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Killam COVID-19 Pandemic Planning

To our Killam Community

Killam recognizes that as property owners, business operators, employers and community members, we have an important role to play in managing and controlling the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  Killam has been very active monitoring the growing impact of the virus and implementing its Pandemic Illness Plan to help lessen the spread of the virus and maintain the continued good health of all our stakeholders, namely our employees, residents, and the broader communities in which we operate.     

We have taken steps to increase the ease of communication for our stakeholders and you will now be able to use Killam’s website as a resource to find Killam updates and reference materials from the Canadian Government and the World Health Organization.     

Killam is confident that with the resolve and care of our committed staff, together with your cooperation, we will successfully contain the spread of the virus.  

Emergency Response: Pandemic Illness Planning (PIP)

Killam Apartment REIT has developed an internal Pandemic Illness Plan (PIP) should the COVID-19 outbreak reach our areas of operation. The PIP covers areas such as: tenant and employee communication, travel advisories, employee illness protocol, education for supervisors, and business continuity planning. Killam’s PIP will be updated as is required.
 

Please check back on this webpage daily for further updates and notices.

Killam COVID-19 Pandemic Information

COVID-19 | Letter from Killam's President & CEO | March 17, 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

To our Killam Community,

Killam recognizes that as property owners, business operators, employers and community members, we have an important role to play in managing and controlling the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  Killam has been very active monitoring the growing impact of the virus and implementing its Pandemic Illness Plan to help lessen the spread of the virus and maintain the continued good health of all our stakeholders, namely our employees, residents, and the broader communities in which we operate.     

We have taken steps to increase the ease of communication for our stakeholders and you will now be able to use Killam’s website as a resource to find Killam updates and reference materials from the Canadian Government and the World Health Organization.     

Killam is confident that with the resolve and care of our committed staff, together with your cooperation, we will successfully contain the spread of the virus.  Please go to www.KillamREIT.com to visit Killam’s website, the Covid-19 virus button is part of the masthead at the top of the home page.

Executive Commitment and Committee Participation  

Killam has established a Covid Response Committee (CRC) focused on monitoring this evolving pandemic and this committee has developed the Pandemic Illness Plan as a guideline to help mitigate and manage the spread of the virus.  This plan will be updated as required.  Our CRC includes individuals from Killam’s property management, human resources, and information technology teams, as well as the executive team.  Killam’s executive team is fully engaged, meeting every second day and receiving daily updates from the regions.   

We would highlight - a portion of the CRC works remotely, ensuring Killam continues to have healthy individuals available throughout the duration of the outbreak.

Our Residents

Killam has instructed its staff to provide frequent and diligent cleaning of all high-touch areas at our properties.  Our amenity spaces, including gyms, libraries, social rooms and theatres, have been closed to assist with social distancing.  Closing amenity spaces enables cleaning resources to better focus on the areas that tenants more regularly frequent.   

We will continue to communicate with residents via Posters in the lobbies of each our or buildings, as well as by through our website.  Also, we have provided information related to proper hygiene practices and encouraged all residents to follow the protocols set-out by government and health authorities.

Killam Employees

Killam’s team has been receiving ongoing updates related to Killam’s Pandemic Illness Plan and its implementation.  We are providing support to our Killam employees across the country, assisting them as they adjust their routines and cleaning practices in the face of this challenge.  We have limited the number of office staff in any given office and where possible, we have staff working remotely.  We enforce self-isolation as directed by our health authorities for employees who have travelled, or have been in contact with a carrier, or who are symptomatic.

All Killam employees who are required to self-isolate or who are ill, will receive paid time-off, as we have temporarily made adjustments to our Leave Policy.

Looking Forward

Killam’s ability to operate efficiently, effectively, and with due care may well be impacted during the course of this pandemic, but Killam is prepared to make the necessary operational changes to provide our stakeholders the best service possible as this outbreak evolves.   

We recognize that these are very unsettling times and we want you to know that your safety and good health are our number one priority.

