declaration of trust and the partnership agreement of the Operating Partnership contain limits and restrictions on transferability of our outstanding shares of beneficial interest, which may have the effect of delaying, discouraging or preventing a transaction or change of control of our company.
In order for us to qualify as a REIT, no more than 50% of the value of the Trust’s outstanding shares of beneficial interest may be owned, beneficially or constructively, by five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of each taxable year. Subject to certain exceptions, the Trust’s declaration of trust prohibits any shareholder from owning beneficially or constructively more than 9.8% in value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our shares of beneficial interest, though the Trust has granted, and may in the future grant, a waiver from the ownership limitations. The constructive ownership rules under the Code are complex and may cause the outstanding shares owned by a group of related individuals or entities to be deemed to be constructively owned by one individual entity. As a result, the acquisition of less than 9.8% of our outstanding shares of any class or series by an individual or entity could cause that individual or entity to own constructively in excess of 9.8% of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our shares of beneficial interest and to be subject to the Trust’s declaration of trust’s ownership limit. The Trust’s declaration of trust also prohibits, among other prohibitions, any person from owning our shares of beneficial interest that would result in our being “closely held” under Section 856(h) of the Code, or otherwise cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT. Further, the partnership agreement of the Operating Partnership contains certain provisions such as redemption rights, restrictions on transfer of OP
Units, consent and other rights of the Trust as the general partner of the Operating Partnership, and rights of the limited partners of the Operating Partnership to consent to certain transfers of the general partnership interest. The share ownership restrictions of the Code for REITs and the 9.8% share ownership limit, and other restrictions contained in the Trust’s declaration of trust and the Operating Partnership’s partnership agreement may inhibit market activity in our shares of beneficial interest, restrict our business combination opportunities, or otherwise delay, deter or prevent a transaction or change of control that our shareholders otherwise believe to be in their best interests.
In addition, certain provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law, (“MGCL”), applicable to Maryland real estate investment trusts may have the effect of inhibiting, delaying, deferring, or preventing a third party from making a proposal to acquire the Trust (and, indirectly, the Operating Partnership) or of impeding or delaying a change of control under circumstances that otherwise could provide the Trust’s common shareholder with the opportunity to realize a premium over the then-prevailing market price of shares, including:
•“business combination” provisions that, subject to limitations, prohibit certain business combinations between us and an “interested shareholder” (defined generally as any person who beneficially owns 10% or more of the voting power of our shares or an affiliate or associate of ours who was the beneficial owner directly or indirectly, of 10% or more of the voting power of our shares at any time within the two-year period immediately prior to the date in question) or an affiliate thereof for five years after the most recent date on which the shareholder becomes an interested shareholder, and thereafter imposes certain minimum price and/or supermajority shareholder voting requirements on these combinations; and
•“control share” provisions that provide that holders of “control shares” of our Trust (defined as shares that, when aggregated with all other shares controlled by the shareholder, entitle the shareholder to exercise one of three increasing ranges of voting power in electing trustees) acquired in a “control share acquisition” (defined as the direct or indirect acquisition of ownership or control of issued and outstanding “control shares,” subject to certain exceptions) have no voting rights with respect to their control shares, except to the extent approved by our shareholders by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of all the votes entitled to be cast on the matter, excluding all interested shares.
The Trust’s Board of Trustees has by resolution exempted any business combination between us and any other person from the business combination provisions of the MGCL, provided that the business combination is first approved by the Board of Trustees (including a majority of trustees who are not affiliates or associates of such person). In addition, the Trust’s bylaws contain a provision exempting any and all acquisitions of our shares from the control share provisions of the MGCL. However, the Board of Trustees may at any time alter or repeal the resolution exempting certain businesses from the business combination provisions of the MGCL and we may at any time amend or eliminate the provision of our bylaws exempting acquisitions of our shares from the control share provisions of the MGCL.
