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  • 10-K (Feb 25, 2010)
  • 10-K (Feb 26, 2009)
  • 10-K (Feb 27, 2008)

 
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EQUITY RESIDENTIAL 10-K 2010
Form 10-K
Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

 

x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the Fiscal Year Ended DECEMBER 31, 2009

OR

 

¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from              to             

Commission File Number: 1-12252

 

 

EQUITY RESIDENTIAL

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

 

 

Maryland   13-3675988

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

Incorporation or Organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

Two North Riverside Plaza, Chicago, Illinois   60606
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)   (Zip Code)

(312) 474-1300

(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Common Shares of Beneficial Interest, $0.01 Par Value   New York Stock Exchange
(Title of Each Class)   (Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered)
       
Preferred Shares of Beneficial Interest, $0.01 Par Value   New York Stock Exchange
(Title of Each Class)   (Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer   x    Accelerated filer   ¨
Non-accelerated filer   ¨  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)    Smaller reporting company   ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes  ¨    No  x

The aggregate market value of Common Shares held by non-affiliates of the Registrant was approximately $5.9 billion based upon the closing price on June 30, 2009 of $22.23 using beneficial ownership of shares rules adopted pursuant to Section 13 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to exclude voting shares owned by Trustees and Executive Officers, some of who may not be held to be affiliates upon judicial determination.

The number of Common Shares of Beneficial Interest, $0.01 par value, outstanding on February 19, 2010 was 281,884,878.

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Part III incorporates by reference certain information to be contained in the Company’s definitive proxy statement, which the Company anticipates will be filed no later than April 15, 2010, and thus these items have been omitted in accordance with General Instruction G(3) to Form 10-K.

 

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Table of Contents

EQUITY RESIDENTIAL

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

            PAGE

PART I.

       

Item 1.

    

Business

   4

Item 1A.

    

Risk Factors

   8

Item 1B.

    

Unresolved Staff Comments

   22

Item 2.

    

Properties

   23

Item 3.

    

Legal Proceedings

   26

Item 4.

    

Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders

   26

PART II.

       

Item 5.

    

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

   27

Item 6.

    

Selected Financial Data

   28

Item 7.

    

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

   30

Item 7A.

    

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

   50

Item 8.

    

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

   51

Item 9.

    

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

   51

Item 9A.

    

Controls and Procedures

   51

Item 9B.

    

Other Information

   52

PART III.

       

Item 10.

    

Trustees, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

   53

Item 11.

    

Executive Compensation

   53

Item 12.

    

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

   53

Item 13.

    

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Trustee Independence

   53

Item 14.

    

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

   53

PART IV.

       

Item 15.

    

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

   54

 

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Table of Contents

PART I

 

Item 1. Business

General

Equity Residential (“EQR”), a Maryland real estate investment trust (“REIT”) formed in March 1993, is an S&P 500 company focused on the acquisition, development and management of high quality apartment properties in top United States growth markets. EQR has elected to be taxed as a REIT.

The Company is one of the largest publicly traded real estate companies and is the largest publicly traded owner of multifamily properties in the United States (based on the aggregate market value of its outstanding Common Shares, the number of apartment units wholly owned and total revenues earned). The Company’s corporate headquarters are located in Chicago, Illinois and the Company also operates property management offices throughout the United States.

EQR is the general partner of, and as of December 31, 2009 owned an approximate 95.2% ownership interest in, ERP Operating Limited Partnership, an Illinois limited partnership (the “Operating Partnership”). The Company is structured as an umbrella partnership REIT (“UPREIT”) under which all property ownership and related business operations are conducted through the Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries. References to the “Company” include EQR, the Operating Partnership and those entities owned or controlled by the Operating Partnership and/or EQR.

As of December 31, 2009, the Company, directly or indirectly through investments in title holding entities, owned all or a portion of 495 properties in 23 states and the District of Columbia consisting of 137,007 units. The ownership breakdown includes (table does not include various uncompleted development properties):

 

     Properties    Units

Wholly Owned Properties

   432    118,796

Partially Owned Properties:

     

Consolidated

   27    5,530

Unconsolidated

   34    8,086

Military Housing

   2    4,595
         
   495    137,007

As of December 31, 2009, the Company has approximately 4,100 employees who provide real estate operations, leasing, legal, financial, accounting, acquisition, disposition, development and other support functions.

Certain capitalized terms used herein are defined in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Available Information

You may access our Annual Report on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to any of those reports we file with the SEC free of charge at our website, www.equityresidential.com. These reports are made available at our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we file them with the SEC.

Business Objectives and Operating Strategies

The Company seeks to maximize current income, capital appreciation of each property and the total return for its shareholders. The Company’s strategy for accomplishing these objectives includes:

 

   

Leveraging our size and scale in four critical ways:

 

   

Investing in apartment communities located in strategically targeted markets to maximize our total return on an enterprise level;

 

   

Meeting the needs of our residents by offering a wide array of product choices and a commitment to service;

 

   

Engaging, retaining and attracting the best employees by providing them with the education, resources and opportunities to succeed; and

 

   

Sharing resources and best practices in both property management and across the enterprise.

 

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Owning a highly diversified portfolio in our target markets. Target markets are defined by a combination of the following criteria:

 

   

High barrier-to-entry markets where because of land scarcity or government regulation it is difficult or costly to build new apartment complexes leading to low supply;

 

   

Strong economic growth leading to high demand for apartments; and

 

   

Markets with an attractive quality of life leading to high demand and retention.

 

   

Giving residents reasons to stay with the Company by providing a range of product choices available in our diversified portfolio and by enhancing their experience with us through meticulous customer service by our employees and by providing various value-added services.

 

   

Being open and responsive to changes in the market in order to take advantage of investment opportunities that align with our long-term vision.

Acquisition, Development and Disposition Strategies

The Company anticipates that future property acquisitions, developments and dispositions will occur within the United States. Acquisitions and developments may be financed from various sources of capital, which may include retained cash flow, issuance of additional equity and debt securities, sales of properties, joint venture agreements and collateralized and uncollateralized borrowings. In addition, the Company may acquire properties in transactions that include the issuance of limited partnership interests in the Operating Partnership (“OP Units”) as consideration for the acquired properties. Such transactions may, in certain circumstances, enable the sellers to defer, in whole or in part, the recognition of taxable income or gain that might otherwise result from the sales. EQR may also acquire land parcels to hold and/or sell based on market opportunities.

When evaluating potential acquisitions, developments and dispositions, the Company generally considers the following factors:

 

   

strategically targeted markets;

 

   

income levels and employment growth trends in the relevant market;

 

   

employment and household growth and net migration in the relevant market’s population;

 

   

barriers to entry that would limit competition (zoning laws, building permit availability, supply of undeveloped or developable real estate, local building costs and construction costs, among other factors);

 

   

the location, construction quality, age, condition and design of the property;

 

   

the current and projected cash flow of the property and the ability to increase cash flow;

 

   

the potential for capital appreciation of the property;

 

   

the terms of resident leases, including the potential for rent increases;

 

   

the potential for economic growth and the tax and regulatory environment of the community in which the property is located;

 

   

the occupancy and demand by residents for properties of a similar type in the vicinity (the overall market and submarket);

 

   

the prospects for liquidity through sale, financing or refinancing of the property;

 

   

the benefits of integration into existing operations;

 

   

purchase prices and yields of available existing stabilized properties, if any;

 

   

competition from existing multifamily properties, comparably priced single family homes or rentals, residential properties under development and the potential for the construction of new multifamily properties in the area; and

 

   

opportunistic selling based on demand and price of high quality assets, including condominium conversions.

The Company generally reinvests the proceeds received from property dispositions primarily to achieve its acquisition, development and rehab strategies and at times to fund its debt and equity repurchase activities. In addition, when feasible, the Company may structure these transactions as tax-deferred exchanges.

See also Note 20 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional discussion regarding the Company’s segment disclosures.

 

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Debt and Equity Activity

Please refer to Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, for the Company’s Capital Structure chart as of December 31, 2009.

Major Debt and Equity Activities for the Years Ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007

During 2009:

 

   

The Operating Partnership obtained $500.0 million of mortgage loan proceeds through the issuance of an 11 year (stated maturity date of July 1, 2020) cross-collateralized loan with an all-in fixed interest rate for 10 years at approximately 5.6% secured by 13 properties.

 

   

The Company issued 422,713 Common Shares pursuant to its Share Incentive Plans and received net proceeds of approximately $9.1 million.

 

   

The Company issued 324,394 Common Shares pursuant to its Employee Share Purchase Plan and received net proceeds of approximately $5.3 million.

 

   

The Company issued 3,497,300 Common Shares at an average price of $35.38 per share for total consideration of $123.7 million pursuant to its At-The-Market (“ATM”) share offering program. See Note 3 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

   

The Company repurchased and retired 47,450 of its Common Shares at an average price of $23.69 per share for total consideration of $1.1 million. See Note 3 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

   

The Company repurchased $75.8 million of its 5.20% fixed rate tax-exempt notes.

 

   

The Company repurchased at par $105.2 million of its 4.75% fixed rate public notes due June 15, 2009. In addition, the Company repaid the remaining $122.2 million of its 4.75% fixed rate public notes at maturity. See Note 9 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

   

The Company repurchased $185.2 million at par and $21.7 million at a price of 106% of par of its 6.95% fixed rate public notes due March 2, 2011. See Note 9 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

   

The Company repurchased $146.1 million of its 6.625% fixed rate public notes due March 15, 2012 at a price of 108% of par. See Note 9 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

   

The Company repurchased $127.9 million of its 5.50% fixed rate public notes due October 1, 2012 at a price of 107% of par. See Note 9 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

   

The Company repurchased $17.5 million of its 3.85% convertible fixed rate public notes due August 15, 2026 (putable in 2011) at a price of 88.4% of par. In addition, the Company repurchased $48.5 million of these notes at par. See Note 9 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

During 2008:

 

   

The Operating Partnership obtained $500.0 million of mortgage loan proceeds through the issuance of an 11.5 year (stated maturity date of October 1, 2019) cross-collateralized loan with a fixed stated interest rate for 10.5 years at 5.19% secured by 13 properties.

 

   

The Operating Partnership obtained $550.0 million of mortgage loan proceeds through the issuance of an 11.5 year (stated maturity date of March 1, 2020) cross-collateralized loan with a fixed stated interest rate for 10.5 years at approximately 6% secured by 15 properties.

 

   

The Operating Partnership obtained $543.0 million of mortgage loan proceeds through the issuance of an 8 year (stated maturity date of January 1, 2017) cross-collateralized loan with a fixed stated interest rate for 7 years at approximately 6% secured by 18 properties.

 

   

The Company issued 995,129 Common Shares pursuant to its Share Incentive Plans and received net proceeds of approximately $24.6 million.

 

   

The Company issued 195,961 Common Shares pursuant to its Employee Share Purchase Plan and received net proceeds of approximately $6.2 million.

 

   

The Company repurchased and retired 220,085 of its Common Shares at an average price of $35.93 per share for total consideration of $7.9 million. See Note 3 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

   

The Company repurchased $72.6 million of its 4.75% fixed rate public notes due June 15, 2009 at a price of 99.0% of par. See Note 9 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

   

The Company repurchased $101.4 million of its 3.85% convertible fixed rate public notes due August 15, 2026 (putable in 2011) at a price of 82.3% of par. See Note 9 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

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During 2007:

 

   

The Operating Partnership issued $350.0 million of five-year 5.50% fixed rate notes (the “October 2012 Notes”) in a public debt offering in May/June 2007. The October 2012 Notes were issued at a discount, which is being amortized over the life of the notes on a straight-line basis. The October 2012 Notes are due October 1, 2012 with interest payable semiannually in arrears on January 15 and July 15, commencing January 15, 2008. The Operating Partnership received net proceeds of approximately $346.1 million in connection with this issuance.

 

   

The Operating Partnership issued $650.0 million of ten-year 5.75% fixed rate notes (the “June 2017 Notes”) in a public debt offering in May/June 2007. The June 2017 Notes were issued at a discount, which is being amortized over the life of the notes on a straight-line basis. The June 2017 Notes are due June 15, 2017 with interest payable semiannually in arrears on January 15 and July 15, commencing January 15, 2008. The Operating Partnership received net proceeds of approximately $640.6 million in connection with this issuance.

 

   

The Operating Partnership obtained a three-year (subject to two one-year extension options) $500.0 million senior unsecured credit facility (term loan) which generally incurs a variable interest rate of LIBOR plus a spread dependent upon the current credit rating on the Operating Partnership’s long-term unsecured debt. The Operating Partnership paid $1.1 million in upfront costs, which will be deferred and amortized over the three-year term. EQR has guaranteed the Operating Partnership’s term loan facility up to the maximum amount and for the full term of the facility.

 

   

The Company issued 1,040,765 Common Shares pursuant to its Share Incentive Plans and received net proceeds of approximately $28.8 million.

 

   

The Company issued 189,071 Common Shares pursuant to its Employee Share Purchase Plan and received net proceeds of approximately $7.2 million.

 

   

The Company repurchased and retired 27,484,346 of its Common Shares at an average price of $44.62 per share for total consideration of $1.2 billion.

During the first quarter of 2010 through February 19, 2010, the Company has issued approximately 1.1 million Common Shares at an average price of $33.87 per share for total consideration of approximately $35.8 million through the ATM share offering program.

As of the date of this filing, an unlimited amount of debt securities remains available for issuance by the Operating Partnership under a registration statement that became automatically effective upon filing with the SEC in December 2008 (under SEC regulations enacted in 2005, the registration statement automatically expires on December 21, 2011 and does not contain a maximum issuance amount). As of the date of this filing, an unlimited amount of equity securities remains available for issuance by the Company under a registration statement the SEC declared effective in December 2008 (under SEC regulations enacted in 2005, the registration statement automatically expires on December 15, 2011 and does not contain a maximum issuance amount).

In May 2002, the Company’s shareholders approved the Company’s 2002 Share Incentive Plan. In January 2003, the Company filed a Form S-8 registration statement to register 23,125,828 Common Shares under this plan. As of January 1, 2010, 22,091,629 shares are the maximum shares issuable under this plan. See Note 14 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

Credit Facilities

The Operating Partnership has a $1.5 billion unsecured revolving credit facility maturing on February 28, 2012, with the ability to increase available borrowings by an additional $500.0 million by adding additional banks to the facility or obtaining the agreement of existing banks to increase their commitments. Advances under the credit facility bear interest at variable rates based upon LIBOR at various interest periods plus a spread (currently 0.5%) dependent upon the Operating Partnership’s credit rating or based on bids received from the lending group. EQR has guaranteed the Operating Partnership’s credit facility up to the maximum amount and for the full term of the facility.

During the year ended December 31, 2008, one of the providers of the Operating Partnership’s unsecured revolving credit facility declared bankruptcy. Under the existing terms of the credit facility, the provider’s share is up to $75.0 million of potential borrowings. As a result, the Operating Partnership’s borrowing capacity under the unsecured revolving credit facility has, in essence, been permanently reduced to $1.425 billion of potential borrowings. The obligation to fund by all of the other providers has not changed.

 

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As of December 31, 2009, the amount available on the credit facility was $1.37 billion (net of $56.7 million which was restricted/dedicated to support letters of credit and net of the $75.0 million discussed above). As of December 31, 2008, the amount available on the credit facility was $1.29 billion (net of $130.0 million which was restricted/dedicated to support letters of credit and net of the $75.0 million discussed above). The Company did not draw on its revolving credit facility and had no balance outstanding at any time during the year ended December 31, 2009. During the year ended December 31, 2008, the weighted average interest rate was 4.31%.

Competition

All of the Company’s properties are located in developed areas that include other multifamily properties. The number of competitive multifamily properties in a particular area could have a material effect on the Company’s ability to lease units at the properties or at any newly acquired properties and on the rents charged. The Company may be competing with other entities that have greater resources than the Company and whose managers have more experience than the Company’s managers. In addition, other forms of rental properties and single family housing provide housing alternatives to potential residents of multifamily properties. See Item 1A. Risk Factors for additional information with respect to competition.

Environmental Considerations

See Item 1A. Risk Factors for information concerning the potential effects of environmental regulations on our operations.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors

General

The following Risk Factors may contain defined terms that are different from those used in the other sections of this report. Unless otherwise indicated, when used in this section, the terms “we” and “us” refer to Equity Residential and its subsidiaries, including ERP Operating Limited Partnership. This Item 1A. includes forward-looking statements. You should refer to our discussion of the qualifications and limitations on forward-looking statements included in Item 7.

The occurrence of the events discussed in the following risk factors could adversely affect, possibly in a material manner, our business, financial condition or results of operations, which could adversely affect the value of our common shares of beneficial interest or preferred shares of beneficial interest (which we refer to collectively as “Shares”) and limited partnership interests in the Operating Partnership (“OP Units”). In this section, we refer to the Shares and the OP Units together as our “securities” and the investors who own Shares and/or OP Units as our “security holders”.

Our Performance and Securities Value are Subject to Risks Associated with the Real Estate Industry

General

Real property investments are subject to varying degrees of risk and are relatively illiquid. Several factors may adversely affect the economic performance and value of our properties. These factors include changes in the national, regional and local economic climates, local conditions such as an oversupply of multifamily properties or a reduction in demand for our multifamily properties, the attractiveness of our properties to residents, competition from other available multifamily property owners and single family homes and changes in market rental rates. Our performance also depends on our ability to collect rent from residents and to pay for adequate maintenance, insurance and other operating costs, including real estate taxes, which could increase over time. Sources of labor and materials required for maintenance, repair, capital expenditure or development may be more expensive than anticipated. Also, the expenses of owning and operating a property are not necessarily reduced when circumstances such as market factors and competition cause a reduction in income from the property.

We May Not Have Sufficient Cash Flows From Operations After Capital Expenditures to Cover Our Distributions

We generally consider our cash flows provided by operating activities after capital expenditures to be adequate to meet operating requirements and payment of distributions to our security holders. However, there may be times when we experience shortfalls in our coverage of distributions, which may cause us to consider reducing our distributions and/or using the proceeds from property dispositions or additional financing transactions to make up the

 

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difference. Should these shortfalls occur for lengthy periods of time or be material in nature, our financial condition may be adversely affected and we may not be able to maintain our current distribution levels.