Yours Truly,

Philip Fraser

 

Killam COVID-19 | Tenant Information

COVID-19 | Tenant Information - Update 4 | March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020 

Update for Killam’s Multi-Residential and Manufactured Home Community Residents 

At Killam, three of our core values are Build Community, Strong Customer Relationships, and Do the Right Thing.  Never have these core values resonated more strongly than they have in recent days.  The global spread of the COVID-19 virus has reinforced that we all live in one small, connected community.  In order to best succeed in managing the impact of the virus it will be necessary to rely on family, friends, and also strangers, to do the right thing.  To keep us all healthy, especially those amongst us who are the most vulnerable, requires the considerate behaviour of, quite literally, each and every one of us.   

We would take this opportunity to acknowledge Killam’s frontline employees as they are the cornerstone of Killam’s operations.  We cannot thank the resident and assistant managers, cleaners, maintenance team members, and leasing staff enough for their continuous dedication and selflessness.  Their work is essential for Killam to operate and maintain its portfolio of apartments and manufactured home communities (MHCs).   

Killam is committed to keeping our properties, your homes, healthy and operational so that you have a sanctuary during this challenging time.  It is important our residents have a secure place to live, and to return to after work, or to work from should you be self-isolating, or perhaps as a place to recover.     

We know there are residents in our apartments and MHCs impacted by COVID-19 due to business closures, layoffs, requirements to self-isolate, or illness.  To assist residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, Killam is offering the following assistance during this period of crisis, or until further notice: 

  1. For tenants with rental increases that begin April 1, 2020, we will waive the collection of these rental increases;
     
  2. We will also suspend issuance of further rental increases, and   
     
  3. On a case-by-case basis, Killam will consider deferment of rent.  To be considered for deferment, we ask that you please submit a fully completed COVID-19 Related Rent Deferral Request (“Request”) to your Property Manager.  Once received, Killam will review the Request and contact you.  ​

•   To download the Apartment Request Form please click HERE.
•   To download the MHC Request Form please click HERE.

Working together we will successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.   

We thank you in advance, for your continued cooperation, support, and understanding.   

COVID-19 | Tenant Information - Update 3 | March 19, 2020

Date:   March 19, 2020
To:       All Tenants (via website)
Re:       Update - Pandemic Planning in Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease)
From:  Property Management


The health, safety and wellness of our residents, our employees, and the communities we serve, is of the utmost importance to Killam Apartment REIT. As such, we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and take guidance from the health authorities on best practices.

As per our earlier communications, Killam has taken several steps to support our communities in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including:

  • Increased cleaning of high-touch and frequently used areas;
     
  • Closing all amenity spaces, including social rooms, fitness centres, theatre rooms and libraries;
     
  • Ensuring all Killam employees practice high levels of personal hygiene and social distancing.

In addition to the measures above, we have further implemented the following:

  • Enforcing social distancing measures with employees and residents;
     
  • Encouraging tenants to cancel all social visitation and limit visits to care-giving only;
     
  • Limiting resident and employee interaction to phone calls and emails, where possible;
     
  • Suspension of in-person showing of occupied units, for leasing purposes;
     
  • Suspension of in-person unit condition visits by property management;
     
  • Maintenance calls limited to essential tasks only.

Building cleaning will continue with extra attention being paid to high-touch areas. All urgent maintenance requests will be attended to, and Killam’s employees will remain active and ready to receive your calls and emails and to respond accordingly.

It is important that we all do our part to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our Killam communities. We thank you for your continued support.

We are committed to the service of our Killam resident communities and encourage you to contact your resident manager or property manager with any concerns you may have. For up-to-date information please access our dedicated webpage https://killamreit.com/killam-covid-19-pandemic-planning

COVID-19 | Tenant Information - Update 2 | March 16, 2020

Date:   March 16, 2020
To:       All Tenants
Re:       Update - Pandemic Planning in Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease)
From:  Property Management


 

We encourage you to visit our Killam website at www.killamreit.com where we will provide updates.

The health, safety and wellness of our residents, our employees, and the communities we serve, is of the utmost importance to Killam Apartment REIT. As such, we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and take guidance from the health authorities on best practices. In an effort to encourage social distancing, we are implementing, in addition to our current Pandemic Illness Planning initiatives, the following measures:

Amenity Spaces including Social Rooms & Fitness Centres are closed

All amenity spaces including social rooms, fitness centres, study rooms and libraries, etc. will be closed until further notice.

