Several companies released updates this week, focusing on portfolio activity, litigation, capital, rent deferrals and occupancy.

Brookdale Senior Living seeing weighted average occupancy growth

December was the 10th consecutive month of weighted average occupancy growth for Nashville, TN-based Brookdale Senior Living, and it also was the first December since 2012 to deliver sequential occupancy growth, the country’s largest senior living operator reported Monday.

December weighted average occupancy was 73.6% compared with 71.5% in December 2020.

The company said it experienced positive year-over-year quarterly weighted average occupancy growth for the first time since the pandemic began.

Fourth-quarter weighted average occupancy, 73.5%, was a 100 basis point (1%) increase compared with the third quarter of 2021.

LTC Properties defers $1,300 in rent in third quarter

Westlake Village, CA-based LTC Properties reported Monday that it deferred rent of $1,300, net of repayments, during the third quarter of last year. The REIT’s rent deferral agreements generally require the deferred rent to be paid within six to 36 months. 

“LTC evaluated deferral requests with close attention to ongoing operations, rent coverage, corporate financial health and liquidity of the operator,” the REIT said.

As of Sept. 30, the REIT had outstanding deferred rent of $4,414 related to assisted living communities.

The company reported $4,778 in delinquent rent in the third quarter, which included $3,817 related to Senior Care and Abri Health and $961 related to Senior Lifestyle. Senior Care Centers and Senior Care’s parent company, Abri Health Services, failed to pay rent and additional obligations owed under its master lease, according to LTC Properties.

In March, the REIT sent a notice of default to Abri Health Services/Senior Care Centers for nonpayment of rent and additional charges owed under its master lease, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The lessee has since filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

National Health Investors sold $195 million in senior living properties in 2021

Murfreesboro, TN-based National Health Investors reported that it sold approximately $240 million in properties in 2021, including 19 senior living communities valued at about $195 million and consisting of a total of 1,762 units. Those dispositions had annualized rental income, excluding the impact of any straight-line rents, of approximately $19.3 million, NHI said.

In December alone, the real estate investment trust sold three senior living properties, in Ohio, Florida and Idaho. This month, NHI transferred the operations of a skilled nursing facility in Avondale, AZ, from Genesis Healthcare to a subsidiary of The Ensign Group.

NHI said it agreed to defer $1 million in rent due last month from Bickford Senior Living and agreed to defer approximately $1.4 million in rent for six other tenants in December, but the REIT expects to be repaid with interest. NHI deferred a total of contractual rent due from Bickford for the fourth quarter of 2021 and said it expects to defer up to $4 million in the first quarter of 2022.

As previously reported by McKnight’s Senior Living, the REIT recently initiated a lawsuit recently against Toledo, OH-based Welltower and some of its subsidiaries, claiming that NHI is owed more than $14.1 million in back rent related to Holiday Retirement properties.

“NHI is seeking to expeditiously advance the transition of the remaining Holiday properties to new operators with as little disruption to residents as possible,” the REIT said.

Welltower: Operator pandemic challenges create acquisition opportunities

Toledo, OH-based Welltower, in a presentation released Tuesday, said its near-term capital deployment pipeline remains “robust,” in excess of $1 billion. Acquisition opportunities continue to expand, with many owners of senior living communities seeking to exit the industry due to nearly two years of COVID-19 related challenges further exacerbated by recent labor market pressure and the global surge in COVID-19 cases, according to the REIT.

During the fourth quarter of 2021, Welltower closed on $1.4 billion in pro rata investments, the majority of which closed late in the quarter. This amount includes approximately $900 million related to previously announced $1.3 billion in definitive agreements, with the remainder expected to close this quarter. 

The REIT said the outlook for its senior housing operating portfolio “remains favorable.”

Pricing power remains healthy, as reflected by strong renewal rate increases in January, Welltower said, adding that operators in its portfolio remain encouraged by the outlook for rate growth, which is expected to mitigate potential expense pressures. The REIT said it expects strong revenue growth to continue, driven by accelerating pricing power and continued occupancy growth in senior living.

Welltower reported that it has no material unsecured debt maturities until 2024.