We May Be Unable to Renew Leases or Relet Units as Leases Expire

When our residents decide not to renew their leases upon expiration, we may not be able to relet their units. Even if the residents do renew or we can relet the units, the terms of renewal or reletting may be less favorable than current lease terms. Because virtually all of our leases are for apartments, they are generally for terms of no more than one year. If we are unable to promptly renew the leases or relet the units, or if the rental rates upon renewal or reletting are significantly lower than expected rates, then our results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected. Occupancy levels and market rents may be adversely affected by national and local economic and market conditions including, without limitation, new construction and excess inventory of multifamily and single family housing, slow or negative employment growth, availability of low interest mortgages for single family home buyers and the potential for geopolitical instability, all of which are beyond the Company’s control. In addition, various state and local municipalities are considering and may continue to consider rent control legislation which could limit our ability to raise rents. Finally, the federal government is considering and may continue to consider policies which may encourage home ownership, thus increasing competition and possibly limiting our ability to raise rents. Consequently, our cash flow and ability to service debt and make distributions to security holders could be reduced.

New Acquisitions and/or Development Projects May Fail to Perform as Expected and Competition for Acquisitions May Result in Increased Prices for Properties

We intend to actively acquire multifamily properties for rental operations as market conditions dictate. The Company also develops projects and currently has several properties under development. We may begin new development activities if conditions warrant. We may underestimate the costs necessary to bring an acquired property up to standards established for its intended market position or to complete a development property. Additionally, we expect that other major real estate investors with significant capital will compete with us for attractive investment opportunities or may also develop properties in markets where we focus our development efforts. This competition may increase prices for multifamily properties. We may not be in a position or have the opportunity in the future to make suitable property acquisitions on favorable terms. To the extent that we do develop more properties if conditions warrant, we expect to do so ourselves in addition to co-investing with our development partners. The total number of development units, costs of development and estimated completion dates are subject to uncertainties arising from changing economic conditions (such as the cost of labor and construction materials), competition and local government regulation.

In connection with such government regulation, we may incur liability if our properties are not constructed and operated in compliance with the accessibility provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Acts, the Fair Housing Act or other federal, state or local requirements. Noncompliance could result in fines, subject us to lawsuits and require us to remediate or repair the noncompliance.

Because Real Estate Investments Are Illiquid, We May Not Be Able to Sell Properties When Appropriate

Real estate investments generally cannot be sold quickly. We may not be able to reconfigure our portfolio promptly in response to economic or other conditions. This inability to respond promptly to changes in the performance of our investments could adversely affect our financial condition and ability to make distributions to our security holders.

The Value of Investment Securities Could Result In Losses to the Company

From time to time, the Company holds investment securities that have a higher risk profile than the government obligations and bond funds, money market funds or bank deposits in which we generally invest. On occasion we may purchase securities of companies in our own industry as a means to invest funds. There may be times when we experience declines in the value of these investment securities, which may result in losses to the Company and our financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected. Sometimes the cash we deposit at a bank exceeds the FDIC insurance limit resulting in risk to the Company of loss of funds if these banks fail.

Changes in Laws and Litigation Risk Could Affect Our Business

We are generally not able to pass through to our residents under existing leases real estate or other federal, state or local taxes. Consequently, any such tax increases may adversely affect our financial condition and limit our ability to make distributions to our security holders.

We may become involved in legal proceedings, including but not limited to, proceedings related to consumer, employment, development, condominium conversion, tort and commercial legal issues that if decided adversely to or settled by us, could result in liability material to our financial condition or results of operations.

 

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Environmental Problems Are Possible and Can Be Costly

Federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment may require a current or previous owner or operator of real estate to investigate and clean up hazardous or toxic substances or petroleum product releases at such property. The owner or operator may have to pay a governmental entity or third parties for property damage and for investigation and clean-up costs incurred by such parties in connection with the contamination. These laws typically impose clean-up responsibility and liability without regard to whether the owner or operator knew of or caused the presence of the contaminants. Even if more than one person may have been responsible for the contamination, each person covered by the environmental laws may be held responsible for all of the clean-up costs incurred. In addition, third parties may sue the owner or operator of a site for damages and costs resulting from environmental contamination emanating from that site.

Substantially all of our properties have been the subject of environmental assessments completed by qualified independent environmental consulting companies. While these environmental assessments have not revealed, nor are we aware of, any environmental liability that our management believes would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition or liquidity, there can be no assurance that we will not incur such liabilities in the future.

Over the past several years, there have been an increasing number of lawsuits against owners and managers of multifamily properties alleging personal injury and property damage caused by the presence of mold in residential real estate. As some of these lawsuits have resulted in substantial monetary judgments or settlements, insurance carriers have reacted by excluding mold-related claims from standard policies and pricing mold endorsements at prohibitively high rates. We have adopted programs designed to minimize the existence of mold in any of our properties as well as guidelines for promptly addressing and resolving reports of mold to minimize any impact mold might have on our residents or the property.

We cannot be assured that existing environmental assessments of our properties reveal all environmental liabilities, that any prior owner of any of our properties did not create a material environmental condition not known to us, or that a material environmental condition does not otherwise exist as to any of our properties.

Climate Change

To the extent that climate change does occur, we may experience extreme weather and changes in precipitation and temperature, all of which may result in physical damage or a decrease in demand for properties located in these areas or affected by these conditions. Should the impact of climate change be material in nature, including destruction of our properties, or occur for lengthy periods of time, our financial condition or results of operations may be adversely affected.

In addition, developments in federal and state legislation and regulation on climate change could result in increased capital expenditures to improve the energy efficiency of our existing properties and could also require us to spend more on our new development properties without a corresponding increase in revenue.

Insurance Policy Deductibles and Exclusions

In order to manage insurance costs, management has gradually increased deductible and self-insured retention amounts. As of December 31, 2009, the Company’s property insurance policy provides for a per occurrence deductible of $250,000 and self-insured retention of $5.0 million per occurrence, subject to a maximum annual aggregate self-insured retention of $7.5 million, with approximately 80% of any excess losses being covered by insurance. Any earthquake and named windstorm losses are subject to a deductible of 5% of the values of the buildings involved in the losses and are not subject to the aggregate self-insured retention. The Company’s general liability and worker’s compensation policies at December 31, 2009 provide for a $2.0 million and $1.0 million per occurrence deductible, respectively. These higher deductible and self-insured retention amounts do expose the Company to greater potential uninsured losses, but management believes the savings in insurance premium expense justify this potential increased exposure over the long-term. However, the potential impact of climate change and increased severe weather could cause a significant increase in insurance premiums and deductibles, particularly for our coastal properties, or a decrease in the availability of coverage, either of which could expose the Company to even greater uninsured losses which may adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.

As a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, property insurance carriers created exclusions for losses from terrorism from our “all risk” property insurance policies. As of December 31, 2009, the Company was

 

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insured for $500.0 million in terrorism insurance coverage, with a $100,000 deductible. This coverage excludes losses from nuclear, biological and chemical attacks. In the event of a terrorist attack impacting one or more of our properties, we could lose the revenues from the property, our capital investment in the property and possibly face liability claims from residents or others suffering injuries or losses. The Company believes, however, that the number of properties in and geographic diversity of its portfolio and its terrorism insurance coverage help to mitigate its exposure to the risks associated with potential terrorist attacks.

Debt Financing and Preferred Shares Could Adversely Affect Our Performance

General

Please refer to Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, for the Company’s total debt and unsecured debt summaries as of December 31, 2009.

In addition to debt, we have $208.8 million of combined liquidation value of outstanding preferred shares of beneficial interest with a weighted average dividend preference of 6.94% per annum as of December 31, 2009. Our use of debt and preferred equity financing creates certain risks, including the following:

Disruptions in the Financial Markets Could Adversely Affect Our Ability to Obtain Debt Financing and Impact our Acquisitions and Dispositions

Dislocations and liquidity disruptions in capital and credit markets could impact liquidity in the debt markets, resulting in financing terms that are less attractive to us and/or the unavailability of certain types of debt financing. Should the capital and credit markets experience volatility and the availability of funds again become limited, or be available only on unattractive terms, we will incur increased costs associated with issuing debt instruments. In addition, it is possible that our ability to access the capital and credit markets may be limited or precluded by these or other factors at a time when we would like, or need, to do so, which would adversely impact our ability to refinance maturing debt and/or react to changing economic and business conditions. Disruptions in the floating rate tax-exempt bond market (where interest rates reset weekly) and in the credit market’s perception of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee and provide liquidity for these bonds, have been experienced in the past and may be experienced in the future and could result in an increase in interest rates on these debt obligations. These bonds could also be put to our consolidated subsidiaries if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac fail to satisfy their guaranty obligations. While this obligation is in almost all cases non-recourse to us, this could cause the Company to have to repay these obligations on short notice or risk foreclosure actions on the collateralized assets. Furthermore, while we believe Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue to provide liquidity to our sector, should they discontinue doing so, have their mandates changed or reduced or be disbanded or reorganized by the government, it would significantly reduce our access to debt capital and/or increase borrowing costs and would significantly reduce our sales of assets. Uncertainty in the credit markets could negatively impact our ability to make acquisitions and make it more difficult or not possible for us to sell properties or may adversely affect the price we receive for properties that we do sell, as prospective buyers may experience increased costs of debt financing or difficulties in obtaining debt financing. Potential continued disruptions in the financial markets could also have other unknown adverse effects on us or the economy generally and may cause the price of our Common Shares to fluctuate significantly and/or to decline.

Non-Performance by Our Counterparties Could Adversely Affect Our Performance

Although we have not experienced any material counterparty non-performance, disruptions in financial and credit markets could, among other things, impede the ability of our counterparties to perform on their contractual obligations. There are multiple financial institutions that are individually committed to lend us varying amounts as part of our revolving credit facility. Should any of these institutions fail to fund their committed amounts when contractually required, our financial condition could be adversely affected. Should several of these institutions fail to fund, we could experience significant financial distress. One of the financial institutions, with a commitment of $75.0 million, declared bankruptcy in 2008 and it is unlikely that they will honor their financial commitment. Our borrowing capacity under the credit facility has in essence been permanently reduced to $1.425 billion.

The Company also has several assets under development with joint venture partners which were financed by financial institutions that have experienced varying degrees of distress in the past and could experience similar distress as economic conditions change. If one or more of these lenders fail to fund when contractually required, the Company or its joint venture partner may be unable to complete construction of its development properties. Further, the Company’s joint venture partners may experience financial distress and to the extent they do not meet their obligations to us or our joint ventures with them, we may be adversely affected. In addition, the Company relies on third party insurance providers for its property, general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. While there has yet to be any non-performance by these major

 

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insurance providers, should any of them experience liquidity issues or other financial distress, it could negatively impact the Company.

A Significant Downgrade in Our Credit Ratings Could Adversely Affect Our Performance

A significant downgrade in our credit ratings, while not affecting our ability to draw proceeds under the revolving credit facility, would cause our borrowing costs to increase under the facility and impact our ability to borrow secured and unsecured debt by increasing borrowing costs, or otherwise limit our access to capital. In addition, a downgrade below investment grade would require us to post cash collateral and/or letters of credit in favor of some of our secured lenders to cover our self-insured property and liability insurance deductibles.

Scheduled Debt Payments Could Adversely Affect Our Financial Condition

In the future, our cash flow could be insufficient to meet required payments of principal and interest or to pay distributions on our securities at expected levels.

We may not be able to refinance existing debt, including joint venture indebtedness (which in virtually all cases requires substantial principal payments at maturity) and, if we can, the terms of such refinancing might not be as favorable as the terms of existing indebtedness. If principal payments due at maturity cannot be refinanced, extended or paid with proceeds of other capital transactions, such as new equity capital, our cash flow will not be sufficient in all years to repay all maturing debt. As a result, certain of our other debt may cross default, we may be forced to postpone capital expenditures necessary for the maintenance of our properties, we may have to dispose of one or more properties on terms that would otherwise be unacceptable to us or we may be forced to allow the mortgage holder to foreclose on a property.

If a property we own is mortgaged to secure debt and we are unable to meet the mortgage payments, the holder of the mortgage could foreclose on the property, resulting in loss of income and asset value. Foreclosure on mortgaged properties or an inability to refinance existing indebtedness would likely have a negative impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

Please refer to Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, for the Company’s debt maturity schedule as of December 31, 2009.

Financial Covenants Could Adversely Affect the Company’s Financial Condition

The mortgages on our properties may contain customary negative covenants that, among other things, limit our ability, without the prior consent of the lender, to further mortgage the property and to reduce or change insurance coverage. In addition, our unsecured credit facilities contain certain restrictions, requirements and other limitations on our ability to incur debt. The indentures under which a substantial portion of our unsecured debt was issued also contain certain financial and operating covenants including, among other things, maintenance of certain financial ratios, as well as limitations on our ability to incur secured and unsecured debt (including acquisition financing), and to sell all or substantially all of our assets. Our credit facilities and indentures are cross-defaulted and also contain cross default provisions with other material debt. The Company believes it was in compliance with its unsecured public debt covenants for both the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008.

Some of the properties were financed with tax-exempt bonds that contain certain restrictive covenants or deed restrictions. We have retained an independent outside consultant to monitor compliance with the restrictive covenants and deed restrictions that affect these properties. If these bond compliance requirements restrict our ability to increase our rental rates to low or moderate-income residents, or eligible/qualified residents, then our income from these properties may be limited. Generally, we believe that the interest rate benefit attendant to properties with tax-exempt bonds more than outweighs any loss of income due to restrictive covenants or deed restrictions.

Our Degree of Leverage Could Limit Our Ability to Obtain Additional Financing

Our consolidated debt-to-total market capitalization ratio was 48.1% as of December 31, 2009. Our degree of leverage could have important consequences to security holders. For example, the degree of leverage could affect our ability to obtain additional financing in the future for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, development or other general corporate purposes, making us more vulnerable to a downturn in business or the economy in general.

 

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Rising Interest Rates Could Adversely Affect Cash Flow

Advances under our credit facilities bear interest at variable rates based upon LIBOR at various interest periods, plus a spread dependent upon the Operating Partnership’s credit rating, or based upon bids received from the lending group. Certain public issuances of our senior unsecured debt instruments may also, from time to time, bear interest at floating rates. We may also borrow additional money with variable interest rates in the future. Increases in interest rates would increase our interest expense under these debt instruments and would increase the costs of refinancing existing debt and of issuing new debt. Accordingly, higher interest rates could adversely affect cash flow and our ability to service our debt and make distributions to security holders.

Derivatives and Hedging Activity Could Adversely Affect Cash Flow

In the normal course of business, we use derivatives to hedge our exposure to interest rate volatility on debt instruments, including hedging for future debt issuances. There can be no assurance that these hedging arrangements will have the desired beneficial impact. These arrangements, which can include a number of counterparties, may expose us to additional risks, including failure of any of our counterparties to perform under these contracts, and may involve extensive costs, such as transaction fees or breakage costs, if we terminate them. No strategy can completely insulate us from the risks associated with interest rate fluctuations.

We Depend on Our Key Personnel

We depend on the efforts of the Chairman of our Board of Trustees, Samuel Zell, and our executive officers, particularly David J. Neithercut, our President and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”). If they resign or otherwise cease to be employed by us, our operations could be temporarily adversely affected. Mr. Zell has entered into retirement benefit and noncompetition agreements with the Company.

Control and Influence by Significant Shareholders Could Be Exercised in a Manner Adverse to Other Shareholders

The consent of certain affiliates of Mr. Zell is required for certain amendments to the Sixth Amended and Restated Agreement of Limited Partnership of the Operating Partnership (the “Partnership Agreement”). As a result of their security ownership and rights concerning amendments to the Partnership Agreement, the security holders referred to herein may have influence over the Company. Although to the Company’s knowledge these security holders have not agreed to act together on any matter, they would be in a position to exercise even more influence over the Company’s affairs if they were to act together in the future. This influence could conceivably be exercised in a manner that is inconsistent with the interests of other security holders. For additional information regarding the security ownership of our trustees, including Mr. Zell, and our executive officers, see the Company’s definitive proxy statement.

Shareholders’ Ability to Effect Changes in Control of the Company is Limited

Provisions of Our Declaration of Trust and Bylaws Could Inhibit Changes in Control

Certain provisions of our Declaration of Trust and Bylaws may delay or prevent a change in control of the Company or other transactions that could provide the security holders with a premium over the then-prevailing market price of their securities or which might otherwise be in the best interest of our security holders. This includes the 5% Ownership Limit described below. While our existing preferred shares do not have these provisions, any future series of preferred shares may have certain voting provisions that could delay or prevent a change in control or other transactions that might otherwise be in the interest of our security holders. In 2008, we adopted amendments to our Bylaws to expand the information required to be provided by any security holder, or persons acting in concert with such security holder, who proposes business or a nominee at an annual meeting of shareholders, including disclosure of information related to hedging activities and investment strategies with respect to our securities. These amendments could delay or prevent a change in control or other transactions that might otherwise be in the interest of our security holders.

We Have a Share Ownership Limit for REIT Tax Purposes

To remain qualified as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, not more than 50% in value of our outstanding Shares may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of any year. To facilitate maintenance of our REIT qualification, our Declaration of Trust, subject to certain exceptions, prohibits ownership by any single shareholder of more than 5% of the lesser of the number or value of the outstanding

 

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class of common or preferred shares. We refer to this restriction as the “Ownership Limit.” Absent any exemption or waiver granted by our Board of Trustees, securities acquired or held in violation of the Ownership Limit will be transferred to a trust for the exclusive benefit of a designated charitable beneficiary, and the security holder’s rights to distributions and to vote would terminate. A transfer of Shares may be void if it causes a person to violate the Ownership Limit. The Ownership Limit could delay or prevent a change in control and, therefore, could adversely affect our security holders’ ability to realize a premium over the then-prevailing market price for their Shares. To reduce the ability of the Board to use the Ownership Limit as an anti-takeover device, in 2004 the Company amended the Ownership Limit to require, rather than permit, the Board to grant a waiver of the Ownership Limit if the individual seeking a waiver demonstrates that such ownership would not jeopardize the Company’s status as a REIT.