Certain provisions of the MGCL permit the Board of Trustees, without shareholder approval and regardless of what is currently provided in the Trust’s declaration of trust or bylaws, to implement certain corporate governance provisions with respect to the Trust, some of which (for example, a classified board) are not currently applicable to us. If implemented, these provisions may have the effect of limiting or precluding a third party from making an unsolicited acquisition proposal for us or of delaying, deferring, or preventing a change in control of us under circumstances that otherwise could provide our common shareholders with the opportunity to realize a premium over the then current market price. Pursuant to our declaration of trust, we have elected to be subject to the provisions of Title 3, Subtitle 8 of the MGCL relating to the filling of vacancies on our Board of Trustees.
We could increase the number of authorized shares, classify and reclassify unissued shares, and issue shares without shareholder approval.
The Trust’s Board of Trustees, without shareholder approval, has the power under the Trust’s declaration of trust to amend our declaration of trust to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares or the number of shares of any class or series of the Trust that we are authorized to issue, and to authorize us to issue authorized but unissued common shares or preferred shares. In addition, under the declaration of trust, the Board of Trustees has the power to classify or reclassify any unissued common or preferred shares into one or more classes or series of shares and set or change the preference, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends and other distributions, qualifications or terms or conditions of redemption for such newly classified or reclassified shares. As a result, we may issue series or classes of common shares or preferred shares with preferences, dividends, powers, and rights, voting or otherwise, that are senior to, or otherwise conflict with, the rights of holders of our common shares. Although the Board of Trustees has no such intention at the present time, it could establish a class or series of preferred shares that could, depending on the terms of such class or series, delay,
defer, or prevent a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for our common shares or that our shareholders otherwise believe to be in their best interests.
Risks Related to Our Qualification and Operation as a REIT
If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, we will face serious tax consequences that would substantially reduce funds available for distributions to our shareholders.
Since our formation, the Trust has been organized and has operated in such a manner as to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the U.S. federal income tax laws, and we intend to continue to operate in such a manner, but no assurances can be given that we will operate in a manner so as to qualify or remain qualified as a REIT.
Failure to qualify as a REIT, or failure to remain qualified as a REIT, would cause us to be taxed as a regular corporation, which would substantially reduce funds available for distribution to our shareholders. If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, we would face serious tax consequences that will substantially reduce the funds available for distribution to our shareholders because:
•we would not be allowed a deduction for dividends paid to shareholders in computing our taxable income and would be subject to U.S. federal income tax at regular corporate rates;
•we could possibly be subject to increased state and local taxes; and
•unless we are entitled to relief under certain U.S. federal income tax laws, we could not re-elect REIT status until the fifth calendar year after the year in which we failed to qualify as a REIT.
In addition, if we fail to qualify as a REIT, we will no longer be required to make distributions. As a result of all these factors, our failure to qualify as a REIT could impair our ability to expand our business and raise capital, and it would adversely affect the value of our shares of beneficial interest.
Failure to make required distributions would subject us to U.S. federal corporate income tax.
We intend to operate in a manner so as to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In order to qualify as a REIT, we generally are required to distribute at least 90% of our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction and excluding any net capital gain, each year to our shareholders. To the extent that we satisfy this distribution requirement, but distribute less than 100% of our REIT taxable income, we will be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on our undistributed taxable income. In addition, we will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax if the actual amount that we pay out to our shareholders in a calendar year is less than a minimum amount specified under the Code.
Complying with REIT requirements may cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities or liquidate otherwise attractive investments.
To qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the amounts we distribute to our shareholders, and the ownership of our shares of beneficial interest. In order to meet these tests, we may be required to forego investments we might otherwise make. Thus, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our performance.
In particular, we must ensure that at the end of each calendar quarter, at least 75% of the value of our assets consists of cash, cash items, government securities, and qualified real estate assets. The remainder of our investment in securities (other than government securities, securities of taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRS”), and qualified real estate assets) generally cannot include more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer or more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer. In addition, in general, no more than 5% of the value of our assets (other than government securities, securities of TRSs, and qualified real estate assets) can consist of the securities of any one issuer, and no more than 20% of the value of our total assets can be represented by the securities of one or more TRSs. Further, debt instruments that do not otherwise qualify as real estate assets (because they are not secured by interests in real property or in certain entities that directly or indirectly own real property or because they are not issued by other publicly offered REITs) will generally not be treated as “securities” for purposes of the asset test, but no more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by such debt instruments. If we fail to comply with these requirements at the end of any calendar quarter, we must correct the failure within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter or qualify for certain statutory relief provisions to avoid losing our REIT qualification and suffering adverse tax consequences. As a result, we may be required to liquidate
otherwise attractive investments. These actions could have the effect of reducing our income and amounts available for distribution to our shareholders.
