No certainty on rent collection in coming months – Ires Reit

State's largest landlord reports improved occupancy to 99% at end of April

Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

The State’s largest landlord improved occupancy across its portfolio to 99 per cent by the end of April as it increased the number of properties under control.

Ires Reit said on Wednesday that trading in the first quarter was in line with its expectations and that net rental income margin stood at 80.7 per cent in the period.

In a stock market update, the property investor said it had collected 98 per cent of the rent owed to it by the end of April, but it flagged that there’s no certainty in relation to the rate of rent collection in the coming months given uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the three month period, Ires took delivery of 55 units at its Waterside development and 18 units at its Tallaght Cross West development, bringing the total number of properties it owns to 3,739. The average age of the company’s portfolio is about 11 years while more than 60 per cent of its properties are two-bedroom apartments, “which tend to be more defensive in a downturn”.

Ires has had to suspend all rent increases and notices of eviction as a result of measures introduced by the Government to deal with the crisis. The company also flagged that the State’s pandemic unemployment payment and wage subsidy scheme “should provide some assistance to tenants during these challenging times to maintain their rental payments”.

Construction

Ires is also in the process of building several new developments and said that the closure of non-essential construction sites means it expects delays to completion of those developments.

“As a result of proactive measures taken by the company in recent years and our continued belief in the underlying strength of the Irish residential market, we believe we are well positioned and remain confident in the long-term outlook for the business,” said Ires chief executive Margaret Sweeney.

The company also updated shareholders on its balance sheet with “significant liquidity in place to manage through this period”. Ires refinanced its revolving credit facility last year, increasing its committed facility to €600 million and extending the maturity to 2024 with an option to extend further to 2026. Currently the company has €9.5 million of cash and €210 million of committed undrawn debt.