Our Preferred Shares May Affect Changes in Control

Our Declaration of Trust authorizes the Board of Trustees to issue up to 100 million preferred shares, and to establish the preferences and rights (including the right to vote and the right to convert into common shares) of any preferred shares issued. The Board of Trustees may use its powers to issue preferred shares and to set the terms of such securities to delay or prevent a change in control of the Company, even if a change in control were in the interest of security holders.

Inapplicability of Maryland Law Limiting Certain Changes in Control

Certain provisions of Maryland law applicable to real estate investment trusts prohibit “business combinations” (including certain issuances of equity securities) with any person who beneficially owns ten percent or more of the voting power of outstanding securities, or with an affiliate who, at any time within the two-year period prior to the date in question, was the beneficial owner of ten percent or more of the voting power of the Company’s outstanding voting securities (an “Interested Shareholder”), or with an affiliate of an Interested Shareholder. These prohibitions last for five years after the most recent date on which the Interested Shareholder became an Interested Shareholder. After the five-year period, a business combination with an Interested Shareholder must be approved by two super-majority shareholder votes unless, among other conditions, holders of common shares receive a minimum price for their shares and the consideration is received in cash or in the same form as previously paid by the Interested Shareholder for its common shares. As permitted by Maryland law, however, the Board of Trustees of the Company has opted out of these restrictions with respect to any business combination involving Mr. Zell and certain of his affiliates and persons acting in concert with them. Consequently, the five-year prohibition and the super-majority vote requirements will not apply to a business combination involving us and/or any of them. Such business combinations may not be in the best interest of our security holders.

Our Success as a REIT Is Dependent on Compliance with Federal Income Tax Requirements

Our Failure to Qualify as a REIT Would Have Serious Adverse Consequences to Our Security Holders

We believe that we have qualified for taxation as a REIT for federal income tax purposes since our taxable year ended December 31, 1992 based, in part, upon opinions of tax counsel received whenever we have issued equity securities or engaged in significant merger transactions. We plan to continue to meet the requirements for taxation as a REIT. Many of these requirements, however, are highly technical and complex. We cannot, therefore, guarantee that we have qualified or will qualify in the future as a REIT. The determination that we are a REIT requires an analysis of various factual matters that may not be totally within our control. For example, to qualify as a REIT, our gross income must generally come from rental and other real estate or passive related sources that are itemized in the REIT tax laws. We are also required to distribute to security holders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income excluding capital gains. The fact that we hold our assets through ERP Operating Limited Partnership and its subsidiaries further complicates the application of the REIT requirements. Even a technical or inadvertent mistake could jeopardize our REIT status. Furthermore, Congress and the IRS might make changes to the tax laws and regulations, and the courts might issue new rulings that make it more difficult, or impossible, for us to remain qualified as a REIT. We do not believe, however, that any pending or proposed tax law changes would jeopardize our REIT status. In addition, Congress and the IRS have recently liberalized the REIT qualification rules to permit REITs in certain circumstances to pay a monetary penalty for inadvertent mistakes rather than lose REIT status.

If we fail to qualify as a REIT, we would be subject to federal income tax at regular corporate rates. Also, unless the IRS granted us relief under certain statutory provisions, we would remain disqualified from taxation as a REIT for four years following the year in which we failed to qualify as a REIT. If we fail to qualify as a REIT, we would have to pay significant income taxes. We, therefore, would have less money available for investments or for distributions to security holders. This would likely have a significant adverse effect on the value of our securities. In

 

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addition, we would no longer be required to make any distributions to security holders. Even if we qualify as a REIT, we are and will continue to be subject to certain federal, state and local taxes on our income and property. In addition, our corporate housing business and condominium conversion business, which are conducted through taxable REIT subsidiaries, generally will be subject to federal and state income tax at regular corporate rates to the extent they have taxable income.

We Could Be Disqualified as a REIT or Have to Pay Taxes if Our Merger Partners Did Not Qualify as REITs

If any of our prior merger partners had failed to qualify as a REIT throughout the duration of their existence, then they might have had undistributed “C corporation earnings and profits” at the time of their merger with us. If that was the case and we did not distribute those earnings and profits prior to the end of the year in which the merger took place, we might not qualify as a REIT. We believe based, in part, upon opinions of legal counsel received pursuant to the terms of our merger agreements as well as our own investigations, among other things, that each of our prior merger partners qualified as a REIT and that, in any event, none of them had any undistributed “C corporation earnings and profits” at the time of their merger with us. If any of our prior merger partners failed to qualify as a REIT, an additional concern would be that they could have been required to recognize taxable gain at the time they merged with us. We would be liable for the tax on such gain. We also could have to pay corporate income tax on any gain existing at the time of the applicable merger on assets acquired in the merger if the assets are sold within ten years of the merger.

Compliance with REIT Distribution Requirements May Affect Our Financial Condition

Distribution Requirements May Increase the Indebtedness of the Company

We may be required from time to time, under certain circumstances, to accrue as income for tax purposes interest and rent earned but not yet received. In such event, or upon our repayment of principal on debt, we could have taxable income without sufficient cash to enable us to meet the distribution requirements of a REIT. Accordingly, we could be required to borrow funds or liquidate investments on adverse terms in order to meet these distribution requirements.

Tax Elections Regarding Distributions May Impact Future Liquidity of the Company

During 2008 and 2009, we did make, and under certain circumstances may consider making again in the future, a tax election to treat future distributions to shareholders as distributions in the current year. This election, which is provided for in the REIT tax code, may allow us to avoid increasing our dividends or paying additional income taxes in the current year. However, this could result in a constraint on our ability to decrease our dividends in future years without creating risk of either violating the REIT distribution requirements or generating additional income tax liability.

Federal Income Tax Considerations

General

The following discussion summarizes the federal income tax considerations material to a holder of common shares. It is not exhaustive of all possible tax considerations. For example, it does not give a detailed discussion of any state, local or foreign tax considerations. The following discussion also does not address all tax matters that may be relevant to prospective shareholders in light of their particular circumstances. Moreover, it does not address all tax matters that may be relevant to shareholders who are subject to special treatment under the tax laws, such as insurance companies, tax-exempt entities, financial institutions or broker-dealers, foreign corporations, persons who are not citizens or residents of the United States and persons who own shares through a partnership or other entity treated as a flow-through entity for federal income tax purposes.

The specific tax attributes of a particular shareholder could have a material impact on the tax considerations associated with the purchase, ownership and disposition of common shares. Therefore, it is essential that each prospective shareholder consult with his or her own tax advisors with regard to the application of the federal income tax laws to the shareholder’s personal tax situation, as well as any tax consequences arising under the laws of any state, local or foreign taxing jurisdiction.

The information in this section is based on the current Internal Revenue Code, current, temporary and proposed Treasury regulations, the legislative history of the Internal Revenue Code, current administrative

 

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interpretations and practices of the Internal Revenue Service, including its practices and policies as set forth in private letter rulings, which are not binding on the Internal Revenue Service, and existing court decisions. Future legislation, regulations, administrative interpretations and court decisions could change current law or adversely affect existing interpretations of current law. Any change could apply retroactively. Thus, it is possible that the Internal Revenue Service could challenge the statements in this discussion, which do not bind the Internal Revenue Service or the courts, and that a court could agree with the Internal Revenue Service.

Our Taxation

We elected REIT status beginning with the year that ended December 31, 1992. In any year in which we qualify as a REIT, we generally will not be subject to federal income tax on the portion of our REIT taxable income or capital gain that we distribute to our shareholders. This treatment substantially eliminates the double taxation that applies to most corporations, which pay a tax on their income and then distribute dividends to shareholders who are in turn taxed on the amount they receive. We elected taxable REIT subsidiary status for certain of our corporate subsidiaries, primarily those engaged in condominium conversion and sale activities. As a result, we will be subject to federal income taxes for activities performed by our taxable REIT subsidiaries.

We will be subject to federal income tax at regular corporate rates upon our REIT taxable income or capital gains that we do not distribute to our shareholders. In addition, we will be subject to a 4% excise tax if we do not satisfy specific REIT distribution requirements. We could also be subject to the “alternative minimum tax” on our items of tax preference. In addition, any net income from “prohibited transactions” (i.e., dispositions of property, other than property held by a taxable REIT subsidiary, held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business) will be subject to a 100% tax. We could also be subject to a 100% penalty tax on certain payments received from or on certain expenses deducted by a taxable REIT subsidiary if any such transaction is not respected by the Internal Revenue Service. If we fail to satisfy the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test (described below) but have maintained our qualification as a REIT because we satisfied certain other requirements, we will still generally be subject to a 100% penalty tax on the taxable income attributable to the gross income that caused the income test failure. If we fail to satisfy any of the REIT asset tests (described below) by more than a de minimis amount, due to reasonable cause, and we nonetheless maintain our REIT qualification because of specified cure provisions, we will be required to pay a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 or the highest marginal corporate tax rate multiplied by the net income generated by the non-qualifying assets. If we fail to satisfy any provision of the Internal Revenue Code that would result in our failure to qualify as a REIT (other than a violation of the REIT gross income or asset tests described below) and the violation is due to reasonable cause, we may retain our REIT qualification but we will be required to pay a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure. Moreover, we may be subject to taxes in certain situations and on certain transactions that we do not presently contemplate.

We believe that we have qualified as a REIT for all of our taxable years beginning with 1992. We also believe that our current structure and method of operation is such that we will continue to qualify as a REIT. However, given the complexity of the REIT qualification requirements, we cannot provide any assurance that the actual results of our operations have satisfied or will satisfy the requirements under the Internal Revenue Code for a particular year.

If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT in any taxable year and the relief provisions described herein do not apply, we will be subject to tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. We also may be subject to the corporate “alternative minimum tax.” As a result, our failure to qualify as a REIT would significantly reduce the cash we have available to distribute to our shareholders. Unless entitled to statutory relief, we would not be able to re-elect to be taxed as a REIT until our fifth taxable year after the year of disqualification. It is not possible to state whether we would be entitled to statutory relief.

Our qualification and taxation as a REIT depend on our ability to satisfy various requirements under the Internal Revenue Code. We are required to satisfy these requirements on a continuing basis through actual annual operating and other results. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to operate in a manner so as to remain qualified as a REIT.

Ownership of Taxable REIT Subsidiaries by Us. The Internal Revenue Code provides that REITs may own greater than ten percent of the voting power and value of the securities of “taxable REIT subsidiaries” or “TRSs”, which are corporations subject to tax as a regular “C” corporation that have elected, jointly with a REIT, to be a TRS. Generally, a taxable REIT subsidiary may own assets that cannot otherwise be owned by a REIT and can perform impermissible tenant services (discussed below), which would otherwise taint our rental income under the REIT income tests. However, the REIT will be obligated to pay a 100% penalty tax on some payments that we receive or on certain expenses deducted by our TRSs if the economic arrangements between us, our tenants and the TRS are not

 

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comparable to similar arrangements among unrelated parties. A TRS may also receive income from prohibited transactions without incurring the 100% federal income tax liability imposed on REITs. Income from prohibited transactions may include the purchase and sale of land, the purchase and sale of completed development properties and the sale of condominium units.

TRSs pay federal and state income tax at the full applicable corporate rates. The amount of taxes paid on impermissible tenant services income and the sale of real estate held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business may be material in amount. The TRSs will attempt to reduce, if possible, the amount of these taxes, but we cannot guarantee whether, or the extent to which, measures taken to reduce these taxes will be successful. To the extent that these companies are required to pay taxes, less cash may be available for distributions to shareholders.

Share Ownership Test and Organizational Requirement. In order to qualify as a REIT, our shares of beneficial interest must be held by a minimum of 100 persons for at least 335 days of a taxable year that is 12 months, or during a proportionate part of a taxable year of less than 12 months. Also, not more than 50% in value of our shares of beneficial interest may be owned directly or indirectly by applying certain constructive ownership rules, by five or fewer individuals during the last half of each taxable year. In addition, we must meet certain other organizational requirements, including, but not limited to, that (i) the beneficial ownership in us is evidenced by transferable shares and (ii) we are managed by one or more trustees. We believe that we have satisfied all of these tests and all other organizational requirements and that we will continue to do so in the future. In order to ensure compliance with the 100 person test and the 50% share ownership test discussed above, we have placed certain restrictions on the transfer of our shares that are intended to prevent further concentration of share ownership. However, such restrictions may not prevent us from failing these requirements, and thereby failing to qualify as a REIT.

Gross Income Tests. To qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy two gross income tests:

 

  (1) At least 75% of our gross income for each taxable year must be derived directly or indirectly from rents from real property, investments in real estate and/or real estate mortgages, dividends paid by another REIT and from some types of temporary investments (excluding certain hedging income).

 

  (2) At least 95% of our gross income for each taxable year must be derived from any combination of income qualifying under the 75% test and dividends, non-real estate mortgage interest and gain from the sale or disposition of stock or securities (excluding certain hedging income).

To qualify as rents from real property for the purpose of satisfying the gross income tests, rental payments must generally be received from unrelated persons and not be based on the net income of the resident. Also, the rent attributable to personal property must not exceed 15% of the total rent. We may generally provide services to residents without “tainting” our rental income only if such services are “usually or customarily rendered” in connection with the rental of real property and not otherwise considered “impermissible services”. If such services are impermissible, then we may generally provide them only if they are considered de minimis in amount, or are provided through an independent contractor from whom we derive no revenue and that meets other requirements, or through a taxable REIT subsidiary. We believe that services provided to residents by us either are usually or customarily rendered in connection with the rental of real property and not otherwise considered impermissible, or, if considered impermissible services, will meet the de minimis test or will be provided by an independent contractor or taxable REIT subsidiary. However, we cannot provide any assurance that the Internal Revenue Service will agree with these positions.

If we fail to satisfy one or both of the gross income tests for any taxable year, we may nevertheless qualify as a REIT for the year if we are entitled to relief under certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. In this case, a penalty tax would still be applicable as discussed above. Generally, it is not possible to state whether in all circumstances we would be entitled to the benefit of these relief provisions and in the event these relief provisions do not apply, we will not qualify as a REIT.

Asset Tests. In general, at the close of each quarter of our taxable year, we must satisfy four tests relating to the nature of our assets:

 

  (1) At least 75% of the value of our total assets must be represented by real estate assets (which include for this purpose shares in other real estate investment trusts) and certain cash related items;

 

  (2) Not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by securities other than those in the 75% asset class;

 

  (3)

Except for securities included in item 1 above, equity investments in other REITs, qualified REIT subsidiaries (i.e., corporations owned 100% by a REIT that are not TRSs or REITs), or taxable REIT subsidiaries: (a) the value of any one issuer’s securities owned by us may not exceed 5% of the value of

 

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our total assets and (b) we may not own securities representing more than 10% of the voting power or value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer; and

 

  (4) Not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries.

The 10% value test described in clause (3) (b) above does not apply to certain securities that fall within a safe harbor under the Code. Under the safe harbor, the following are not considered “securities” held by us for purposes of this 10% value test: (i) straight debt securities, (ii) any loan of an individual or an estate, (iii) certain rental agreements for the use of tangible property, (iv) any obligation to pay rents from real property, (v) any security issued by a state or any political subdivision thereof, foreign government or Puerto Rico only if the determination of any payment under such security is not based on the profits of another entity or payments on any obligation issued by such other entity, or (vi) any security issued by a REIT. The timing and payment of interest or principal on a security qualifying as straight debt may be subject to a contingency provided that (A) such contingency does not change the effective yield to maturity, not considering a de minimis change which does not exceed the greater of  1/4 of 1% or 5% of the annual yield to maturity or we own $1,000,000 or less of the aggregate issue price or value of the particular issuer’s debt and not more than 12 months of unaccrued interest can be required to be prepaid or (B) the contingency is consistent with commercial practice and the contingency is effective upon a default or the exercise of a prepayment right by the issuer of the debt. If we hold indebtedness from any issuer, including a REIT, the indebtedness will be subject to, and may cause a violation of, the asset tests, unless it is a qualifying real estate asset or otherwise satisfies the above safe harbor. We currently own equity interests in certain entities that have elected to be taxed as REITs for federal income tax purposes and are not publicly traded. If any such entity were to fail to qualify as a REIT, we would not meet the 10% voting stock limitation and the 10% value limitation and we would, unless certain relief provisions applied, fail to qualify as a REIT. We believe that we and each of the REITs we own an interest in have and will comply with the foregoing asset tests for REIT qualification. However, we cannot provide any assurance that the Internal Revenue Service will agree with our determinations.

If we fail to satisfy the 5% or 10% asset tests described above after a 30-day cure period provided in the Internal Revenue Code, we will be deemed to have met such tests if the value of our non-qualifying assets is de minimis (i.e., does not exceed the lesser of 1% of the total value of our assets at the end of the applicable quarter or $10,000,000) and we dispose of the non-qualifying assets within six months after the last day of the quarter in which the failure to satisfy the asset tests is discovered. For violations due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect that are in excess of the de minimis exception described above, we may avoid disqualification as a REIT under any of the asset tests, after the 30-day cure period, by disposing of sufficient assets to meet the asset test within such six month period, paying a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 or the highest corporate tax rate multiplied by the net income generated by the non-qualifying assets and disclosing certain information to the Internal Revenue Service. If we cannot avail ourselves of these relief provisions, or if we fail to timely cure any noncompliance with the asset tests, we would cease to qualify as a REIT.

