SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2020
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]|
|SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES||SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Basis of Presentation
The accompanying consolidated financial statements are presented on the accrual basis of accounting in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP").
Principles of Consolidation
The Company's consolidated financial statements include the accounts of its operating partnership and its controlled subsidiaries. All significant intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in the consolidation of entities.
When the Company obtains an economic interest in an entity, the Company evaluates the entity to determine if the entity is deemed a variable interest entity ("VIE"), and if the Company is deemed to be the primary beneficiary, in accordance with authoritative guidance issued on the consolidation of VIEs. When an entity is not deemed to be a VIE, the Company considers the provisions of additional guidance to determine whether the general partner controls a limited partnership or similar entity when the limited partners have certain rights. The Company consolidates all entities that are VIEs and of which the Company is deemed to be the primary beneficiary. The Company has determined that its operating partnership is a VIE. The sole significant asset of National Storage Affiliates Trust is its investment in its operating partnership, and consequently, substantially all of the Company's assets and liabilities represent those assets and liabilities of its operating partnership.
As of December 31, 2020, the Company's operating partnership was the primary beneficiary of, and therefore consolidated, 21 DownREIT partnerships that are considered VIEs, which owned 34 self storage properties. The net book value of the real estate owned by these VIEs was $225.1 million and $233.1 million as of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively. For certain DownREIT partnerships which are subject to fixed rate mortgages payable, the carrying value of such fixed rate mortgages payable held by these VIEs was $100.7 million and $136.4 million as of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively. The creditors of the consolidated VIEs do not have recourse to the Company's general credit.
All of the limited partner equity interests ("OP equity") in its operating partnership not held by the Company are reflected as noncontrolling interests. Noncontrolling interests also include ownership interests in DownREIT partnerships held by entities other than the Company's operating partnership. In the consolidated statements of operations, the Company allocates net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests to arrive at net income (loss) attributable to National Storage Affiliates Trust.
For transactions that result in changes to the Company's ownership interest in its operating partnership, the carrying amount of noncontrolling interests is adjusted to reflect such changes. The difference between the fair value of the consideration received or paid and the amount by which the noncontrolling interests is adjusted is reflected as an adjustment to additional paid-in capital on the consolidated balance sheets.
Self Storage Properties
Self storage properties are carried at historical cost less accumulated depreciation and any impairment losses. Major replacements and betterments, which improve or extend the life of an asset, are capitalized. Expenditures for ordinary repairs and maintenance are expensed as incurred and are included in property operating expenses. Estimated depreciable lives of self storage properties are determined by considering the age and other indicators about the condition of the assets at the respective dates of acquisition, resulting in a range of estimated useful lives for assets within each category. All self storage property assets are depreciated using the straight-line method. Buildings and improvements are depreciated over estimated useful lives primarily between and 40 years; furniture and equipment are depreciated over estimated useful lives primarily between and 10 years.
When a self storage property is acquired, the purchase price of the acquired self storage property is allocated to land, buildings and improvements, furniture and equipment, customer in-place leases, assumed real estate leasehold interests, and other assets acquired and liabilities assumed, based on the estimated fair value of each component. When a portfolio of self storage properties is acquired, the purchase price is allocated to the individual self storage properties based on the fair value determined using an income approach with appropriate risk-adjusted capitalization rates, which take into account the relative size, age and location of the individual self storage properties.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
The Company considers all highly-liquid investments purchased with original maturities of three months or less to be cash equivalents. From time to time, the Company maintains cash balances in financial institutions in excess of federally insured limits. The Company has never experienced a loss that resulted from exceeding federally insured limits.
The Company's restricted cash consists of escrowed funds deposited with financial institutions for real estate taxes, insurance and other reserves for capital improvements in accordance with the Company's loan agreements.
Customer In-place Leases
In allocating the purchase price for a self storage property acquisition, the Company determines whether the acquisition includes intangible assets. The Company allocates a portion of the purchase price to an intangible asset attributed to the value of customer in-place leases. This intangible asset is amortized to expense using the straight-line method over 12 months, the estimated average rental period for the leases. Substantially all of the leases in place at acquired properties are at market rates, as the leases are month-to-month contracts.
Impairment of Long-Lived Assets
The Company evaluates long-lived assets for impairment when events and circumstances indicate that there may be impairment. When events or changes in circumstances indicate that the Company's long-lived assets may not be recoverable, the carrying value of these long-lived assets is compared to the undiscounted future net operating cash flows, plus a terminal value attributable to the assets. If an asset's carrying value is not considered recoverable, an impairment loss is recorded to the extent the net carrying value of the asset exceeds the fair value. For the periods presented, no assets were determined to be impaired under this policy.
