scales of justice and law books

Sabra Health Care REIT is suing Senior Care Centers in bankruptcy court, asking a judge to order Senior Care Centers to surrender two senior living communities and 36 skilled nursing facilities because their lease status is jeopardizing Sabra’s $385 million sale of the properties.

Reuters first reported the news of the complaint, filed Dec. 20 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, in Dallas.

Senior Care Centers told McKnight’s that it disagrees with Sabra’s claims.

“We dispute the allegations and look forward to presenting our case to the court,” spokesman Tom Becker wrote in an email.

Senior Care Centers is the biggest single operator represented in the Sabra portfolio.

Irvine, CA-based Sabra announced Nov. 6 that it planned to sell the 38 communities operated by Dallas-based Senior Care Centers in its portfolio. During the third quarter, the real estate investment trust had issued notices of default and lease termination due to nonpayment of rent under the terms of Senior Care’s master leases. Deposits were “fully exhausted” to pay contractual rents, and Senior Care has been operating the communities on a month-to-month basis, Sabra executives said.

“The continued instability of management and inability to execute really validated the concerns we had earlier this year that we needed to do something about the Senior Care portfolio,” Sabra CEO Rick Matros told investors during the REIT’s third-quarter earnings call.

At the time, Sabra said it had entered into a non-binding letter of intent with a buyer and expected the sale to be complete in early 2019.

Less than a month later, on Dec. 4, Senior Care Centers announced that it had filed for bankruptcy, citing cuts in reimbursement and payments from private insurers, “burdensome” debt and “ballooning” rent payments. At the time, Matros said he didn’t expect the filing to have a “substantive impact” on the sale of the communities in its portfolio.

Two days later, Sabra announced that it had entered into the agreement to sell the 36 Senior Care Centers communities for $385 million.