Annual Distribution Requirements. To qualify as a REIT, we are generally required to distribute dividends, other than capital gain dividends, to our shareholders each year in an amount at least equal to 90% of our REIT taxable income. These distributions must be paid either in the taxable year to which they relate, or in the following taxable year if declared before we timely file our tax return for the prior year and if paid with or before the first regular dividend payment date after the declaration is made. We intend to make timely distributions sufficient to satisfy our annual distribution requirements. To the extent that we do not distribute all of our net capital gain or distribute at least 90%, but less than 100% of our REIT taxable income, as adjusted, we are subject to tax on these amounts at regular corporate rates. We will be subject to a 4% excise tax on the excess of the required distribution over the sum of amounts actually distributed and amounts retained for which federal income tax was paid, if we fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of: (1) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for the year; (2) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for the year; and (3) any undistributed taxable income from prior taxable years. A REIT may elect to retain rather than distribute all or a portion of its net capital gains and pay the tax on the gains. In that case, a REIT may elect to have its shareholders include their proportionate share of the undistributed net capital gains in income as long-term capital gains and receive a credit for their share of the tax paid by the REIT. For purposes of the 4% excise tax described above, any retained amounts would be treated as having been distributed.

Ownership of Partnership Interests By Us. As a result of our ownership of the Operating Partnership, we will be considered to own and derive our proportionate share of the assets and items of income of the Operating Partnership, respectively, for purposes of the REIT asset and income tests, including its share of assets and items of income of any subsidiaries that are partnerships or limited liability companies.

 

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State and Local Taxes. We may be subject to state or local taxation in various jurisdictions, including those in which we transact business or reside. Generally REITs have seen increases in state and local taxes in recent years. Our state and local tax treatment may not conform to the federal income tax treatment discussed above. Consequently, prospective shareholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the effect of state and local tax laws on an investment in common shares.

Taxation of Domestic Shareholders Subject to U.S. Tax

General. If we qualify as a REIT, distributions made to our taxable domestic shareholders with respect to their common shares, other than capital gain distributions and distributions attributable to taxable REIT subsidiaries, will be treated as ordinary income to the extent that the distributions come out of earnings and profits. These distributions will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction for shareholders that are corporations nor will they constitute “qualified dividend income” under the Internal Revenue Code, meaning that such dividends will be taxed at marginal rates applicable to ordinary income rather than the special capital gain rates currently applicable to qualified dividend income distributed to shareholders who satisfy applicable holding period requirements. In determining whether distributions are out of earnings and profits, we will allocate our earnings and profits first to preferred shares and second to the common shares. The portion of ordinary dividends which represent ordinary dividends we receive from a TRS, will be designated as “qualified dividend income” to REIT shareholders and are currently (for the 2010 tax year) eligible for preferential tax rates if paid to our non-corporate shareholders.

To the extent we make distributions to our taxable domestic shareholders in excess of our earnings and profits, such distributions will be considered a return of capital. Such distributions will be treated as a tax-free distribution and will reduce the tax basis of a shareholder’s common shares by the amount of the distribution so treated. To the extent such distributions cumulatively exceed a taxable domestic shareholder’s tax basis, such distributions are taxable as gain from the sale of shares. Shareholders may not include in their individual income tax returns any of our net operating losses or capital losses.

Dividends declared by a REIT in October, November, or December are deemed to have been paid by the REIT and received by its shareholders on December 31 of that year, so long as the dividends are actually paid during January of the following year. However, this treatment only applies to the extent of the REIT’s earnings and profits existing on December 31. To the extent the shareholder distribution paid in January exceeds available earnings and profits as of December 31, the excess will be treated as a distribution taxable to shareholders in the year paid. As such, for tax reporting purposes, January distributions paid to our shareholders may be split between two tax years.

Distributions made by us that we properly designate as capital gain dividends will be taxable to taxable domestic shareholders as gain from the sale or exchange of a capital asset held for more than one year. This treatment applies only to the extent that the designated distributions do not exceed our actual net capital gain for the taxable year. It applies regardless of the period for which a domestic shareholder has held his or her common shares. Despite this general rule, corporate shareholders may be required to treat up to 20% of certain capital gain dividends as ordinary income.

Generally, we will classify a portion of our designated capital gain dividends as a 15% rate gain distribution and the remaining portion as an unrecaptured Section 1250 gain distribution. A 15% rate gain distribution would be taxable to taxable domestic shareholders that are individuals, estates or trusts at a maximum rate of 15% (which 15% rate is currently scheduled to increase to 20% for taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2011). An unrecaptured Section 1250 gain distribution would be taxable to taxable domestic shareholders that are individuals, estates or trusts at a maximum rate of 25%.

If, for any taxable year, we elect to designate as capital gain dividends any portion of the dividends paid or made available for the year to holders of all classes of shares of beneficial interest, then the portion of the capital gains dividends that will be allocable to the holders of common shares will be the total capital gain dividends multiplied by a fraction. The numerator of the fraction will be the total dividends paid or made available to the holders of the common shares for the year. The denominator of the fraction will be the total dividends paid or made available to holders of all classes of shares of beneficial interest.

We may elect to retain (rather than distribute as is generally required) net capital gain for a taxable year and pay the income tax on that gain. If we make this election, shareholders must include in income, as long-term capital gain, their proportionate share of the undistributed net capital gain. Shareholders will be treated as having paid their proportionate share of the tax paid by us on these gains. Accordingly, they will receive a tax credit or refund for the amount. Shareholders will increase the basis in their common shares by the difference between the amount of capital

 

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gain included in their income and the amount of the tax they are treated as having paid. Our earnings and profits will be adjusted appropriately.

In general, a shareholder will recognize gain or loss for federal income tax purposes on the sale or other disposition of common shares in an amount equal to the difference between:

 

  (a) the amount of cash and the fair market value of any property received in the sale or other disposition; and

 

  (b) the shareholder’s adjusted tax basis in the common shares.

The gain or loss will be capital gain or loss if the common shares were held as a capital asset. Generally, the capital gain or loss will be long-term capital gain or loss if the common shares were held for more than one year.

In general, a loss recognized by a shareholder upon the sale of common shares that were held for six months or less, determined after applying certain holding period rules, will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent that the shareholder received distributions that were treated as long-term capital gains. For shareholders who are individuals, trusts and estates, the long-term capital loss will be apportioned among the applicable long-term capital gain rates to the extent that distributions received by the shareholder were previously so treated.

Taxation of Domestic Tax-Exempt Shareholders

Most tax-exempt organizations are not subject to federal income tax except to the extent of their unrelated business taxable income, which is often referred to as UBTI. Unless a tax-exempt shareholder holds its common shares as debt financed property or uses the common shares in an unrelated trade or business, distributions to the shareholder should not constitute UBTI. Similarly, if a tax-exempt shareholder sells common shares, the income from the sale should not constitute UBTI unless the shareholder held the shares as debt financed property or used the shares in a trade or business.

However, for tax-exempt shareholders that are social clubs, voluntary employee benefit associations, supplemental unemployment benefit trusts, and qualified group legal services plans, income from owning or selling common shares will constitute UBTI unless the organization is able to properly deduct amounts set aside or placed in reserve so as to offset the income generated by its investment in common shares. These shareholders should consult their own tax advisors concerning these set aside and reserve requirements which are set forth in the Internal Revenue Code.

In addition, certain pension trusts that own more than 10% of a “pension-held REIT” must report a portion of the distributions that they receive from the REIT as UBTI. We have not been and do not expect to be treated as a pension-held REIT for purposes of this rule.

Taxation of Foreign Shareholders

The following is a discussion of certain anticipated United States federal income tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of common shares applicable to a foreign shareholder. For purposes of this discussion, a “foreign shareholder” is any person other than:

 

  (a) a citizen or resident of the United States;

 

  (b) a corporation or partnership created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States or of any state thereof; or

 

  (c) an estate or trust whose income is includable in gross income for United States federal income tax purposes regardless of its source.

Distributions by Us. Distributions by us to a foreign shareholder that are neither attributable to gain from sales or exchanges by us of United States real property interests nor designated by us as capital gains dividends will be treated as dividends of ordinary income to the extent that they are made out of our earnings and profits. These distributions ordinarily will be subject to withholding of United States federal income tax on a gross basis at a 30% rate, or a lower treaty rate, unless the dividends are treated as effectively connected with the conduct by the foreign shareholder of a United States trade or business. Please note that under certain treaties lower withholding rates generally applicable to dividends do not apply to dividends from REITs. Dividends that are effectively connected with

 

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a United States trade or business will be subject to tax on a net basis at graduated rates, and are generally not subject to withholding. Certification and disclosure requirements must be satisfied before a dividend is exempt from withholding under this exemption. A foreign shareholder that is a corporation also may be subject to an additional branch profits tax at a 30% rate or a lower treaty rate.

We expect to withhold United States income tax at the rate of 30% on any such distributions made to a foreign shareholder unless:

 

  (a) a lower treaty rate applies and any required form or certification evidencing eligibility for that reduced rate is filed with us; or

 

  (b) the foreign shareholder files an IRS Form W-8ECI with us claiming that the distribution is effectively connected income.

If such distribution is in excess of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, it will not be taxable to a foreign shareholder to the extent that the distribution does not exceed the adjusted basis of the shareholder’s common shares. Instead, the distribution will reduce the adjusted basis of the common shares. To the extent that the distribution exceeds the adjusted basis of the common shares, it will give rise to gain from the sale or exchange of the shareholder’s common shares. The tax treatment of this gain is described below.

We intend to withhold at a rate of 30%, or a lower applicable treaty rate, on the entire amount of any distribution not designated as a capital gain distribution. In such event, a foreign shareholder may seek a refund of the withheld amount from the IRS if it is subsequently determined that the distribution was, in fact, in excess of our earnings and profits, and the amount withheld exceeded the foreign shareholder’s United States tax liability with respect to the distribution.

Any capital gain dividend with respect to any class of our stock which is “regularly traded” on an established securities market, will be treated as an ordinary dividend described above, if the foreign shareholder did not own more than 5% of such class of stock at any time during the one year period ending on the date of the distribution. Foreign shareholders generally will not be required to report such distributions received from us on U.S. federal income tax returns and all distributions treated as dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes, including any capital gain dividends, will be subject to a 30% U.S. withholding tax (unless reduced or eliminated under an applicable income tax treaty), as described above. In addition, the branch profits tax will no longer apply to such distributions.

Distributions to a foreign shareholder that we designate at the time of the distributions as capital gain dividends, other than those arising from the disposition of a United States real property interest, generally will not be subject to United States federal income taxation unless:

 

  (a) the investment in the common shares is effectively connected with the foreign shareholder’s United States trade or business, in which case the foreign shareholder will be subject to the same treatment as domestic shareholders, except that a shareholder that is a foreign corporation may also be subject to the branch profits tax, as discussed above; or

 

  (b) the foreign shareholder is a nonresident alien individual who is present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a “tax home” in the United States, in which case the nonresident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gains.

Under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, which is known as FIRPTA, distributions to a foreign shareholder that are attributable to gain from sales or exchanges of United States real property interests will cause the foreign shareholder to be treated as recognizing the gain as income effectively connected with a United States trade or business. This rule applies whether or not a distribution is designated as a capital gain dividend. Accordingly, foreign shareholders generally would be taxed on these distributions at the same rates applicable to U.S. shareholders, subject to a special alternative minimum tax in the case of nonresident alien individuals. In addition, a foreign corporate shareholder might be subject to the branch profits tax discussed above, as well as U.S. federal income tax return filing requirements. We are required to withhold 35% of these distributions. The withheld amount can be credited against the foreign shareholder’s United States federal income tax liability.

Although the law is not entirely clear on the matter, it appears that amounts we designate as undistributed capital gains in respect of the common shares held by U.S. shareholders would be treated with respect to foreign shareholders in the same manner as actual distributions of capital gain dividends. Under that approach, foreign

 

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shareholders would be able to offset as a credit against their United States federal income tax liability their proportionate share of the tax paid by us on these undistributed capital gains. In addition, if timely requested, foreign shareholders might be able to receive from the IRS a refund to the extent their proportionate share of the tax paid by us were to exceed their actual United States federal income tax liability.

Foreign Shareholders’ Sales of Common Shares. Gain recognized by a foreign shareholder upon the sale or exchange of common shares generally will not be subject to United States taxation unless the shares constitute a “United States real property interest” within the meaning of FIRPTA. The common shares will not constitute a United States real property interest so long as we are a domestically controlled REIT. A domestically controlled REIT is a REIT in which at all times during a specified testing period less than 50% in value of its stock is held directly or indirectly by foreign shareholders. We believe that we are a domestically controlled REIT. Therefore, we believe that the sale of common shares will not be subject to taxation under FIRPTA. However, because common shares and preferred shares are publicly traded, we cannot guarantee that we will continue to be a domestically controlled REIT. In any event, gain from the sale or exchange of common shares not otherwise subject to FIRPTA will be subject to U.S. tax, if either:

 

  (a) the investment in the common shares is effectively connected with the foreign shareholder’s United States trade or business, in which case the foreign shareholder will be subject to the same treatment as domestic shareholders with respect to the gain; or

 

  (b) the foreign shareholder is a nonresident alien individual who is present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a tax home in the United States, in which case the nonresident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gains.

Even if we do not qualify as or cease to be a domestically controlled REIT, gain arising from the sale or exchange by a foreign shareholder of common shares still would not be subject to United States taxation under FIRPTA as a sale of a United States real property interest if:

 

  (a) the class or series of shares being sold is “regularly traded,” as defined by applicable IRS regulations, on an established securities market such as the New York Stock Exchange; and

 

  (b) the selling foreign shareholder owned 5% or less of the value of the outstanding class or series of shares being sold throughout the five-year period ending on the date of the sale or exchange.

If gain on the sale or exchange of common shares were subject to taxation under FIRPTA, the foreign shareholder would be subject to regular United States income tax with respect to the gain in the same manner as a taxable U.S. shareholder, subject to any applicable alternative minimum tax, a special alternative minimum tax in the case of nonresident alien individuals and the possible application of the branch profits tax in the case of foreign corporations. The purchaser of the common shares would be required to withhold and remit to the IRS 10% of the purchase price.

Information Reporting Requirement and Backup Withholding

We will report to our domestic shareholders and the Internal Revenue Service the amount of distributions paid during each calendar year and the amount of tax withheld, if any. Under certain circumstances, domestic shareholders may be subject to backup withholding. Backup withholding will apply only if such domestic shareholder fails to furnish certain information to us or the Internal Revenue Service. Backup withholding will not apply with respect to payments made to certain exempt recipients, such as corporations and tax-exempt organizations. Domestic shareholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding their qualification for exemption from backup withholding and the procedure for obtaining such an exemption. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Rather, the amount of any backup withholding with respect to a payment to a domestic shareholder will be allowed as a credit against such person’s United States federal income tax liability and may entitle such person to a refund, provided that the required information is timely furnished to the Internal Revenue Service.

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

 

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Item 2. Properties

As of December 31, 2009, the Company, directly or indirectly through investments in title holding entities, owned all or a portion of 495 properties in 23 states and the District of Columbia consisting of 137,007 units. The Company’s properties are summarized by building type in the following table:

 

Type

   Properties    Units    Average
Units

Garden

   413    112,961    274

Mid/High-Rise

   80    19,451    243

Military Housing

   2    4,595    2,298
            

Total

   495    137,007   
            

The Company’s properties are summarized by ownership type in the following table:

 

     Properties    Units

Wholly Owned Properties

   432    118,796

Partially Owned Properties:

     

Consolidated

   27    5,530

Unconsolidated

   34    8,086

Military Housing

   2    4,595
         
   495    137,007
         

The following table sets forth certain information by market relating to the Company’s properties at December 31, 2009:

PORTFOLIO SUMMARY

 

   

Markets

   Properties    Units    % of
Total Units
    % of 2010
Stabilized
NOI
    Average
Rental

Rate (1)

  1

  DC Northern Virginia    27    9,107    6.6   10.1   $ 1,643

  2

  New York Metro Area    23    6,410    4.7   9.5     2,493

  3

  South Florida    39    13,013    9.5   9.2     1,262

  4

  Boston    36    6,503    4.7   8.4     2,057

  5

  Los Angeles    36    7,463    5.4   7.9     1,666

  6

  Seattle/Tacoma    47    10,645    7.8   6.6     1,234

  7

  San Francisco Bay Area    33    6,239    4.6   5.7     1,611

  8

  Phoenix    41    11,769    8.6   5.2     840

  9

  San Diego    14    4,491    3.3   5.0     1,610

10

  Denver    23    7,963    5.8   4.9     1,002

11

  Suburban Maryland    22    6,088    4.4   4.8     1,283

12

  Orlando    26    8,042    5.9   4.4     968

13

  Inland Empire, CA    14    4,519    3.3   3.6     1,301

14

  Orange County, CA    10    3,307    2.4   3.3     1,482

15

  Atlanta    23    7,157    5.2   3.1     904

16

  New England (excluding Boston)    19    3,477    2.5   2.0     1,120

17

  Jacksonville    12    3,951    2.9   1.8     851

18

  Portland, OR    10    3,417    2.5   1.6     924

19

  Tampa    9    2,878    2.1   1.2     893

20

  Raleigh/Durham    6    1,584    1.2   0.6     734
                              
  Top 20 Total    470    128,023    93.4   98.9     1,316

21

  Central Valley, CA    5    804    0.6   0.4     984

22

  Dallas/Ft. Worth    4    843    0.6   0.1     722

23

  Other EQR    12    2,739    2.0   0.6     873
                              
  Total    491    132,409    96.6   100.0     1,301
  Condominium Conversion    2    3    —        —          —  
  Military Housing    2    4,595    3.4   —          —  
                              
  Grand Total    495    137,007    100.0   100.0   $ 1,301
                              

 

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(1) Average rental rate is defined as total rental revenues divided by the weighted average occupied units for the month of December 2009.

The Company’s properties had an average occupancy of approximately 93.9% at December 31, 2009. Certain of the Company’s properties are encumbered by mortgages and additional detail can be found on Schedule III – Real Estate and Accumulated Depreciation. Resident leases are generally for twelve months in length and can require security deposits. The garden-style properties are generally defined as properties with two and/or three story buildings while the mid-rise/high-rise are defined as properties with greater than three story buildings. These two property types typically provide residents with amenities, which may include a clubhouse, swimming pool, laundry facilities and cable television access. Certain of these properties offer additional amenities such as saunas, whirlpools, spas, sports courts and exercise rooms or other amenities. The military housing properties are defined as those properties located on military bases.