Spring Unit Inspections:

At this time of year we complete our semi annual unit inspections – we conduct these spring and fall of each year. During this visit we check that your smoke detector, plumbing fixtures, etc. are in good working order.

  • Due to concerns from residents and in an effort to reduce in-person contact (social distancing) where possible, we will postpone the commencement of the Spring 2020 inspections for buildings where they have not already been completed. Our site teams are using this time to provide additional focus for the extra requirements related to COVID-19.
     
  • We will reassess the situation in mid-April and provide you with an update of when the inspections will resume.
     
  • Should you experience any issues with the functionality of your smoke detector, plumbing fixtures or, have any other maintenance concerns related to your unit or building, please contact your resident manager or property manager and we will address the issue.

Leasing Viewings of Occupied Units:

If you have given notice to vacate your unit at a future date, our leasing team will schedule viewings of your unit for prospective tenants from time to time.

  • Rest assured that our leasing reps who visit your unit will practice the recommended best practices such as handwashing, etc.
     
  • We also ask that you notify us (contact your resident or property manager) if you are unwell, experiencing symptoms of illness, have returned or have had direct contact with anyone who has returned from travelling outside Canada within the last 14 days. If any of these conditions apply, we will make other arrangements for viewings.

We are committed to the service of our Killam resident communities and encourage you to contact your resident manager or property manager with any concerns you may have.

For additional information on prevention measures, please visit: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/
 

Resources

If you would like additional information, we recommend accessing the following resources:

COVID-19 | Tenant Information - Update 1 | March 10, 2020

Date:   March 10, 2020
To:       All Tenants
Re:       Pandemic Planning in Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease)
From:  Property Management


Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19):

There has been ongoing news coverage and discussion of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and are actively monitoring developments and staying informed by reviewing information from trusted sources regularly, including the Nova Scotia Health Authority, The Public Health Agency of Canada, and the World Health Organization.

The risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low.

We will continue to monitor the situation and take guidance from health authorities. We will communicate updates and information as is warranted by internal procedural changes, and/or the release of new information from the public health authorities.

Emergency Response: Pandemic Illness Planning (PIP)

Killam Apartment REIT has developed an internal Pandemic Illness Plan (PIP) should the COVID-19 outbreak reach our areas of operation. The PIP covers areas such as: tenant and employee communication, travel advisories, employee illness protocol, education for supervisors, and business continuity planning. Killam’s PIP will be updated as is required.

How can COVID-19 be prevented?

There is currently no licensed vaccine for COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus).

 

We encourage tenants to always practice the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue (throw the tissue away)
  • Limit contact with others when you're sick
  • Limit touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Don't share items that may have saliva on them like utensils and bottles/glasses
  • Clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs, and countertops often

Best Practices if you feel unwell:

  • Avoid building social rooms and fitness facilities if your building has these amenities
  • Avoid close contact with people with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults
  • Avoid having visitors to your home
  • Avoid situations like social gatherings, work, school, daycare, visiting other people who are in a health care facility or long-term care residence
  • Limit taking public transit, taxis and ride sharing
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water frequently for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing
     

In Case of Illness:

  • Tenants are to follow protocols set by local and national health authorities and government agencies
  • Tenants are encouraged to stay home and seek medical advice if they experience symptoms
  • If a tenant has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 they must report their illness the public health authorities

Resources

If you would like additional information, we recommend accessing the following resources:

 

Killam COVID-19 | Stakeholder Information

COVID-19 | Letter to Stakeholders | March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020

Dear Stakeholder,

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by everyone in Canada and around the world. I’d like to provide you with an update on Killam’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and our considerations at this challenging time.

Firstly, our priority is the health and safety of our employees, residents, partners and communities. Killam recognizes that as a property owner, business operator, employer and community member, we have an important role to play in managing and controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Killam has been actively monitoring the growing impact of the virus and implementing its Pandemic Illness Plan to help lessen the spread of the virus and maintain the continued good health of all our stakeholders.

