InterRent CEO says REIT ‘well-positioned’ to face COVID-19 challenges

LIV Apartments
InterRent REIT owns the LIV Apartment complex on Bell Street in Ottawa. (Google Street View image)

Ottawa-based InterRent REIT says the overwhelming majority of its residential tenants are continuing to make rent payments amid the COVID-19 pandemic and that its portfolio “is well-positioned to face uncertain economic times.”

The local real estate firm provided the update this week as part of its first-quarter earnings report, which saw its funds from operations – a key cash-flow metric for REITs – jump nearly 25 per cent year-over-year to $14.5 million. 

Average monthly rents on properties the REIT has owned for at least a year climbed 7.2 per cent from $1,209 in March 2019 to $1,296 in March of this year. 

"InterRent has invested extensively in its portfolio … allowing the REIT to achieve industry leading rental growth,” said InterRent CEO Mike McGahan in a statement.

The company says it collected 98 per cent of its residential April rent payments – a figure the REIT says is in line with a typical month – and is providing rent deferment and payment plans for tenants facing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

InterRent owns more than 10,200 units, primarily in multi-residential properties across Ontario and Quebec. Its local holdings include the LIV Apartment towers on Bell Street in west Centretown. In the first quarter, the REIT acquired a four-unit Westboro property contiguous to its development site near Richmond Road and Churchill Avenue.

The company’s shares were up 1.15 per cent to $14.10 in late afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange Wednesday.