The distribution of the properties throughout the United States reflects the Company’s belief that geographic diversification helps insulate the portfolio from regional and economic influences. At the same time, the Company has sought to create clusters of properties within each of its primary markets in order to achieve economies of scale in management and operation. The Company may nevertheless acquire additional multifamily properties located anywhere in the United States.

The properties currently in various stages of development at December 31, 2009 are included in the following table:

 

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Consolidated Development Projects as of December 31, 2009

(Amounts in thousands except for project and unit amounts)

 

Projects

  Location   No. of
Units
  Total
Capital
Cost (1)
  Total
Book
Value to
Date
  Total Book
Value Not
Placed in
Service
  Total
Debt
    Percentage
Completed
    Percentage
Leased
    Percentage
Occupied
    Estimated
Completion

Date
  Estimated
Stabilization
Date

Projects Under Development – Wholly Owned:

                     

70 Greene (a.k.a. 77 Hudson)

  Jersey City, NJ   480   $ 269,958   $ 264,663   $ 264,663   $ —        98   57   53   Q1 2010   Q1 2011

Red 160 (a.k.a. Redmond Way)

  Redmond, WA   250     84,382     51,920     51,920     —        62   —        —        Q1 2011   Q1 2012
                                         

Projects Under Development – Wholly Owned

    730     354,340     316,583     316,583     —               

Projects Under Development – Partially Owned:

                     

The Brooklyner (a.k.a. 111 Lawrence St.)

  Brooklyn, NY   490     283,968     227,882     227,882     105,217      85   13   2   Q3 2010   Q3 2011

Westgate

  Pasadena, CA   480     170,558     124,514     124,514     163,160  (2)    70   11   5   Q2 2011   Q2 2012
                                         

Projects Under Development – Partially Owned

    970     454,526     352,396     352,396     268,377             
                                         

Projects Under Development

    1,700     808,866     668,979     668,979     268,377  (3)           
                                         

Completed Not Stabilized – Wholly Owned (4):

                     

Third Square (a.k.a. 303 Third) (5)

  Cambridge, MA   482     257,457     256,263     —       —          81   78   Completed   Q3 2010

Reserve at Town Center II

  Mill Creek, WA   100     24,464     20,591     —       —          69   60   Completed   Q3 2010

Reunion at Redmond Ridge

  Redmond, WA   321     53,175     53,151     —       —          54   52   Completed   Q1 2011
                                         

Projects Completed Not Stabilized – Wholly Owned

    903     335,096     330,005     —       —               

Completed Not Stabilized – Partially Owned (4):

                     

Veridian (a.k.a. Silver Spring)

  Silver Spring,
MD
  457     149,962     149,289     —       113,282        97   95   Completed   Q1 2010

Montclair Metro

  Montclair, NJ   163     48,730     45,076     —       33,434        49   40   Completed   Q3 2010

Red Road Commons

  South
Miami, FL
  404     128,816     125,460     —       72,249        82   78   Completed   Q4 2010
                                         

Projects Completed Not Stabilized – Partially Owned

    1,024     327,508     319,825     —       218,965             
                                         

Projects Completed Not Stabilized

    1,927     662,604     649,830     —       218,965             
                                         

Completed and Stabilized During the Quarter – Wholly Owned:

                     

Mosaic at Metro

  Hyattsville, MD   260     59,733     59,643     —       45,418        96   95   Completed   Stabilized
                                         

Projects Completed and Stabilized During the Quarter – Wholly Owned

    260     59,733     59,643     —       45,418             

Completed and Stabilized During the Quarter – Partially Owned:

                     

1401 S. State (a.k.a. City Lofts)

  Chicago, IL   278     68,923     68,455     —       52,125        93   91   Completed   Stabilized
                                         

Projects Completed and Stabilized During the Quarter – Partially Owned

    278     68,923     68,455     —       52,125             
                                         

Projects Completed and Stabilized During the Quarter

    538     128,656     128,098     —       97,543             
                                         

Total Projects

  4,165   $ 1,600,126   $ 1,446,907   $ 668,979   $ 584,885             
                                         

Land Held for Development

    N/A     N/A   $ 252,320   $ 252,320   $ 34,876             
                                         

 

(1) Total capital cost represents estimated development cost for projects under development and/or developed and all capitalized costs incurred to date plus any estimates of costs remaining to be funded for all projects, all in accordance with GAAP.
(2) Debt is primarily tax-exempt bonds that are entirely outstanding with $47.4 million held in escrow by the lender and released as draw requests are made. This escrowed amount is classified as “Deposits – restricted” in the consolidated balance sheets at December 31, 2009.
(3) Of the approximately $139.9 million of capital cost remaining to be funded at December 31, 2009 for projects under development, $102.1 million will be funded by fully committed third party bank loans and the remaining $37.8 million will be funded by cash on hand.
(4) Properties included here are substantially complete. However, they may still require additional exterior and interior work for all units to be available for leasing.
(5) Third Square – Both the percentage leased and percentage occupied reflect the full 482 units included in phases I and II. Phase I is 96% leased and 94% occupied. Phase II is 58% leased and 53% occupied.

 

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Item 3. Legal Proceedings

The Company is party to a housing discrimination lawsuit brought by a non-profit civil rights organization in April 2006 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The suit alleges that the Company designed and built approximately 300 of its properties in violation of the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act and Americans With Disabilities Act. The suit seeks actual and punitive damages, injunctive relief (including modification of non-compliant properties), costs and attorneys’ fees. The Company believes it has a number of viable defenses, including that a majority of the named properties were completed before the operative dates of the statutes in question and/or were not designed or built by the Company. Accordingly, the Company is defending the suit vigorously. Due to the pendency of the Company’s defenses and the uncertainty of many other critical factual and legal issues, it is not possible to determine or predict the outcome of the suit and as a result, no amounts have been accrued at December, 31, 2009. While no assurances can be given, the Company does not believe that the suit, if adversely determined, would have a material adverse effect on the Company.

The Company does not believe there is any other litigation pending or threatened against it that, individually or in the aggregate, reasonably may be expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company.

 

Item 4. Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders

None.

 

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PART II

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Common Share Market Prices and Dividends

The following table sets forth, for the years indicated, the high, low and closing sales prices for and the distributions declared on the Company’s Common Shares, which trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol EQR.

 

     Sales Price     
     High    Low    Closing    Distributions

2009

           

Fourth Quarter Ended December 31, 2009

   $ 36.38    $ 27.54    $ 33.78    $ 0.3375

Third Quarter Ended September 30, 2009

   $ 33.06    $ 18.80    $ 30.70    $ 0.3375

Second Quarter Ended June 30, 2009

   $ 26.24    $ 17.73    $ 22.23    $ 0.4825

First Quarter Ended March 31, 2009

   $ 29.87    $ 15.68    $ 18.35    $ 0.4825

2008

           

Fourth Quarter Ended December 31, 2008

   $ 43.76    $ 21.27    $ 29.82    $ 0.4825

Third Quarter Ended September 30, 2008

   $ 49.00    $ 36.84    $ 44.41    $ 0.4825

Second Quarter Ended June 30, 2008

   $ 44.89    $ 37.76    $ 38.27    $ 0.4825

First Quarter Ended March 31, 2008

   $ 43.78    $ 31.07    $ 41.49    $ 0.4825

The number of record holders of Common Shares at February 19, 2010 was approximately 3,400. The number of outstanding Common Shares as of February 19, 2010 was 281,884,878.

Unregistered Common Shares Issued in the Quarter Ended December 31, 2009

During the quarter ended December 31, 2009, the Company issued 234,973 Common Shares in exchange for 234,973 OP Units held by various limited partners of the Operating Partnership. OP Units are generally exchangeable into Common Shares of EQR on a one-for-one basis or, at the option of the Operating Partnership, the cash equivalent thereof, at any time one year after the date of issuance. Some of these shares were issued in reliance on exemptions from registration under Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, as these were transactions by an issuer not involving a public offering. In light of the manner of the sale and information obtained by the Company from the limited partners in connection with these transactions, the Company believes it may rely on these exemptions.

Equity Compensation Plan Information

The following table provides information as of December 31, 2009 with respect to the Company’s Common Shares that may be issued under its existing equity compensation plans.

 

Plan Category

   Number of securities
to be issued upon
exercise of
outstanding options,
warrants and rights
   Weighted average
exercise price of
outstanding
options, warrants
and rights
   Number of securities
remaining available

for future issuance
under equity
compensation plans
(excluding securities in
column (a))
     (a) (1)    (b) (1)    (c) (2)

Equity compensation plans approved by shareholders

   11,349,750    $ 32.03    9,857,325

Equity compensation plans not approved by shareholders

   N/A      N/A    N/A

 

(1)

The amounts shown in columns (a) and (b) of the above table do not include 954,366 outstanding Common Shares (all of which are restricted and subject to vesting requirements) that were granted under the Company’s Amended and Restated 1993 Share Option and Share Award Plan, as amended (the “1993

 

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Plan”) and the Company’s 2002 Share Incentive Plan, as restated (the “2002 Plan”) and outstanding Common Shares that have been purchased by employees and trustees under the Company’s ESPP.

(2) Includes 6,295,992 Common Shares that may be issued under the 2002 Plan, of which only 25% may be in the form of restricted shares, and 3,561,333 Common Shares that may be sold to employees and trustees under the ESPP.

The aggregate number of securities available for issuance (inclusive of restricted shares previously granted and outstanding and shares underlying outstanding options) under the 2002 Plan equals 7.5% of the Company’s outstanding Common Shares, calculated on a fully diluted basis, determined annually on the first day of each calendar year. On January 1, 2010, this amount equaled 22,091,629, of which 6,295,992 shares were available for future issuance. No awards may be granted under the 2002 Plan after February 20, 2012.

 

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The following table sets forth selected financial and operating information on a historical basis for the Company. The following information should be read in conjunction with all of the financial statements and notes thereto included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. The historical operating and balance sheet data have been derived from the historical financial statements of the Company. All amounts have also been restated in accordance with the guidance on discontinued operations, noncontrolling interests and convertible debt. Certain capitalized terms as used herein are defined in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

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CONSOLIDATED HISTORICAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION

(Financial information in thousands except for per share and property data)

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2009 (3)     2008 (3)     2007 (3)     2006 (3)     2005  

OPERATING DATA:

          

Total revenues from continuing operations

   $ 1,943,711      $ 1,975,669      $ 1,824,046      $ 1,584,944      $ 1,303,188   
                                        

Interest and other income

   $ 16,684      $ 33,515      $ 20,037      $ 30,785      $ 68,220   
                                        

Income (loss) from continuing operations

   $ 28,031      $ (12,823   $ 21,053      $ (5,937   $ 70,458   
                                        

Discontinued operations, net

   $ 353,998      $ 449,236      $ 1,026,303      $ 1,153,554      $ 860,788   
                                        

Net income

   $ 382,029      $ 436,413      $ 1,047,356      $ 1,147,617      $ 931,246   
                                        

Net income available to Common Shares

   $ 347,794      $ 393,115      $ 951,242      $ 1,028,381      $ 807,792   
                                        

Earnings per share – basic:

          

Income (loss) from continuing operations available to Common Shares

   $ 0.05      $ (0.10   $ (0.04   $ (0.17   $ 0.02   
                                        

Net income available to Common Shares

   $ 1.27      $ 1.46      $ 3.40      $ 3.55      $ 2.83   
                                        

Weighted average Common Shares outstanding

     273,609        270,012        279,406        290,019        285,760   
                                        

Earnings per share – diluted:

          

Income (loss) from continuing operations available to Common Shares

   $ 0.05      $ (0.10   $ (0.04   $ (0.17   $ 0.02   
                                        

Net income available to Common Shares

   $ 1.27      $ 1.46      $ 3.40      $ 3.55      $ 2.79   
                                        

Weighted average Common Shares outstanding

     290,105        270,012        279,406        290,019        310,785   
                                        

Distributions declared per Common Share outstanding

   $ 1.64      $ 1.93      $ 1.87      $ 1.79      $ 1.74   
                                        

BALANCE SHEET DATA (at end of period):

          

Real estate, before accumulated depreciation

   $ 18,465,144      $ 18,690,239      $ 18,333,350      $ 17,235,175      $ 16,590,370   

Real estate, after accumulated depreciation

   $ 14,587,580      $ 15,128,939      $ 15,163,225      $ 14,212,695      $ 13,702,230   

Total assets

   $ 15,417,515      $ 16,535,110      $ 15,689,777      $ 15,062,219      $ 14,108,751   

Total debt

   $ 9,392,570      $ 10,483,942      $ 9,478,157      $ 8,017,008      $ 7,591,073   

Redeemable Noncontrolling Interests - Operating Partnership

   $ 258,280      $ 264,394      $ 345,165      $ 509,310      $ 433,927   

Total Noncontrolling Interests

   $ 127,174      $ 163,349      $ 188,605      $ 224,783      $ 234,815   

Total Shareholders’ equity

   $ 5,047,339      $ 4,905,356      $ 4,917,370      $ 5,602,236      $ 5,148,781   

OTHER DATA:

          

Total properties (at end of period)

     495        548        579        617        926   

Total apartment units (at end of period)

     137,007        147,244        152,821        165,716        197,404   

Funds from operations available to Common Shares and Units – basic (1) (2)

   $ 615,505      $ 618,372      $ 713,412      $ 712,524      $ 784,625   

Cash flow provided by (used for):

          

Operating activities

   $ 672,462      $ 755,252      $ 793,232      $ 755,774      $ 698,531   

Investing activities

   $ 103,579      $ (344,028   $ (200,749   $ (259,780   $ (592,201

Financing activities

   $ (1,473,547   $ 428,739      $ (801,929   $ (324,545   $ (101,007

 

(1)

The National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“NAREIT”) defines funds from operations (“FFO”) (April 2002 White Paper) as net income (computed in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”)), excluding gains (or losses) from sales of depreciable property, plus depreciation and amortization, and after adjustments for unconsolidated partnerships and joint ventures. Adjustments for unconsolidated partnerships and joint ventures will be calculated to reflect funds from operations on the same basis. The April 2002 White Paper states that gain or loss on sales of property is excluded from FFO for previously depreciated operating properties only. Once the Company commences the conversion of units to condominiums, it simultaneously discontinues depreciation of such property. FFO available to Common Shares and Units is calculated on a basis consistent with net income available to Common Shares and reflects adjustments to net income for preferred distributions and premiums on redemption of preferred shares in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. The equity positions of various individuals and entities that contributed their properties to the Operating Partnership in exchange for OP Units are collectively referred to as the

 

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“Noncontrolling Interests – Operating Partnership”. Subject to certain restrictions, the Noncontrolling Interests – Operating Partnership may exchange their OP Units for EQR Common Shares on a one-for-one basis. See Item 7 for a reconciliation of net income to FFO and FFO available to Common Shares and Units.

(2) The Company believes that FFO and FFO available to Common Shares and Units are helpful to investors as supplemental measures of the operating performance of a real estate company, because they are recognized measures of performance by the real estate industry and by excluding gains or losses related to dispositions of depreciable property and excluding real estate depreciation (which can vary among owners of identical assets in similar condition based on historical cost accounting and useful life estimates), FFO and FFO available to Common Shares and Units can help compare the operating performance of a company’s real estate between periods or as compared to different companies. FFO and FFO available to Common Shares and Units do not represent net income, net income available to Common Shares or net cash flows from operating activities in accordance with GAAP. Therefore, FFO and FFO available to Common Shares and Units should not be exclusively considered as alternatives to net income, net income available to Common Shares or net cash flows from operating activities as determined by GAAP or as measures of liquidity. The Company’s calculation of FFO and FFO available to Common Shares and Units may differ from other real estate companies due to, among other items, variations in cost capitalization policies for capital expenditures and, accordingly, may not be comparable to such other real estate companies.
(3) Effective January 1, 2009, companies are required to retrospectively expense certain implied costs of the option value related to convertible debt. As a result, net income, net income available to Common Shares and FFO available to Common Shares and Units – basic have all been reduced by approximately $10.6 million, $13.3 million, $10.1 million and $3.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively.

 

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following discussion and analysis of the results of operations and financial condition of the Company should be read in connection with the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes thereto. Due to the Company’s ability to control the Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries other than entities owning interests in the Partially Owned Properties – Unconsolidated and certain other entities in which the Company has investments, the Operating Partnership and each such subsidiary entity has been consolidated with the Company for financial reporting purposes. Capitalized terms used herein and not defined are as defined elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009.

Forward-Looking Statements

Forward-looking statements in this Item 7 as well as elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are intended to be made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions made by management. While the Company’s management believes the assumptions underlying its forward-looking statements are reasonable, such information is inherently subject to uncertainties and may involve certain risks, which could cause actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to differ materially from anticipated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Many of these uncertainties and risks are difficult to predict and beyond management’s control. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, results or events. The forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date hereof and the Company undertakes no obligation to update or supplement these forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to the following:

 

   

We intend to actively acquire multifamily properties for rental operations as market conditions dictate. The Company also develops projects and currently has several properties under development. We may begin new development activities if conditions warrant. We may underestimate the costs necessary to bring an acquired property up to standards established for its intended market position or to complete a development property. Additionally, we expect that other major real estate investors with significant capital will compete with us for attractive investment opportunities or may also develop properties in markets where we focus our development efforts. This competition may increase prices for multifamily properties. We may not be in a position or have the opportunity in the future to make suitable property acquisitions on favorable terms. To the extent that we do develop more properties if conditions warrant, we expect to do so ourselves in addition to co-investing with our development partners. The total number of development units, costs of development and estimated completion dates are subject to uncertainties arising from changing economic conditions (such as the cost of labor and construction materials), competition and local government regulation;

 

   

Debt financing and other capital required by the Company may not be available or may only be available on adverse terms;

 

   

Labor and materials required for maintenance, repair, capital expenditure or development may be more expensive than anticipated;

 

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Occupancy levels and market rents may be adversely affected by national and local economic and market conditions including, without limitation, new construction and excess inventory of multifamily housing and single family housing, slow or negative employment growth, availability of low interest mortgages for single family home buyers and the potential for geopolitical instability, all of which are beyond the Company’s control; and

 

   

Additional factors as discussed in Part I of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, particularly those under “Item 1A. Risk Factors”.