Killam has activated the following actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • We are communicating with our residents to let them know the actions we’re taking to help protect their health and wellbeing.
     
  • We have increased the frequency and diligence of cleaning of all high-touch areas at our properties.
     
  • We have closed amenity spaces at our properties to assist with social distancing, including gyms, libraries, social rooms and theatres.
     
  • We are providing support to our employees across the country, assisting them as they adjust their routines and cleaning practices in the face of this challenge.
     
  • We are supporting staff to work remotely, where possible.
     
  • All Killam employees who are required to self-isolate or who are ill will receive paid time-off, as we have made temporary adjustments to our Leave Policy.

We have a committed team at Killam who are adapting quickly to the changing circumstances. I am proud of the responsiveness and professionalism the group has taken in keeping our residents informed and safe.

In addition to health and safety measures noted above, Killam recognizes the financial challenges facing many Canadians. For those facing financial hardship, we will work with our residential and commercial tenants to find flexible solutions on a case-by-case basis. Also, we have made the decision to waive the collection of rental increases and will not issue any further rental increases during this period of crisis, beginning with the April 1, 2020, rent payment.

We appreciate that many people have questions about Killam’s response and exposure to COVID-19. We have prepared a Q&A to help answer questions. We will continue to update this list as additional questions are received.

Yours truly,
 

Philip Fraser
President &CEO

COVID-19 | Stakeholder Q&A | Updated March 26, 2020

Updated March 26, 2020

Forward-looking Statement Advisory

Please note, this document may contain forward-looking statements with respect to Killam Apartment REIT and its operations, strategy, financial performance and condition. These statements generally can be identified by use of forward-looking words such as “may”, “will”, “expect”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “intends”, “believe” or “continue” or the negative thereof or similar variations. The actual results and performance of Killam Apartment REIT discussed herein could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Such statements are qualified in their entirety by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include, among other things, the impact of COVID-19, general economic and market factors, competition, changes in government regulation and the factors described under “Risk Factors” in Killam’s annual information form and other securities regulatory filings. The cautionary statements qualify all forward-looking statements attributable to Killam Apartment REIT and persons acting on its behalf. Unless otherwise stated, all forward-looking statements speak only as of the date to which this presentation refers, and the parties have no obligation to update such statements.

  1. How is Killam managing the COVID-19 situation from an operations perspective?

    Killam has established a Covid-19 Response Committee (CRC) focused on monitoring this evolving pandemic and has developed the Pandemic Illness Plan as a guideline to help mitigate and manage the spread of the virus. This plan will be updated as required. Our CPC includes individuals from Killam’s property management, human resources, and information technology teams, as well as the executive team. Killam’s executive team is fully engaged and receives continuous updates from our regions.

    At the property level, we have increased the frequency and diligent cleaning of all high-touch areas at our properties. Our amenity spaces, including gyms, libraries, social rooms and theatres, have been closed to assist with social distancing. Closing amenity spaces enables cleaning resources to better focus on the areas that tenants more regularly frequent.

    Communications with our tenants and employees is a priority. We will continue to communicate with residents through our website, social media and via posters in the lobbies of each of our buildings. Also, we have provided information related to proper hygiene practices and encouraged all residents to follow the protocols set-out by government and health authorities.

    We are providing support to our Killam employees across the country, assisting them as they adjust their routines and cleaning practices in the face of this challenge. Our staff are working remotely, when possible, with a limited number of staff in any given office or property. We enforce self-isolation as directed by our health authorities for employees who have travelled, or have been in contact with a carrier, or who are symptomatic.

     

  2. Will tenants be receiving rental increases?

    We have made the decision to stop the collection of rental increases and will not issue any further rental increases during this period of crisis, beginning with April 1, 2020 rent payment.

     

  3. What happens to tenants who may struggle to pay their rent?

    During this period of crisis, we will not be evicting anyone who has arrears caused by financial hardship linked to the COVID-19 virus. Many provinces have implemented legislation to this effect, and we are fully supportive. We will work with tenants to discuss payment options for those facing financial hardship.