Costs of Raising Capital
Commissions, legal fees and other costs that are directly associated with equity offerings are capitalized as deferred offering costs, pending a determination of the success of the offering. Deferred offering costs related to successful offerings are charged to additional paid-in capital within equity in the period it is determined that the offering was successful.
Debt issuance costs are amortized over the estimated life of the related debt using the straight-line method, which approximates the effective interest rate method. Amortization of debt issuance costs is included in interest expense in the accompanying statements of operations.
Rental revenue consists of space rentals and related fees. Management has determined that all of the Company's leases are operating leases. Substantially all leases may be terminated on a month-to-month basis and rental income is recognized ratably over the lease term using the straight-line method. Rents received in advance are deferred and recognized on a straight-line basis over the related lease term associated with the prepayment. Promotional discounts and other incentives are recognized as a reduction to rental income over the applicable lease term.
Other property-related revenue
Other property-related revenue primarily consists of ancillary revenues such as tenant insurance and/or tenant warranty protection-related access fees and sales of storage supplies which are recognized in the period earned.
The Company and certain of the Company’s PROs have tenant insurance- and/or tenant warranty protection plan-related arrangements with insurance companies and the Company’s tenants. During the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, the Company recognized $11.1 million, $9.1 million and $7.5 million, respectively, of tenant insurance and tenant warranty protection plan revenues.
The Company sells boxes, packing supplies, locks and other retail merchandise at its properties. During the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, the Company recognized retail sales of $1.8 million, $1.7 million and $1.5 million, respectively.
Management fees and other revenue
Management fees and other revenue consist of property management fees, platform fees, call center fees, acquisition fees, and a portion of tenant warranty protection or tenant insurance proceeds that the Company earns for managing and operating its unconsolidated real estate ventures.
With respect to both the 2018 Joint Venture and the 2016 Joint Venture, the Company provides supervisory and administrative property management services, centralized call center services, and technology platform and revenue
management services to the properties in the unconsolidated real estate ventures. The property management fees are equal to 6% of monthly gross revenues and net sales revenues from the assets of the unconsolidated real estate ventures, and the platform fees are equal to $1,250 per month per unconsolidated real estate venture property. With respect to the 2016 Joint Venture only, the call center fees are equal to 1% of each of monthly gross revenues and net sales revenues from the 2016 Joint Venture properties. During the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, the Company recognized property management fees, call center fees and platform fees of $13.1 million, $12.8 million and $7.8 million, respectively.
For acquisition fees, the Company provides sourcing, underwriting and administration services to the unconsolidated real estate ventures. The 2016 Joint Venture paid the Company a $4.1 million acquisition fee equal to 0.65% of the gross capitalization (including debt and equity) of the original 66-property 2016 Joint Venture portfolio (the "Initial 2016 JV Portfolio") in 2016, at the time of the Initial 2016 JV Portfolio acquisition. The 2018 Joint Venture paid the Company a $4.0 million acquisition fee related to the initial acquisition of properties by the 2018 Joint Venture (the "Initial 2018 JV Portfolio") during the year ended December 31, 2018, at the time of the Initial 2018 JV Portfolio acquisition. These fees are refundable to the unconsolidated real estate ventures, on a prorated basis, if the Company is removed as the managing member during the initial four year life of the unconsolidated real estate ventures and as such, the Company's performance obligation for these acquisition fees are satisfied over a four year period. Accordingly, the Company's performance obligation related to the Initial 2016 JV Portfolio was satisfied during the year ended December 31, 2020. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the Company had deferred revenue related to the acquisition fees of $1.3 million and $2.8 million, respectively.
The Company also earns acquisition fees for properties acquired by the unconsolidated real estate ventures subsequent to the Initial 2016 JV Portfolio and the Initial 2018 JV Portfolio. These fees are based on a percentage of the gross capitalization of the acquired assets determined by the members of the 2016 Joint Venture and the 2018 Joint Venture, and are generally earned when the unconsolidated real estate ventures obtain title and control of an acquired property. During the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, the Company recognized acquisition fees of $1.7 million, $1.8 million and $1.6 million, respectively.
An affiliate of the Company facilitates tenant warranty protection or tenant insurance programs for tenants of the properties in the unconsolidated real estate ventures in exchange for 50% of all proceeds from such programs at each unconsolidated real estate venture property. During the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, the Company recognized $6.3 million, $4.7 million and $2.4 million, respectively, of revenue related to these activities.