Forward-looking statements and related uncertainties are also included in Notes 2, 5, 11 and 18 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in this report.

Overview

Equity Residential (“EQR”), a Maryland real estate investment trust (“REIT”) formed in March 1993, is an S&P 500 company focused on the acquisition, development and management of high quality apartment properties in top United States growth markets. EQR has elected to be taxed as a REIT.

The Company is one of the largest publicly traded real estate companies and is the largest publicly traded owner of multifamily properties in the United States (based on the aggregate market value of its outstanding Common Shares, the number of apartment units wholly owned and total revenues earned). The Company’s corporate headquarters are located in Chicago, Illinois and the Company also operates property management offices throughout the United States. As of December 31, 2009, the Company has approximately 4,100 employees who provide real estate operations, leasing, legal, financial, accounting, acquisition, disposition, development and other support functions.

EQR is the general partner of, and as of December 31, 2009 owned an approximate 95.2% ownership interest in, ERP Operating Limited Partnership, an Illinois limited partnership (the “Operating Partnership”). The Company is structured as an umbrella partnership REIT (“UPREIT”) under which all property ownership and related business operations are conducted through the Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries. References to the “Company” include EQR, the Operating Partnership and those entities owned or controlled by the Operating Partnership and/or EQR.

Business Objectives and Operating Strategies

The Company seeks to maximize current income, capital appreciation of each property and the total return for its shareholders. The Company’s strategy for accomplishing these objectives includes:

 

   

Leveraging our size and scale in four critical ways:

 

   

Investing in apartment communities located in strategically targeted markets to maximize our total return on an enterprise level;

 

   

Meeting the needs of our residents by offering a wide array of product choices and a commitment to service;

 

   

Engaging, retaining and attracting the best employees by providing them with the education, resources and opportunities to succeed; and

 

   

Sharing resources and best practices in both property management and across the enterprise.

 

   

Owning a highly diversified portfolio in our target markets. Target markets are defined by a combination of the following criteria:

 

   

High barrier-to-entry markets where because of land scarcity or government regulation it is difficult or costly to build new apartment complexes leading to low supply;

 

   

Strong economic growth leading to high demand for apartments; and

 

   

Markets with an attractive quality of life leading to high demand and retention.

 

   

Giving residents reasons to stay with the Company by providing a range of product choices available in our diversified portfolio and by enhancing their experience with us through meticulous customer service by our employees and by providing various value-added services.

 

   

Being open and responsive to changes in the market in order to take advantage of investment opportunities that align with our long-term vision.

 

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Acquisition, Development and Disposition Strategies

The Company anticipates that future property acquisitions, developments and dispositions will occur within the United States. Acquisitions and developments may be financed from various sources of capital, which may include retained cash flow, issuance of additional equity and debt securities, sales of properties, joint venture agreements and collateralized and uncollateralized borrowings. In addition, the Company may acquire properties in transactions that include the issuance of limited partnership interests in the Operating Partnership (“OP Units”) as consideration for the acquired properties. Such transactions may, in certain circumstances, enable the sellers to defer, in whole or in part, the recognition of taxable income or gain that might otherwise result from the sales. EQR may also acquire land parcels to hold and/or sell based on market opportunities.

When evaluating potential acquisitions, developments and dispositions, the Company generally considers the following factors:

 

   

strategically targeted markets;

 

   

income levels and employment growth trends in the relevant market;

 

   

employment and household growth and net migration in the relevant market’s population;

 

   

barriers to entry that would limit competition (zoning laws, building permit availability, supply of undeveloped or developable real estate, local building costs and construction costs, among other factors);

 

   

the location, construction quality, age, condition and design of the property;

 

   

the current and projected cash flow of the property and the ability to increase cash flow;

 

   

the potential for capital appreciation of the property;

 

   

the terms of resident leases, including the potential for rent increases;

 

   

the potential for economic growth and the tax and regulatory environment of the community in which the property is located;

 

   

the occupancy and demand by residents for properties of a similar type in the vicinity (the overall market and submarket);

 

   

the prospects for liquidity through sale, financing or refinancing of the property;

 

   

the benefits of integration into existing operations;

 

   

purchase prices and yields of available existing stabilized properties, if any;

 

   

competition from existing multifamily properties, comparably priced single family homes or rentals, residential properties under development and the potential for the construction of new multifamily properties in the area; and

 

   

opportunistic selling based on demand and price of high quality assets, including condominium conversions.

The Company generally reinvests the proceeds received from property dispositions primarily to achieve its acquisition, development and rehab strategies and at times to fund its debt maturities and debt and equity repurchase activities. In addition, when feasible, the Company may structure these transactions as tax-deferred exchanges.

Current Environment

The slowdown in the economy, which accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2008 and continued into 2009, coupled with continued job losses and/or lack of job growth leads us to be cautious regarding expected performance for 2010. Since the fourth quarter of 2008 and continuing into the fourth quarter of 2009, our revenue has declined in comparison to the prior year in most of our major markets as the economic slowdown continues to impact existing and prospective residents. Markets with little employment loss have performed better than markets with larger employment issues. Although all of our markets experienced job losses in 2009, the pace of those losses appears to have begun to slow. While the job market is likely to remain weak in 2010, beginning late in the fourth quarter of 2009, household spending was reported to have increased and the deterioration in the labor market showed signs of abating. Despite a generally improving credit environment and better general economic conditions, the Company may continue to experience a period of declining revenues, which would adversely impact the Company’s results of operations. The vast majority of our leases are for terms of 12 months or less. As a result, we quickly feel the impact of an economic downturn which limits our ability to raise rents or causes us to lower rents on turnover units and lease renewals. During late 2008 and early 2009, our rental rates declined on average between 9% and 10% for new residents but on average less than 1% for renewing residents. Rental rates have not declined, on average, since the first quarter of 2009 and began to show improvement in the latter part of the year. However, since our rental rates increased during most of 2008, our quarter over quarter revenue declines worsened each quarter in 2009 as compared to 2008. Quarter over quarter revenue declines are expected to continue in 2010 (although they should be less negative in 2010 vs. 2009 than when comparing 2009 vs. 2008). Given the roll-down in lease rates that occurred throughout 2009, the full year comparison to 2010 will continue to show declining revenue even if quarter over quarter revenue improvement begins

 

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in the second half of 2010. Our revenues are also impacted by our resident turnover rates, which have generally declined, and our occupancy rates, which began to rise in the fourth quarter of 2009. After three consecutive years of excellent expense control (same store expenses declined 0.1% between 2009 and 2008 and grew 2.2% between 2008 and 2007 and 2.1% between 2007 and 2006), the Company anticipates that 2010 same store expenses will increase between 1.0% and 2.0% primarily due to cost pressures from non-controllable areas such as real estate taxes and utilities. The combination of expected declines in revenues and moderately increasing expense levels will have a negative impact on the Company’s results of operations for 2010.

The strained credit environment has negatively impacted the availability and pricing of debt capital. However, during this time, the multifamily residential sector has benefited from the continued liquidity provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A vast majority of the properties we sold in 2008 and 2009 were financed for the purchaser by one of these agencies. Furthermore, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provided us with approximately $1.6 billion of secured mortgage financing in 2008 and $500.0 million in 2009 at attractive rates when compared to other sources of credit at that time. While unsecured credit markets improved in the latter part of 2009 and the Company currently has unsecured lending options available to it at attractive rates, should the agencies discontinue providing liquidity to our sector, have their mandates changed or reduced or be disbanded or reorganized by the government, it would significantly reduce our access to debt capital and/or increase borrowing costs and would significantly reduce our sales of assets.

In response to the recession and liquidity issues prevalent in the debt markets, we took a number of steps to better position ourselves. In early 2008, we began pre-funding our maturing debt obligations with approximately $1.6 billion in secured mortgage financing obtained from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We also significantly reduced our acquisition activity. During the second half of 2008 and through the fourth quarter of 2009, we only acquired four properties (one of which was the buyout of our partner in an unconsolidated asset) and a long-term leasehold interest in a land parcel while we continued selling non-core assets. During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company sold 60 properties consisting of 12,489 units for $1.0 billion, as well as 62 condominium units for $12.0 million. The Company acquired two properties consisting of 566 units for $145.0 million, one previously unconsolidated property consisting of 250 units for $18.5 million from its institutional joint venture partner and a long-term leasehold interest in a land parcel for $11.5 million during the year ended December 31, 2009. While we believe these sales of non-core assets better positions us for future success, they have resulted and will continue to result in dilution, particularly when the net sales proceeds are initially not reinvested in activities generating equivalent income such as acquisition of rental properties or repayment of debt. Additionally, we have significantly reduced our development activities, starting only two new projects in the first half of 2008 and none in the second half of the year or during 2009. We also reduced the number of planned development projects we will undertake in the future and took a $116.4 million impairment charge in 2008 to reduce the value of five assets that we no longer plan on pursuing. We took an additional $11.1 million impairment charge in 2009 to reduce the value of one asset. The Company reduced its quarterly common share dividend beginning with the dividend for the third quarter of 2009, from $0.4825 per share (an annual rate of $1.93 per share) to $0.3375 per share (an annual rate of $1.35 per share).

The credit environment improved throughout mid and late 2009 and we currently have access to multiple sources of capital allowing us a less cautious posture with respect to pre-funding our maturing debt obligations. As a result of the improved credit environment, in late 2009, we utilized $366.2 million of cash on hand to repurchase certain unsecured notes and convertible notes in public tender offers. Concurrently, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009, we began to see an increase in the availability of attractive acquisition opportunities. We expect to revert from a net seller of assets during 2009 to a net buyer of assets in 2010. During 2010, we expect that property dispositions will be more a funding source for attractive acquisition opportunities that we may identify than for providing needed capital to protect the Company’s financial position. Our access to capital and our ability to execute large, complex transactions should be competitive advantages in 2010. However, should a double-dip recession materialize or credit/equity markets deteriorate, we may seek to take steps similar to what we did in 2008 and early 2009 to increase liquidity and better position ourselves.

Our specific current expectations regarding our results for 2010 and certain items that will affect them are set forth under Results of Operations below.

We believe that cash and cash equivalents, securities readily convertible to cash, current availability on our revolving credit facility and disposition proceeds for 2010 will provide sufficient liquidity to meet our funding obligations relating to asset acquisitions, debt retirement and existing development projects through 2010. We expect that our remaining longer-term funding requirements will be met through some combination of new borrowings, equity issuances (including the Company’s ATM share offering program), property dispositions and cash generated from operations.

 

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Despite the challenging conditions noted above, we believe that the Company is well-positioned notwithstanding the slow economic recovery. Our properties are geographically diverse and were approximately 94% occupied as of December 31, 2009, little new multifamily rental supply has been added to most of our markets and the long-term demographic picture is positive.

We believe we are well-positioned with a strong balance sheet and sufficient liquidity to cover debt maturities and development fundings in the near term, which should allow us to take advantage of investment opportunities in the future. When economic conditions improve, the short-term nature of our leases and the limited supply of new rental housing being constructed should allow us to quickly realize revenue growth and improvement in our operating results.

Results of Operations

In conjunction with our business objectives and operating strategy, the Company continued to invest or recycle its capital investment in apartment properties located in strategically targeted markets during the years ended December 31, 2009 and December 31, 2008. In summary, we:

Year Ended December 31, 2009:

 

   

Acquired $145.0 million of apartment properties consisting of two properties and 566 units (excluding the Company’s buyout of its partner’s interest in one previously unconsolidated property) and a long-term leasehold interest in a land parcel for $11.5 million, all of which we deem to be in our strategic targeted markets; and

 

   

Sold $1.0 billion of apartment properties consisting of 60 properties and 12,489 units (excluding the Company’s buyout of its partner’s interest in one previously unconsolidated property), as well as 62 condominium units for $12.0 million, the majority of which was in exit or less desirable markets.

Year Ended December 31, 2008:

 

   

Acquired $380.7 million of apartment properties consisting of 7 properties and 2,141 units and an uncompleted development property for $31.7 million and invested $2.4 million to obtain the management contract rights and towards the redevelopment of a military housing project consisting of 978 units, all of which we deem to be in our strategic targeted markets; and

 

   

Sold $896.7 million of apartment properties consisting of 41 properties and 10,127 units, as well as 130 condominium units for $26.1 million and a land parcel for $3.3 million, the majority of which was in exit or less desirable markets.

The Company’s primary financial measure for evaluating each of its apartment communities is net operating income (“NOI”). NOI represents rental income less property and maintenance expense, real estate tax and insurance expense and property management expense. The Company believes that NOI is helpful to investors as a supplemental measure of the operating performance of a real estate company because it is a direct measure of the actual operating results of the Company’s apartment communities.

Properties that the Company owned for all of both 2009 and 2008 (the “2009 Same Store Properties”), which represented 113,598 units, impacted the Company’s results of operations. Properties that the Company owned for all of both 2008 and 2007 (the “2008 Same Store Properties”), which represented 115,051 units, also impacted the Company’s results of operations. Both the 2009 Same Store Properties and 2008 Same Store Properties are discussed in the following paragraphs.

The Company’s acquisition, disposition and completed development activities also impacted overall results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008. Dilution, as a result of the Company’s net asset sales, negatively impacts property net operating income. The impacts of these activities are discussed in greater detail in the following paragraphs.

Comparison of the year ended December 31, 2009 to the year ended December 31, 2008

For the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company reported diluted earnings per share of $1.27 compared to $1.46 per share for the year ended December 31, 2008. The difference is primarily due to the following:

 

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$57.6 million in lower net gains on sales of discontinued operations in 2009 vs. 2008;

 

   

$84.0 million in lower property NOI in 2009 vs. 2008, primarily driven by $51.6 million in lower same store NOI and dilution from transaction activities, partially offset by higher NOI contributions from lease-up properties; and

 

   

Partially offset by $105.3 million in lower impairment losses in 2009 vs. 2008.

For the year ended December 31, 2009, income from continuing operations increased approximately $40.9 million when compared to the year ended December 31, 2008. The increase in continuing operations is discussed below.

Revenues from the 2009 Same Store Properties decreased $52.4 million primarily as a result of a decrease in average rental rates charged to residents and a decrease in occupancy. Expenses from the 2009 Same Store Properties decreased $0.8 million primarily due to lower property management costs, partially offset by higher real estate taxes and utility costs. The following tables provide comparative same store results and statistics for the 2009 Same Store Properties:

2009 vs. 2008

Same Store Results/Statistics

$ in thousands (except for Average Rental Rate) – 113,598 Same Store Units

 

     Results     Statistics  

Description

   Revenues     Expenses     NOI     Average
Rental
Rate (1)
    Occupancy     Turnover  

2009

   $ 1,725,774      $ 644,294      $ 1,081,480      $ 1,352      93.8   61.0

2008

   $ 1,778,183      $ 645,123      $ 1,133,060      $ 1,383      94.5   63.7
                                            

Change

   $ (52,409   $ (829   $ (51,580   $ (31   (0.7 )%    (2.7 )% 
                                            

Change

     (2.9 )%      (0.1 )%      (4.6 )%      (2.2 )%     

 

(1) Average rental rate is defined as total rental revenues divided by the weighted average occupied units for the period.

The following table provides comparative same store operating expenses for the 2009 Same Store Properties:

2009 vs. 2008

Same Store Operating Expenses

$ in thousands – 113,598 Same Store Units

 

     Actual
2009
   Actual
2008
   $
Change
    %
Change
    % of Actual
2009
Operating
Expenses
 

Real estate taxes

   $ 173,113    $ 171,234    $ 1,879      1.1   26.9

On-site payroll (1)

     155,912      156,601      (689   (0.4 )%    24.2

Utilities (2)

     100,184      99,045      1,139      1.1   15.5

Repairs and maintenance (3)

     94,556      95,142      (586   (0.6 )%    14.7

Property management costs (4)

     63,854      67,126      (3,272   (4.9 )%    9.9

Insurance

     21,689      20,890      799      3.8   3.4

Leasing and advertising

     15,664      15,043      621      4.1   2.4

Other operating expenses (5)

     19,322      20,042      (720   (3.6 )%    3.0
                                  

Same store operating expenses

   $ 644,294    $ 645,123    $ (829   (0.1 )%    100.0
                                  

 

(1) On-site payroll – Includes payroll and related expenses for on-site personnel including property managers, leasing consultants and maintenance staff.
(2) Utilities – Represents gross expenses prior to any recoveries under the Resident Utility Billing System (“RUBS”). Recoveries are reflected in rental income.
(3) Repairs and maintenance – Includes general maintenance costs, unit turnover costs including interior painting, routine landscaping, security, exterminating, fire protection, snow removal, elevator, roof and parking lot repairs and other miscellaneous building repair costs.
(4)

Property management costs – Includes payroll and related expenses for departments, or portions of departments, that directly support on-site management. These include such departments as regional and corporate property management, property accounting, human resources, training, marketing and revenue management, procurement, real estate tax, property legal services

 

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and information technology.

(5) Other operating expenses – Includes administrative costs such as office supplies, telephone and data charges and association and business licensing fees.

The following table presents a reconciliation of operating income per the consolidated statements of operations to NOI for the 2009 Same Store Properties.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2009     2008  
     (Amounts in thousands)  

Operating income

   $ 529,390      $ 458,158   

Adjustments:

    

Non-same store operating results

     (77,481     (43,201

Fee and asset management revenue

     (10,346     (10,715

Fee and asset management expense

     7,519        7,981   

Depreciation

     582,280        559,468   

General and administrative

     38,994        44,951   

Impairment

     11,124        116,418   
                

Same store NOI

   $ 1,081,480      $ 1,133,060   
                

For properties that the Company acquired prior to January 1, 2009 and expects to continue to own through December 31, 2010, the Company anticipates the following same store results for the full year ending December 31, 2010:

 

2010 Same Store Assumptions

 

Physical occupancy

   94.3

Revenue change

   (3.0)% to (1.0 )% 

Expense change

   1.0% to 2.0

NOI change

   (6.0)% to (2.0 )% 

These 2010 assumptions are based on current expectations and are forward-looking.