The prohibited transactions tax may limit our ability to dispose of our properties.
A REIT’s net income from prohibited transactions is subject to a 100% penalty tax. In general, prohibited transactions are sales or other dispositions of property other than “foreclosure property,” held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. We may be subject to the prohibited transactions tax equal to 100% of net gain upon a disposition of real property. Although a safe harbor to the characterization of the sale of real property by a REIT as a prohibited transaction is available, we cannot assure you that we can comply with the safe harbor or that we will avoid owning property that may be characterized as held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. Consequently, we may choose not to engage in certain sales of our properties or may conduct such sales through any TRS that we may form, which would be subject to federal and state income taxation.
Any ownership of a TRS will be subject to limitations and our transactions with a TRS will cause us to be subject to a 100% penalty tax on certain income or deductions if those transactions are not conducted on arm’s-length terms.
Overall, no more than 20% of the value of a REIT’s assets may consist of stock or securities of one or more TRSs. In addition, the Code also imposes a 100% excise tax on certain transactions between a TRS and its parent REIT that are not conducted on an arm’s-length basis. We will monitor the value of our respective investments in any TRS for the purpose of ensuring compliance with TRS ownership limitations and will structure our transactions with any TRS on terms that we believe are arm’s-length to avoid incurring a 100% excise tax on such transactions. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be able to comply with the 20% limitation or avoid application of the 100% excise tax.
If leases of our properties are not respected as true leases for federal income tax purposes, we would fail to qualify as a REIT and would be subject to higher taxes and have less cash available for distribution to our shareholders.
To qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy two gross income tests, under which specified percentages of our gross income must be derived from certain sources, such as “rents from real property.” Rents paid to the Operating Partnership by third party lessees and any TRS lessee pursuant to the leases of our properties will constitute substantially all of our gross income. In order for such rent to qualify as “rents from real property” for purposes of the gross income tests, the leases must be respected as true leases for federal income tax purposes and not be treated as service contracts, joint ventures, or some other type of arrangement. If our leases are not respected as true leases for federal income tax purposes, we would fail to qualify as a REIT.
We may be subject to adverse legislative or regulatory tax changes that could reduce the market price of our common shares.
At any time, the U.S. federal income tax laws governing REITs or the administrative interpretations of those laws may be amended. We cannot predict when or if any new U.S. federal income tax law, regulation, or administrative interpretation, or any amendment to any existing U.S. federal income tax law, regulation, or administrative interpretation, will be adopted, promulgated or become effective and any such law, regulation, or interpretation may take effect retroactively. We and our shareholders could be adversely affected by any such change in the U.S. federal income tax laws, regulations, or administrative interpretations.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
