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Home REIT hires property manager to review portfolio

Home REIT’s investment advisor has hired a property manager to help the embattled homeless accommodation landlord to review its portfolio and recover rent arrears. 

Alvarium Home REIT Advisors has entered into an agreement with Simpact Group, a specialist social housing property manager, to “accelerate and further support the investment adviser’s ongoing asset management and monitoring programme” with the cost borne solely by the investment adviser.

Simpact will assist with the following:

  • tenant liaison and monitoring, in addition to rent collection and the recovery of rent arrears;
  • a detailed review of the company’s portfolio and improved disclosure on existing tracked metrics such as underlying occupancy, the status of exempt housing benefit applications by tenant partners and the type of residents in occupation, alongside increased due diligence and assessment of tenants, their current business plans and forecasts; and
  • the provision of extensive operational advice to certain tenant partners to improve underlying performance, including reducing the approval period for exempt housing benefit applications and increasing the rate of referrals from local authorities.

The company said that following the detailed review, Simpact will support it with the reassignment of leases if current tenants are not forecast to improve performance within a sufficient timeframe.

Simpact manages and oversees a social housing portfolio across England and Wales, covering over 100 local authorities. The appointment will result in a team of 40 individuals with extensive knowledge of all social housing tenures, including exempt accommodation and extra care housing for homelessness, supporting the investment adviser in the review and delivering an increased level of disclosure. The Simpact team brings a wide network of local authority contacts and an existing network of charities, community interest companies and registered housing associations, which will be utilised to optimise the tenant composition of the portfolio.

An announcement on rent collection and the operational performance of the portfolio following the review will be made “in due course”. The company last week confirmed that two tenants had withheld rent over the last quarter of 2022 as promised refurbishment works funded by Home REIT had yet to materialise.

Update on company audit

The publication of Home REIT’s results to 31 August 2022 were delayed following the short-seller attack in November as its auditor BDO carried out an enhanced audit of the company. This will not be completed in time for the group to publish the results by the end of January 2023 (as was previously guided).

As part of the enhanced audit procedures, BDO has requested the provision of substantial data sets across the portfolio of over 2,400 properties, which the company said would take time.

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