Non-same store operating results increased approximately $34.3 million or 79.4% and consist primarily of properties acquired in calendar years 2008 and 2009, as well as operations from the Company’s completed development properties and corporate housing business. While the operations of the non-same store assets have been negatively impacted during the year ended December 31, 2009 similar to the same store assets, the non-same store assets have contributed a greater percentage of total NOI to the Company’s overall operating results primarily due to increasing occupancy for properties in lease-up and a longer ownership period in 2009 than 2008. This increase primarily resulted from:

 

   

Development and other miscellaneous properties in lease-up of $22.4 million;

 

   

Newly stabilized development and other miscellaneous properties of $1.6 million;

 

   

Properties acquired in 2008 and 2009 of $11.9 million; and

 

   

Partially offset by operating activities from other miscellaneous operations.

See also Note 20 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional discussion regarding the Company’s segment disclosures.

Fee and asset management revenues, net of fee and asset management expenses, increased approximately $0.1 million or 3.4% primarily due to an increase in revenue earned on management of the Company’s military housing ventures at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, as well as a decrease in asset management expenses. As of December 31, 2009 and 2008, the Company managed 12,681 units and 14,485 units, respectively, primarily for unconsolidated entities and its military housing ventures at Fort Lewis and McChord.

Property management expenses from continuing operations include off-site expenses associated with the self-management of the Company’s properties as well as management fees paid to any third party management companies. These expenses decreased approximately $5.1 million or 6.7%. This decrease is primarily attributable to lower overall payroll-related costs as a result of a decrease in the number of properties in the Company’s portfolio, as well as

 

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decreases in temporary help/contractors, telecommunications and travel expenses.

Depreciation expense from continuing operations, which includes depreciation on non-real estate assets, increased approximately $22.8 million or 4.1% primarily as a result of additional depreciation expense on properties acquired in 2008 and 2009, development properties placed in service and capital expenditures for all properties owned.

General and administrative expenses from continuing operations, which include corporate operating expenses, decreased approximately $6.0 million or 13.3% primarily due to lower overall payroll-related costs as a result of a decrease in the number of properties in the Company’s portfolio, as well as a $2.9 million decrease in severance related costs in 2009 and a decrease in tax consulting costs. The Company anticipates that general and administrative expenses will approximate $38.0 million to $40.0 million for the year ending December 31, 2010. The above assumption is based on current expectations and is forward-looking.

Impairment from continuing operations decreased approximately $105.3 million due to an $11.1 million impairment charge taken during 2009 on a land parcel held for development compared to a $116.4 million impairment charge taken in the fourth quarter of 2008 on land held for development related to five potential development projects that are no longer being pursued. See Note 19 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

Interest and other income from continuing operations decreased approximately $16.8 million or 50.2% primarily as a result of an $18.7 million gain recognized during 2008 related to the partial debt extinguishment of the Company’s notes compared to a $4.5 million gain recognized in 2009 (see Note 9). In addition, interest earned on cash and cash equivalents decreased due to a decrease in interest rates and because the Company received less insurance/litigation settlement proceeds and forfeited deposits in 2009, partially offset by a $4.9 million gain on the sale of investment securities realized in 2009. The Company anticipates that interest and other income will approximate $1.0 million to $3.0 million for the year ending December 31, 2010. The above assumption is based on current expectations and is forward-looking.

Other expenses from continuing operations increased approximately $0.7 million or 12.6% primarily due to an increase in transaction costs incurred in conjunction with the Company’s acquisition of two properties consisting of 566 units from unaffiliated parties, as well as expensing transaction costs associated with the Company’s acquisition of all of its partners’ interests in five previously partially owned properties consisting of 1,587 units in 2009. This was partially offset by a decrease in pursuit cost write-offs as a result of the Company’s decision to significantly reduce its development activities in 2009. The Company anticipates that other expenses will approximate $9.0 million to $12.0 million for the year ending December 31, 2010. The above assumption is based on current expectations and is forward-looking.

Interest expense from continuing operations, including amortization of deferred financing costs, increased approximately $17.4 million or 3.5% primarily as a result of an increase in debt extinguishment costs and lower capitalized interest. During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company capitalized interest costs of approximately $34.9 million as compared to $60.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. This capitalization of interest primarily relates to consolidated projects under development. The effective interest cost on all indebtedness for the year ended December 31, 2009 was 5.62% as compared to 5.56% for the year ended December 31, 2008. The Company anticipates that interest expense will approximate $466.0 million to $476.0 million for the year ending December 31, 2010. The above assumption is based on current expectations and is forward-looking.

Income and other tax expense from continuing operations decreased approximately $2.5 million or 46.9% primarily due to a change in the estimate for Texas state taxes and lower overall state income taxes, partially offset by an increase in business taxes for Washington, D.C. The Company anticipates that income and other tax expense will approximate $1.0 million to $2.0 million for the year ending December 31, 2010. The above assumption is based on current expectations and is forward-looking.

Loss from investments in unconsolidated entities increased approximately $2.7 million as compared to the year ended December 31, 2008 primarily due to the Company’s $1.8 million share of defeasance costs incurred in conjunction with the extinguishment of cross-collateralized mortgage debt on one of the Company’s partially owned unconsolidated joint ventures as well as a decline in the operating performance of these properties.

Net gain on sales of unconsolidated entities increased approximately $7.8 million as the Company sold seven unconsolidated properties in 2009 (inclusive of the one property where the Company acquired its partner’s interest) compared to three unconsolidated properties in 2008.

 

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Net gain on sales of land parcels decreased approximately $3.0 million due to the sale of vacant land located in Florida during the year ended December 31, 2008 versus no land sales in 2009.

Discontinued operations, net decreased approximately $95.2 million or 21.2% between the periods under comparison. This decrease is primarily due to lower gains from property sales during the year ended December 31, 2009 compared to the same period in 2008 and the operations of those properties. In addition, properties sold in 2009 reflect operations for a partial period in 2009 in contrast to a full period in 2008. See Note 13 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

Comparison of the year ended December 31, 2008 to the year ended December 31, 2007

For the year ended December 31, 2008, loss from continuing operations increased approximately $33.9 million when compared to the year ended December 31, 2007. The decrease in continuing operations is discussed below.

Revenues from the 2008 Same Store Properties increased $53.8 million primarily as a result of higher rental rates charged to residents. Expenses from the 2008 Same Store Properties increased $13.5 million primarily due to higher real estate taxes, utility costs and payroll. The following tables provide comparative same store results and statistics for the 2008 Same Store Properties:

2008 vs. 2007

Same Store Results/Statistics

$ in thousands (except for Average Rental Rate) – 115,051 Same Store Units

 

     Results     Statistics  

Description

   Revenues     Expenses     NOI     Average
Rental
Rate (1)
    Occupancy     Turnover  

2008

   $ 1,739,004      $ 632,366      $ 1,106,638      $ 1,334      94.5   63.5

2007

   $ 1,685,196      $ 618,882      $ 1,066,314      $ 1,292      94.6   63.6
                                            

Change

   $ 53,808      $ 13,484      $ 40,324      $ 42      (0.1 )%    (0.1 )% 
                                            

Change

     3.2     2.2     3.8     3.3    

 

(1) Average rental rate is defined as total rental revenues divided by the weighted average occupied units for the period.

Non-same store operating results increased approximately $66.1 million or 79.8% and consist primarily of properties acquired in calendar years 2008 and 2007, as well as operations from completed development properties and our corporate housing business.

See also Note 20 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional discussion regarding the Company’s segment disclosures.

Fee and asset management revenues, net of fee and asset management expenses, increased approximately $2.0 million primarily due to an increase in revenue earned on management of the Company’s military housing venture at Fort Lewis along with the addition of McChord Air Force Base, as well as a decrease in asset management expenses. As of December 31, 2008 and 2007, the Company managed 14,485 units and 14,472 units, respectively, primarily for unconsolidated entities and its military housing ventures at Fort Lewis and McChord.

Property management expenses from continuing operations include off-site expenses associated with the self-management of the Company’s properties as well as management fees paid to any third party management companies. These expenses decreased approximately $10.4 million or 11.9%. This decrease is primarily attributable to lower overall payroll-related costs as a result of a decrease in the number of properties in the Company’s portfolio, as well as a decrease in legal and professional fees.

Depreciation expense from continuing operations, which includes depreciation on non-real estate assets, increased approximately $28.3 million or 5.3% primarily as a result of additional depreciation expense on properties acquired in 2007 and 2008 and capital expenditures for all properties owned.

General and administrative expenses from continuing operations, which include corporate operating expenses, decreased approximately $1.8 million or 3.9% primarily as a result of a $2.2 million decrease in profit sharing expense and lower overall payroll-related costs, partially offset by an increase in legal and professional fees due to a $1.7

 

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million expense recovery recorded for the year ended December 31, 2007 related to a certain lawsuit in Florida (see Note 21).

Impairment from continuing operations increased approximately $116.4 million due to an impairment charge taken in the fourth quarter of 2008 on land held for development related to five potential development projects that will no longer be pursued. See Note 19 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

Interest and other income from continuing operations increased approximately $13.5 million or 67.3% primarily as a result of an $18.7 million gain recognized during the year ended December 31, 2008 related to the partial debt extinguishment of the Company’s June 2009 and August 2026 public notes (see Note 9), as well as an increase in short-term investments. This was partially offset by a $7.3 million decrease in interest earned on 1031 exchange and earnest money deposits due primarily to the decline in the Company’s transaction activities.

Other expenses from continuing operations increased approximately $3.9 million primarily due to an increase in the write-off of various pursuit and out-of-pocket costs for terminated development transactions and halted condominium conversion properties during 2008 compared to the year ended December 31, 2007.

Interest expense from continuing operations, including amortization of deferred financing costs, decreased approximately $0.2 million as a result of lower overall effective interest rates and a reduction in debt extinguishment costs, offset by higher overall debt levels outstanding due to the Company’s 2007 share repurchase activity and its pre-funding of its 2008 and 2009 debt maturities. During the year ended December 31, 2008, the Company capitalized interest costs of approximately $60.1 million as compared to $45.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. This capitalization of interest primarily relates to consolidated projects under development. The effective interest cost on all indebtedness for the year ended December 31, 2008 was 5.56% as compared to 5.96% for the year ended December 31, 2007.

Income and other tax expense from continuing operations increased approximately $2.8 million primarily due to a change in the estimate for Texas state taxes and an increase in franchise taxes.

Loss from investments in unconsolidated entities increased approximately $0.4 million between the periods under comparison. This increase is primarily due to income received in 2007 from the sale of the Company’s 7.075% ownership interest in Wellsford Park Highlands Corporation, an entity which owns a condominium development in Denver, Colorado.

Net gain on sales of unconsolidated entities increased approximately $0.2 million primarily due to a $2.9 million gain on the sale of three unconsolidated institutional joint venture properties realized in 2008 compared to a gain of $2.6 million realized in 2007 on the sale of one property.

Net gain on sales of land parcels decreased approximately $3.4 million primarily as a result of higher net gains realized in 2007 on the sale of two land parcels compared to the net gain realized in 2008 on the sale of one land parcel.

Discontinued operations, net decreased approximately $577.1 million or 56.2% between the periods under comparison. This decrease is primarily due to a significant decrease in the number of properties sold during the year ended December 31, 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, as well as the mix of properties sold in each year. See Note 13 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

For the Year Ended December 31, 2009

As of January 1, 2009, the Company had approximately $890.8 million of cash and cash equivalents and $1.29 billion available under its revolving credit facility (net of $130.0 million which was restricted/dedicated to support letters of credit and $75.0 million which had been committed by a now bankrupt financial institution and is not available for borrowing). After taking into effect the various transactions discussed in the following paragraphs and the net cash provided by operating activities, the Company’s cash and cash equivalents balance at December 31, 2009 was approximately $193.3 million, its restricted 1031 exchange proceeds totaled $244.3 million and the amount available on the Company’s revolving credit facility was $1.37 billion (net of $56.7 million which was restricted/dedicated to support letters of credit and net of the $75.0 million discussed above). In 2008, the Company built a significant cash and cash equivalents balance as a direct result of its decision to pre-fund its 2008 and 2009 debt maturities with the closing of three secured mortgage loan pools totaling $1.6 billion. The decline in the Company’s cash and cash

 

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equivalents balance since December 31, 2008 is a direct result of the application of the pre-funded cash on hand towards the Company’s debt maturity, tender and repurchase activities, partially offset by the closing of a $500.0 million secured mortgage loan pool during 2009. See Notes 8 through 10 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company generated proceeds from various transactions, which included the following:

 

   

Disposed of 61 properties (including the Company’s buyout of its partner’s interest in one unconsolidated property) and 62 condominium units, receiving net proceeds of $893.6 million;

 

   

Obtained $540.0 million in new mortgage financing and terminated six treasury locks, receiving $10.8 million;

 

   

Obtained an additional $198.8 million of new mortgage loans on development properties;

 

   

Received $215.8 million from maturing or sold investment securities; and

 

   

Issued approximately 4.2 million Common Shares and received net proceeds of $100.6 million.

During the year ended December 31, 2009, the above proceeds were primarily utilized to:

 

   

Invest $330.6 million primarily in development projects;

 

   

Acquire three rental properties (including the Company’s buyout of its partner’s interest in one unconsolidated property) and a long-term leasehold interest in a land parcel, utilizing cash of $175.5 million;

 

   

Repurchase 47,450 Common Shares, utilizing cash of $1.1 million (see Note 3);

 

   

Repurchase $652.1 million of fixed rate public notes;

 

   

Repay $122.2 million of fixed rate public notes at maturity;

 

   

Repurchase $75.8 million of fixed rate tax-exempt notes;

 

   

Repay $956.8 million of mortgage loans; and

 

   

Acquire $77.8 million of investment securities.

In September 2009, the Company announced the creation of an At-The-Market (“ATM”) share offering program which would allow the Company to sell up to 17.0 million Common Shares from time to time over the next three years into the existing trading market at current market prices as well as through negotiated transactions. The Company may, but shall have no obligation to, sell Common Shares through the ATM share offering program in amounts and at times to be determined by the Company. Actual sales will depend on a variety of factors to be determined by the Company from time to time, including (among others) market conditions, the trading price of the Company’s Common Shares and determinations of the appropriate sources of funding for the Company. During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company issued approximately 3.5 million Common Shares at an average price of $35.38 per share for total consideration of approximately $123.7 million through the ATM share offering program. In addition, during the first quarter of 2010 through February 19, 2010, the Company has issued approximately 1.1 million Common Shares at an average price of $33.87 per share for total consideration of approximately $35.8 million. Cumulative to date, the Company has issued approximately 4.6 million Common Shares at an average price of $35.03 for total consideration of approximately $159.5 million. As of February 19, 2010, the Company had 12.4 million Common Shares remaining available for issuance under the ATM program.

Depending on its analysis of market prices, economic conditions, and other opportunities for the investment of available capital, the Company may repurchase its Common Shares pursuant to its existing share repurchase program authorized by the Board of Trustees. The Company repurchased $1.1 million (47,450 shares at an average price per share of $23.69) of its Common Shares during the year ended December 31, 2009. As of December 31, 2009, the Company had authorization to repurchase an additional $466.5 million of its shares. See Note 3 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

Depending on its analysis of prevailing market conditions, liquidity requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors, the Company may from time to time seek to repurchase and retire its outstanding debt in open market or privately negotiated transactions.

The Company’s total debt summary and debt maturity schedules as of December 31, 2009 are as follows:

 

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Debt Summary as of December 31, 2009

(Amounts in thousands)

 

     Amounts (1)    % of Total     Weighted
Average
Rates (1)
    Weighted
Average
Maturities
(years)

Secured

   $ 4,783,446    50.9   4.89   8.9

Unsecured

     4,609,124    49.1   5.31   4.9
                       

Total

   $ 9,392,570    100.0   5.11   6.9
                       

Fixed Rate Debt:

         

Secured – Conventional

   $ 3,773,008    40.2   5.89   7.6

Unsecured – Public/Private

     3,771,700    40.1   5.93   5.4
                       

Fixed Rate Debt

     7,544,708    80.3   5.91   6.5
                       

Floating Rate Debt:

         

Secured – Conventional

     382,939    4.0   2.18   4.2

Secured – Tax Exempt

     627,499    6.7   0.65   20.5

Unsecured – Public/Private

     801,824    8.6   1.37   1.7

Unsecured – Tax Exempt

     35,600    0.4   0.37   19.0

Unsecured – Revolving Credit Facility

     —      —        —        2.2
                       

Floating Rate Debt

     1,847,862    19.7   1.28   8.7
                       

Total

   $ 9,392,570    100.0   5.11   6.9
                       

 

(1) Net of the effect of any derivative instruments. Weighted average rates are for the year ended December 31, 2009.

Note: The Company capitalized interest of approximately $34.9 million and $60.1 million during the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively.

Debt Maturity Schedule as of December 31, 2009

(Amounts in thousands)

 

Year

   Fixed
Rate (1)
    Floating
Rate (1)
    Total    % of Total     Weighted Average
Rates on Fixed
Rate Debt (1)
    Weighted Average
Rates on

Total Debt (1)
 

2010

   $ 34,123      $ 568,310  (2)    $ 602,433    6.4   7.61   1.36

2011

     1,066,274  (3)      261,805        1,328,079    14.1   5.52   4.83

2012

     739,469        3,362        742,831    7.9   5.48   5.48

2013

     266,347        301,824        568,171    6.1   6.76   4.89

2014

     517,443        —          517,443    5.5   5.28   5.28

2015

     355,632        —          355,632    3.8   6.41   6.41

2016

     1,089,236        39,999        1,129,235    12.0   5.32   5.25

2017

     1,346,553        456        1,347,009    14.3   5.87   5.87

2018

     336,086        44,677        380,763    4.1   5.95   5.57

2019

     502,244        20,766        523,010    5.6   5.19   5.01

2020+

     1,291,301        606,663        1,897,964    20.2   6.11   5.07
                                         

Total

   $ 7,544,708      $ 1,847,862      $ 9,392,570    100.0   5.85   5.03
                                         

 

(1) Net of the effect of any derivative instruments. Weighted average rates are as of December 31, 2009.
(2) Includes the Company’s $500.0 million floating rate term loan facility, which matures on October 5, 2010, subject to two one-year extension options exercisable by the Company.
(3) Includes $482.5 million face value of 3.85% convertible unsecured debt with a final maturity of 2026. The notes are callable by the Company on or after August 18, 2011. The notes are putable by the holders on August 18, 2011, August 15, 2016 and August 15, 2021.