The following table lists the states in which our consolidated properties are located and provides certain information regarding our consolidated portfolio’s geographic diversification/concentration as of December 31, 2020:
|State||Number of Properties||GLA (1)|
|Percent of GLA||Annualized Base Rent (2) |
|Percent of Annualized Base Rent|
|Alabama||8 ||332,239 ||2.4 ||%||$||8,042 ||2.6 ||%|
|Arizona||13 ||733,791 ||5.2 ||%||16,313 ||5.3 ||%|
|Arkansas||7 ||269,800 ||1.9 ||%||4,519 ||1.5 ||%|
|California||5 ||93,011 ||0.7 ||%||2,149 ||0.7 ||%|
|Colorado||5 ||129,620 ||0.9 ||%||2,967 ||1.0 ||%|
|Connecticut||3 ||138,511 ||1.0 ||%||3,695 ||1.2 ||%|
|Florida||21 ||437,333 ||3.1 ||%||12,615 ||4.1 ||%|
|Georgia||8 ||1,065,193 ||7.6 ||%||24,836 ||8.1 ||%|
|Illinois||3 ||139,450 ||1.0 ||%||2,785 ||0.9 ||%|
|Indiana||24 ||1,135,403 ||8.1 ||%||23,562 ||7.7 ||%|
|Kentucky||12 ||980,639 ||7.0 ||%||17,399 ||5.7 ||%|
|Louisiana||3 ||150,777 ||1.1 ||%||6,345 ||2.1 ||%|
|Maine||1 ||44,677 ||0.3 ||%||1,314 ||0.4 ||%|
|Maryland||3 ||166,594 ||1.2 ||%||4,108 ||1.3 ||%|
|Michigan||6 ||250,456 ||1.8 ||%||6,533 ||2.1 ||%|
|Minnesota||19 ||826,708 ||5.9 ||%||17,746 ||5.8 ||%|
|Mississippi||2 ||97,294 ||0.7 ||%||2,551 ||0.8 ||%|
|Missouri||2 ||69,184 ||0.5 ||%||1,914 ||0.6 ||%|
|Montana||3 ||185,085 ||1.3 ||%||5,575 ||1.8 ||%|
|Nebraska||13 ||984,687 ||7.0 ||%||18,526 ||6.1 ||%|
|New Mexico||2 ||53,029 ||0.4 ||%||1,464 ||0.5 ||%|
|New York||13 ||613,520 ||4.4 ||%||14,379 ||4.7 ||%|
|North Dakota||8 ||434,215 ||3.1 ||%||8,256 ||2.7 ||%|
|Ohio||12 ||666,717 ||4.8 ||%||13,429 ||4.4 ||%|
|Oklahoma||1 ||52,000 ||0.4 ||%||556 ||0.2 ||%|
|Pennsylvania||12 ||443,891 ||3.2 ||%||6,391 ||2.1 ||%|
|Tennessee||8 ||706,805 ||5.0 ||%||13,143 ||4.3 ||%|
|Texas||30 ||1,989,443 ||14.2 ||%||48,820 ||15.9 ||%|
|Virginia||1 ||72,255 ||0.5 ||%||1,886 ||0.6 ||%|
|Washington||9 ||542,795 ||3.9 ||%||9,858 ||3.2 ||%|
|Wisconsin (3)||6 ||205,886 ||1.4 ||%||4,677 ||1.6 ||%|
|Total||263 ||14,011,008 ||100.0 ||%||$||306,353 ||100.0 ||%|
(1)“GLA” means gross leasable area.
(2)Annualized base rent is calculated by multiplying (a) base rental payments for the month ended December 31, 2020, by (b) 12.
(3)Excludes the Company’s 108,843 square foot corporate office building.
Scheduled Lease Expirations
The following table provides a summary of lease expirations for our consolidated properties owned as of December 31, 2020, for the periods indicated:
|Expiration (1)||Number of Leases Expiring||GLA||Percent of GLA||Annualized Base Rent|
|Percent of Annualized Base Rent||Annualized Base Rent Leased per Square Foot (2)|
|2021||161 ||580,827 ||4.1 ||%||$||12,555 ||4.1 ||%||$||21.61 |
|2022||110 ||591,137 ||4.2 ||%||14,238 ||4.6 ||%||24.09 |
|2023||120 ||642,232 ||4.6 ||%||14,922 ||4.9 ||%||23.24 |
|2024||97 ||822,014 ||5.9 ||%||18,822 ||6.1 ||%||22.90 |
|2025||161 ||1,038,005 ||7.4 ||%||24,993 ||8.2 ||%||24.08 |
|2026||123 ||3,203,579 ||22.9 ||%||69,244 ||22.6 ||%||21.61 |
|2027||86 ||1,369,699 ||9.8 ||%||29,341 ||9.6 ||%||21.42 |
|2028||75 ||1,358,010 ||9.7 ||%||30,248 ||9.9 ||%||22.27 |
|2029||34 ||581,790 ||4.2 ||%||15,779 ||5.2 ||%||27.12 |
|2030||49 ||583,171 ||4.2 ||%||12,334 ||4.0 ||%||21.15 |