| 18.8°C Dublin

Largest private landlord 'not certain' of rent collection rate

Close

Challenges: Ires Reit CEO Margaret Sweeney believes the business will emerge in strong condition

Challenges: Ires Reit CEO Margaret Sweeney believes the business will emerge in strong condition

Challenges: Ires Reit CEO Margaret Sweeney believes the business will emerge in strong condition

The State's largest private landlord, Ires Reit, has warned there is "no certainty" in relation to the rate of rent collection in the upcoming months due to the impact of Covid-19.

Rent collection rates were around 98pc last month, however, those payments would have mainly been from people's March wages.

Ires controls more than 3,700 residential units, primarily in Dublin. Its average monthly rent in 2019 was €1,596.

In a trading update, the company said demand for its properties remains "robust", with occupancy of 99pc at the end of April.

"Ires is focused on the mid-tier affordable rental market, which has seen stronger occupancy levels throughout 2020 than the higher end," said Colm Lauder, analyst at Goodbody Stockbrokers.

"We expect mid-tier rentals to be more resilient during the Covid crisis."

Overall, Mr Lauder said it was "a solid update from Ires, which will provide some comfort".

In the three months to 31 March, trading at Ires was "in line with expectations".

In line with measures introduced by the Government, the business has implemented a temporary freeze on rent increases until June 27 and on termination notices.

In addition, it has invited its tenants to discuss issues they may have in meeting their rent payments. The company will look to provide solutions "on a case-by-case basis" for residents facing financial hardship due to Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the temporary closures of construction sites due to the pandemic means it may face a delay in receiving delivery of developments in Dublin including 95 residential units at Hansfield Wood, 69 units on Merrion Road, and 61 residential properties at Bakers Yard.

Ires has €9.5m of cash and €210m of committed undrawn debt under its revolving credit facility.

Margaret Sweeney, CEO of Ires Reit, said: "Despite the ongoing challenging and unprecedented times, I believe that our high-quality, diverse portfolio of assets, robust financial position and highly experienced property management team will ensure that our business emerges from the Covid-19 crisis in as strong a condition as possible."

The company's dividend strategy continues, with a final dividend of €16.2m for the year ended December 31 2019 paid in March.

Its shares rose by 4pc to close at €1.21 yesterday

Irish Independent