The following table provides a summary of the Company’s unsecured debt as of December 31, 2009:

 

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Unsecured Debt Summary as of December 31, 2009

(Amounts in thousands)

 

     Coupon
Rate
    Due
Date
    Face
Amount
    Unamortized
Premium/
(Discount)
    Net
Balance
 

Fixed Rate Notes:

          
   6.950   03/02/11  (1)    $ 93,096      $ 990      $ 94,086   
   6.625   03/15/12  (2)      253,858        (412     253,446   
   5.500   10/01/12  (3)      222,133        (602     221,531   
   5.200   04/01/13  (4)      400,000        (385     399,615   
   5.250   09/15/14        500,000        (289     499,711   
   6.584   04/13/15        300,000        (590     299,410   
   5.125   03/15/16        500,000        (332     499,668   
   5.375   08/01/16        400,000        (1,221     398,779   
   5.750   06/15/17        650,000        (3,815     646,185   
   7.125   10/15/17        150,000        (505     149,495   
   7.570   08/15/26        140,000        —          140,000   
   3.850   08/15/26  (5)      482,545        (12,771     469,774   

Fair Value Derivative Adjustments

           (4)      (300,000     —          (300,000
                            
         3,791,632        (19,932     3,771,700   
                            

Floating Rate Tax Exempt Notes:

          
   7-Day SIFMA      12/15/28  (6)      35,600        —          35,600   
                            

Floating Rate Notes:

          
     04/01/13  (4)      300,000        —          300,000   

Fair Value Derivative Adjustments

           (4)      1,824        —          1,824   

Term Loan Facility

   LIBOR+0.50%      10/05/10  (6)(7)      500,000        —          500,000   
                            
         801,824        —          801,824   

Revolving Credit Facility:

   LIBOR+0.50%      02/28/12  (8)      —          —          —     
                            

Total Unsecured Debt

       $ 4,629,056      $ (19,932   $ 4,609,124   
                            

 

Note: SIFMA stands for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and is the tax-exempt index equivalent of LIBOR.

 

(1) On January 27, 2009, the Company repurchased $185.2 million of these notes at par pursuant to a cash tender offer announced on January 16, 2009. On December 10, 2009, the Company repurchased $21.7 million of these notes at a price of 106% of par pursuant to a cash tender offer announced on December 2, 2009.
(2) On December 10, 2009, the Company repurchased $146.1 million of these notes at a price of 108% of par pursuant to a cash tender offer announced on December 2, 2009.
(3) On December 10, 2009, the Company repurchased $127.9 million of these notes at a price of 107% of par pursuant to a cash tender offer announced on December 2, 2009.
(4) $300.0 million in fair value interest rate swaps converts a portion of the 5.200% notes due April 1, 2013 to a floating interest rate.
(5) Convertible notes mature on August 15, 2026. The notes are callable by the Company on or after August 18, 2011. The notes are putable by the holders on August 18, 2011, August 15, 2016 and August 15, 2021. During the quarter ended March 31, 2009, the Company repurchased $17.5 million of these notes at a price of 88.4% of par. On December 31, 2009, the Company repurchased $48.5 million of these notes at par pursuant to a cash tender offer announced on December 2, 2009. Effective January 1, 2009, companies are required to expense the implied option value inherent in convertible debt. In conjunction with this requirement, the Company recorded an adjustment of $17.3 million to the beginning balance of the discount on its convertible notes.
(6) Notes are private. All other unsecured debt is public.
(7) Represents the Company’s $500.0 million term loan facility, which matures on October 5, 2010, subject to two one-year extension options exercisable by the Company.
(8) As of December 31, 2009, there was no amount outstanding and approximately $1.37 billion available on the Company’s unsecured revolving credit facility.

As of February 25, 2010, an unlimited amount of debt securities remains available for issuance by the Operating Partnership under a registration statement that became automatically effective upon filing with the SEC in December 2008 (under SEC regulations enacted in 2005, the registration statement automatically expires on December 21, 2011 and does not contain a maximum issuance amount). As of February 25, 2010, an unlimited amount of equity securities remains available for issuance by the Company under a registration statement the SEC declared effective in December 2008 (under SEC regulations enacted in 2005, the registration statement automatically expires on December 15, 2011 and does not contain a maximum issuance amount).

 

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The Company’s “Consolidated Debt-to-Total Market Capitalization Ratio” as of December 31, 2009 is presented in the following table. The Company calculates the equity component of its market capitalization as the sum of (i) the total outstanding Common Shares and assumed conversion of all Units at the equivalent market value of the closing price of the Company’s Common Shares on the New York Stock Exchange; (ii) the “Common Share Equivalent” of all convertible preferred shares; and (iii) the liquidation value of all perpetual preferred shares outstanding.

Capital Structure as of December 31, 2009

(Amounts in thousands except for share/unit and per share amounts)

 

Secured Debt

        $ 4,783,446    50.9  

Unsecured Debt

          4,609,124    49.1  
                    

Total Debt

          9,392,570    100.0   48.1

Common Shares (includes Restricted Shares)

     279,959,048    95.2       

Units

     14,197,969    4.8       
                    

Total Shares and Units

     294,157,017    100.0       

Common Share Equivalents (see below)

     398,038          
                

Total outstanding at quarter-end

     294,555,055          

Common Share Price at December 31, 2009

   $ 33.78          
                
          9,950,070    98.0  

Perpetual Preferred Equity (see below)

          200,000    2.0  
                    

Total Equity

          10,150,070    100.0   51.9

Total Market Capitalization

        $ 19,542,640      100.0

Convertible Preferred Equity as of December 31, 2009

(Amounts in thousands except for share and per share amounts)

 

Series

  Redemption
Date
  Outstanding
Shares
  Liquidation
Value
  Annual
Dividend
Per Share
  Annual
Dividend
Amount
  Weighted
Average
Rate
    Conversion
Ratio
  Common
Share
Equivalents

Preferred Shares:

               

7.00% Series E

  11/1/98   328,466   $ 8,212   $ 1.75   $ 575     1.1128   365,517

7.00% Series H

  6/30/98   22,459     561     1.75     39     1.4480   32,521
                           

Total Convertible Preferred Equity

    350,925   $ 8,773     $ 614   7.00     398,038

Perpetual Preferred Equity as of December 31, 2009

(Amounts in thousands except for share and per share amounts)

 

Series

   Redemption
Date
   Outstanding
Shares
   Liquidation
Value
   Annual
Dividend
Per Share
   Annual
Dividend
Amount
   Weighted
Average
Rate
 

Preferred Shares:

                 

8.29% Series K

   12/10/26    1,000,000    $ 50,000    $ 4.145    $ 4,145   

6.48% Series N

   6/19/08    600,000      150,000      16.20      9,720   
                           

Total Perpetual Preferred Equity

      1,600,000    $ 200,000       $ 13,865    6.93

The Company generally expects to meet its short-term liquidity requirements, including capital expenditures related to maintaining its existing properties and certain scheduled unsecured note and mortgage note repayments, through its working capital, net cash provided by operating activities and borrowings under its revolving credit facility. Under normal operating conditions, the Company considers its cash provided by operating activities to be adequate to meet operating requirements and payments of distributions. However, there may be times when the Company experiences shortfalls in its coverage of distributions, which may cause the Company to consider reducing its distributions and/or using the proceeds from property dispositions or additional financing transactions to make up the difference. Should these shortfalls occur for lengthy periods of time or be material in nature, the Company’s financial condition may be adversely affected and it may not be able to maintain its current distribution levels. The Company reduced its quarterly common share dividend beginning with the dividend for the third quarter of 2009, from $0.4825 per share (an annual rate of $1.93 per share) to $0.3375 per share (an annual rate of $1.35 per share). The Company believes that its expected 2010 operating cash flow is sufficient to cover capital expenditures and distributions.

 

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The Company also expects to meet its long-term liquidity requirements, such as scheduled unsecured note and mortgage debt maturities, property acquisitions, financing of construction and development activities and capital improvements through the issuance of secured and unsecured debt and equity securities, including additional OP Units, and proceeds received from the disposition of certain properties as well as joint ventures. In addition, the Company has significant unencumbered properties available to secure additional mortgage borrowings in the event that the public capital markets are unavailable or the cost of alternative sources of capital is too high. The fair value of and cash flow from these unencumbered properties are in excess of the requirements the Company must maintain in order to comply with covenants under its unsecured notes and line of credit. Of the $18.5 billion in investment in real estate on the Company’s balance sheet at December 31, 2009, $11.2 billion or 60.9%, was unencumbered. However, there can be no assurances that these sources of capital will be available to the Company in the future on acceptable terms or otherwise.

As of the date of this filing, the Operating Partnership’s senior debt credit ratings from Standard & Poors (“S&P”), Moody’s and Fitch are BBB+, Baal and A-, respectively. As of the date of this filing, the Company’s preferred equity ratings from S&P, Moody’s and Fitch are BBB-, Baa2 and BBB, respectively. During the third quarter of 2009, Moody’s and Fitch placed both the Company and the Operating Partnership on negative outlook.

The Operating Partnership has a $1.5 billion long-term revolving credit facility with available borrowings as of February 19, 2010 of $1.36 billion (net of $65.2 million which was restricted/dedicated to support letters of credit and net of a $75.0 million commitment from a now bankrupt financial institution) that matures in February 2012 (See Note 10 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion). This facility may, among other potential uses, be used to fund property acquisitions, costs for certain properties under development and short-term liquidity requirements. As of February 19, 2010, $180.0 million was outstanding under this facility. The Company expects to repay essentially all of the outstanding balance under the line as dispositions close and restricted 1031 proceeds are released from escrow.

See Note 21 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for discussion of the events which occurred subsequent to December 31, 2009.

Capitalization of Fixed Assets and Improvements to Real Estate

Our policy with respect to capital expenditures is generally to capitalize expenditures that improve the value of the property or extend the useful life of the component asset of the property. We track improvements to real estate in two major categories and several subcategories:

 

   

Replacements (inside the unit). These include:

 

   

flooring such as carpets, hardwood, vinyl, linoleum or tile;

 

   

appliances;

 

   

mechanical equipment such as individual furnace/air units, hot water heaters, etc;

 

   

furniture and fixtures such as kitchen/bath cabinets, light fixtures, ceiling fans, sinks, tubs, toilets, mirrors, countertops, etc; and

 

   

blinds/shades.

All replacements are depreciated over a five-year estimated useful life. We expense as incurred all make-ready maintenance and turnover costs such as cleaning, interior painting of individual units and the repair of any replacement item noted above.

 

   

Building improvements (outside the unit). These include:

 

   

roof replacement and major repairs;

 

   

paving or major resurfacing of parking lots, curbs and sidewalks;

 

   

amenities and common areas such as pools, exterior sports and playground equipment, lobbies, clubhouses, laundry rooms, alarm and security systems and offices;

 

   

major building mechanical equipment systems;

 

   

interior and exterior structural repair and exterior painting and siding;

 

   

major landscaping and grounds improvement; and

 

   

vehicles and office and maintenance equipment.

All building improvements are depreciated over a five to ten-year estimated useful life. We capitalize building improvements and upgrades only if the item: (i) exceeds $2,500 (selected projects must exceed $10,000); (ii) extends the useful life of the asset; and (iii) improves the value of the asset.

 

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Table of Contents

For the year ended December 31, 2009, our actual improvements to real estate totaled approximately $123.9 million. This includes the following (amounts in thousands except for unit and per unit amounts):

Capital Expenditures to Real Estate

For the Year Ended December 31, 2009

 

     Total
Units (1)
   Replacements (2)    Avg.
Per Unit
   Building
Improvements
   Avg.
Per Unit
   Total    Avg.
Per Unit

Same Store Properties (3)

   113,598    $ 69,808    $ 614    $ 44,611    $ 393    $ 114,419    $ 1,007

Non-Same Store Properties (4)

   10,728      2,361      240      3,675      374      6,036      614

Other (5)

   —        2,130         1,352         3,482   
                                  

Total

   124,326    $ 74,299       $ 49,638       $ 123,937   
                                  

 

(1) Total Units – Excludes 8,086 unconsolidated units and 4,595 military housing units, for which capital expenditures to real estate are self-funded and do not consolidate into the Company’s results.
(2) Replacements – For same store properties includes $28.0 million spent on various assets related to unit renovations/rehabs (primarily kitchens and baths) designed to reposition these assets for higher rental levels in their respective markets.
(3) Same Store Properties – Primarily includes all properties acquired or completed and stabilized prior to January 1, 2008, less properties subsequently sold.
(4) Non-Same Store Properties – Primarily includes all properties acquired during 2008 and 2009, plus any properties in lease-up and not stabilized as of January 1, 2008. Per unit amounts are based on a weighted average of 9,823 units.
(5) Other – Primarily includes expenditures for properties sold during the period.

For the year ended December 31, 2008, our actual improvements to real estate totaled approximately $169.8 million. This includes the following (amounts in thousands except for unit and per unit amounts):

Capital Expenditures to Real Estate

For the Year Ended December 31, 2008

 

     Total
Units (1)
   Replacements    Avg.
Per Unit
   Building
Improvements
   Avg.
Per Unit
   Total    Avg.
Per Unit

Established Properties (2)

   105,607    $ 38,003    $ 360    $ 53,195    $ 504    $ 91,198    $ 864

New Acquisition Properties (3)

   20,665      5,409      285      18,243      961      23,652      1,246

Other (4)

   6,487      43,497         11,491         54,988   
                                  

Total

   132,759    $ 86,909       $ 82,929       $ 169,838   
                                  

 

(1) Total Units – Excludes 9,776 unconsolidated units and 4,709 military housing units, for which capital expenditures to real estate are self-funded and do not consolidate into the Company’s results.
(2) Established Properties – Wholly Owned Properties acquired prior to January 1, 2006.
(3) New Acquisition Properties – Wholly Owned Properties acquired during 2006, 2007 and 2008. Per unit amounts are based on a weighted average of 18,983 units.
(4) Other – Includes properties either partially owned or sold during the period, commercial space, corporate housing and condominium conversions. Also includes $34.2 million included in replacements spent on various assets related to major renovations and repositioning of these assets.

The Company incurred less in capital expenditures in 2009 primarily due to continued efforts to limit the scope of projects and greater cost controls on vendors. For 2010, the Company estimates that it will spend approximately $1,075 per unit of capital expenditures for its same store properties inclusive of unit renovation/rehab costs, or $825 per unit excluding unit renovation/rehab costs. The above assumptions are based on current expectations and are forward-looking.

During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company’s total non-real estate capital additions, such as computer software, computer equipment, and furniture and fixtures and leasehold improvements to the Company’s property management offices and its corporate offices, were approximately $2.0 million. The Company expects to fund approximately $1.6 million in total additions to non-real estate property in 2010. The above assumption is based on current expectations and is forward-looking.

 

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Table of Contents

Improvements to real estate and additions to non-real estate property are generally funded from net cash provided by operating activities and from investment cash flow.

Derivative Instruments

In the normal course of business, the Company is exposed to the effect of interest rate changes. The Company seeks to limit these risks by following established risk management policies and procedures including the use of derivatives to hedge interest rate risk on debt instruments.

The Company has a policy of only entering into contracts with major financial institutions based upon their credit ratings and other factors. When viewed in conjunction with the underlying and offsetting exposure that the derivatives are designed to hedge, the Company has not sustained a material loss from these instruments nor does it anticipate any material adverse effect on its net income or financial position in the future from the use of derivatives it currently has in place.

See Note 11 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional discussion of derivative instruments at December 31, 2009.

Other

Total distributions paid in January 2010 amounted to $100.7 million (excluding distributions on Partially Owned Properties), which included certain distributions declared during the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2009.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements and Contractual Obligations

The Company has co-invested in various properties that are unconsolidated and accounted for under the equity method of accounting. Management does not believe these investments have a materially different impact upon the Company’s liquidity, cash flows, capital resources, credit or market risk than its property management and ownership activities. During 2000 and 2001, the Company entered into institutional ventures with an unaffiliated partner. At the respective closing dates, the Company sold and/or contributed 45 properties containing 10,846 units to these ventures and retained a 25% ownership interest in the ventures. The Company’s joint venture partner contributed cash equal to 75% of the agreed-upon equity value of the properties comprising the ventures, which was then distributed to the Company. The Company’s strategy with respect to these ventures was to reduce its concentration of properties in a variety of markets. The Company sold seven properties consisting of 1,684 units (including one property containing 250 units which was acquired by the Company), three properties consisting of 670 units and one property consisting of 400 units during the years ended December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007, respectively. The Company and its joint venture partner currently intend to wind up these investments over the next few years by selling the related assets, which may involve refinancing the assets as a majority of the debt encumbering them matures in 2010 and early 2011. The Company cannot estimate what, if any, profit it will receive from these dispositions or if the Company will in fact receive its equity back.

As of December 31, 2009, the Company has four projects totaling 1,700 units in various stages of development with estimated completion dates ranging through June 30, 2011. The development agreements currently in place are discussed in detail in Note 18 of the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements.

See also Notes 2 and 6 in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional discussion regarding the Company’s investments in partially owned entities.

The following table summarizes the Company’s contractual obligations for the next five years and thereafter as of December 31, 2009:

 

Payments Due by Year (in thousands)

Contractual Obligations

  2010   2011   2012   2013   2014