Home Estate Planning Home REIT to publish long-delayed accounts despite struggling to access houses

Home REIT to publish long-delayed accounts despite struggling to access houses

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Home REIT is set to publish its long-delayed accounts in the second quarter of the year despite still struggling to access scores of properties in its portfolio, the firm announced today.

In an update to the market this morning, bosses at the scandal-stricken homeless housing investor said they were on track to publish the firm’s audited results for both the years ending 31st August 2022 and 31st August 2023 during the second quarter of this year.

Publication of its results would be seen as a key milestone in the firm’s recovery and could open the door to the resumption of trading in its shares, which have been suspended since the beginning of last year.

After a damning short attack from Viceroy Research which sounded the alarm on the sturdiness of the company’s tenant base and rental income in October 2022, auditor BDO was asked to look again the firm’s accounts and do a deepdive into its revenue streams.

After failing to publish the accounts before a regulatory deadline, the firm was then suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange and has since faced a string of bankruptcies among its biggest tenants.

In its update this morning, Home REIT said AEW had dedicated “very substantial resource to complete this key workstream [publishing its accounts]” but was still struggling to access its entire property base to complete the valuation. 

“Access constraints remain a significant challenge for the completion of the internal inspections,” the firm said in a statement.

The firm said it had also repaid £9.9m of debt to its lender and cut its overall debt to £162.8m. Bosses were also now exploring a re-financing process as “part of an exercise to consider the long-term financial stability of the company”.

AEW has been forced to offload huge chunks of its property portfolio at cut prices and evict tenants in recent months. In a statement today, the firm said it continues to focus on “obtaining control of the portfolio with legal action being taken against non-performing tenants”. 

In a recent valuation report led by Jones Lang Lasalle, the firm found that of 1,973 properties externally inspected, none were in “very good” condition and 17 per cent were in a “poor” or “very poor” state. Some 15 per cent were deemed good and some 68 per cent were in “fair” condition. 

A string of Home REIT’s biggest tenants have gone under after failing to win government-backed housing benefits. City A.M. revealed in December 2022 that Home REIT did not track how much of its rental take actually came via government backed benefits, despite saying repeatedly that its entire business model relied on them.

The firm is also facing a lawsuit from investors over its collapse in value. Law firm Harcus Parker, which is representing some 250 Home REIT shareholders, said last month it has “initiated the formal stages of the claim” against the firm and its former investment manager Alvarium.

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