     

  4. What do you expect the non-sufficient funds (NSF) percentage will be during this COVID-19 crisis?

    Killam’s historical bad debt expense is low and was less than 0.2% of rental revenue in 2019. We expect this crisis will results in an increase in NSFs and bad debt expense in 2020 but it is too early to estimate what that amount may be.

     

  5. Do you have many tenants on a preapproved payment plan for their monthly rents?

    Yes, 75-80% of our tenants are on a preapproved payment plan.

     

  6. Do you expect a decrease in turnover due to COVID-19?

    Killam’s turnover in 2019 was 30%. It is too early to predict what the change in turnover might be.

     

  7. Are you still seeing leasing activity during the crisis?

    There has still been steady leasing activity. With implementing our Customer Relationship Management software in 2019, our leasing teams can work remotely during this time will little to no disruption. We have incorporated video showings and are not currently showing any occupied units.

     

  8. How much liquidity does Killam have?

    We have access to capital through two lines of credit totalling $75 million. In addition, we have an accordion feature on one of these lines for an additional $20 million. As at December 31, 2019 Killam did not have any amount drawn on its lines of credit. Subsequent to year-end Killam completed the acquisition of Christie Point Apartments, a $54 million apartment portfolio in Victoria. A portion of the Christie Point acquisition was funded with Killam’s line of credit. Following the funding of the Christie Point mortgage, Killam expects the balance on its line of credit to be under $10 million.

    In addition to our line of credit, we have a pool of unencumbered assets valued at approximately $77 million on which we could place mortgage debt, adding to our flexibility.

    Killam’s debt as a percentage of total asset as December 31, 2019 was 43.4%. With an upper limit of debt as a percentage of total assets of 70% according to our Declaration of Trust, Killam has flexibility to increase is debt levels in the future.

     

  9. Do you anticipate any issues regarding Killam’s mortgage refinancings in the coming months?

    No, we do not anticipate any issues with completing upcoming mortgage refinancings. We have a diversified and high-quality lender base and 80% of our mortgage debt is CMHC insured. We have completed mortgage financings over the last two weeks and our lenders have reassured us of their commitment to Killam during this pandemic crisis.

     

  10. How is your suite repositioning working currently? Are you still renovating units?

    Killam’s suite repositioning program, which had accelerated to more than 300 units in 2019 and expected to target 500 in 2020, may be affected by the pandemic. Killam expects delays in completing repositioning work during this period of crisis.

     

  11. How will the COVID19 pandemic impact your total capital spend for 2020?

    During this period of social distancing relating to COVID-19, Killam is limiting capital projects to essential projects, within the parameters of federal and provincial mandated regulations. This pause in certain capital projects may lead to a reduction in Killam’s capital spend in 2020 compared to the original estimate of between $70 and $75 million.

    Killam has the flexibility to adjust its capital program. Killam’s maintenance capital spend per year is estimated to be $900 per apartment unit, $300 per MHC site and $0.70 per square foot of commercial space, equal to $14 million in 2019. This spend represents the expected cost to maintain and sustain Killam’s properties, excluding value enhancing investments.

     

  12. Do you expect delays in your development projects? Are there additional costs associated with the delays?

    All of Killam’s construction sites are currently still operational, but we are seeing a slowdown. At this time, additional costs associated with the delays are not expected to be material.

     

  13. Are banks still advancing construction financing?

    Yes, we do not anticipate issues on construction draws.

     

  14. How does the COVID-19 pandemic change your views on capital allocation?

    Killam’s focus is on our existing portfolio during this period of crisis. Killam is evaluating existing opportunities in its acquisition pipeline to determine viability. Our development projects currently underway are expected to continue post crisis. The timing for starting new developments will be dependent on the length and depth of the COVID-19 pandemic.

     

  15. Have you made any adjustments to your 2020 Strategic Targets?

    We will provide any updates to our 2020 Strategic Targets with our Q1-2020 earnings release, as per our normal course of disclosure.

     

  16. What percentage of your business is commercial?

    4.7% of Killam’s 2019 net operating income was generated from our 739,000 square foot commercial portfolio.