The Company incurs advertising costs primarily attributable to internet, directory and other advertising. Advertising costs are included in property operating expenses in the accompanying statements of operations. These costs are expensed in the period in which the cost is incurred. The Company incurred advertising costs of $5.8 million, $5.2 million and $4.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
The Company incurs title, legal and consulting fees, and other costs associated with the completion of acquisitions. The Company's self storage property acquisitions are accounted for as asset acquisitions, and accordingly, acquisition costs directly related to the self storage property acquisitions were capitalized as part of the basis of the acquired properties. Indirect acquisition costs remain included in acquisition costs in the accompanying statements of operations in the period in which they were incurred.
The Company has elected and believes it has qualified to be taxed as a REIT under sections 856 through 860 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (the "Code") commencing with the taxable year ended December 31, 2015. To qualify as a REIT, among other things, the Company is required to distribute at least 90% of its REIT taxable income to its shareholders and meet certain tests regarding the nature of its income and assets. As a REIT, the Company is not subject to federal income tax on the earnings distributed currently to its shareholders that it derives from its REIT qualifying activities. If the Company fails to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, and is unable to avail itself of certain provisions set forth in the Code, all of the Company's taxable income would be subject to federal and state income taxes at regular corporate rates.
The Company will not be required to make distributions with respect to income derived from the activities conducted through subsidiaries that the Company elects to treat as taxable REIT subsidiaries ("TRS") for federal
income tax purposes. Certain activities that the Company undertakes must be conducted by a TRS, such as performing non-customary services for its customers, facilitating sales by PROs of tenant insurance and holding assets that the Company is not permitted to hold directly. A TRS is subject to federal and state income taxes.
On June 25, 2014, the Company formed NSA TRS, LLC ("NSA TRS"), a Delaware limited liability company. The Company has elected to treat NSA TRS as a TRS, and consequently, NSA TRS is subject to U.S. federal and state corporate income taxes. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized to the extent of any differences between the financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities. No material deferred tax assets and liabilities were recorded as of December 31, 2020 and 2019.
The Company did not have any unrecognized tax benefits related to uncertain tax positions as of December 31, 2020 and 2019. Future amounts of accrued interest and penalties, if any, related to uncertain tax positions will be recorded as a component of income tax expense. The Company does not expect that the amount of unrecognized tax benefits will change significantly in the next 12 months.
The Company's material taxing jurisdiction is the U.S. federal jurisdiction; the 2017 tax year is the earliest period that remains open to examination by these taxing jurisdictions.
Earnings per Share
Basic earnings per share is calculated based on the weighted average number of the Company's common shares of beneficial interest, $0.01 par value per share ("common shares"), outstanding during the period. Diluted earnings per share is calculated by further adjusting for the dilutive impact using the treasury stock method for any share options and unvested share equivalents outstanding during the period and the if-converted method for any convertible securities outstanding during the period.
As more fully described below under "–Allocation of Net Income (Loss)", the Company allocates GAAP income (loss) utilizing the hypothetical liquidation at book value ("HLBV") method, which could result in net income (or net loss) attributable to National Storage Affiliates Trust during a period when the Company reports consolidated net loss (or net income), or net income (or net loss) attributable to National Storage Affiliates Trust in excess of the Company's consolidated net income (or net loss). The computations of basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share may be materially affected by these disproportionate income (loss) allocations, resulting in volatile fluctuations of basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share.
The measurement and recognition of compensation cost for all equity-based awards granted to officers, employees and consultants is based on estimated fair values. Compensation cost is recognized on a straight-line basis over the requisite service periods of each award with non-graded vesting. For awards granted which contain a graded vesting schedule and the only condition for vesting is a service condition, compensation cost is recognized as an expense on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period as if the award was, in substance, a single award. For awards granted for which vesting is subject to a performance condition, compensation cost is recognized over the requisite service period if and when the Company concludes it is probable that the performance condition will be achieved.
The estimated fair value of all equity-based awards issued to PROs and their affiliates in connection with self storage property acquisitions is included in the cost of the respective acquisitions. The estimated fair value of such awards is measured at the date the self storage properties are acquired, as this date represents satisfaction of the performance condition and coincides with the award vesting.
Derivative Financial Instruments
The Company carries all derivative financial instruments on the balance sheet at fair value. Fair value of derivatives is determined by reference to observable prices that are based on inputs not quoted on active markets, but corroborated by market data. The accounting for changes in the fair value of a derivative instrument depends on whether the derivative has been designated and qualifies as part of a hedging relationship. The Company's use of derivative instruments has been limited to interest rate swap and cap agreements. The fair values of derivative instruments are included in other assets and accounts payable and accrued liabilities in the accompanying balance sheets. For derivative instruments not designated as cash flow hedges, the unrealized gains and losses are included in interest expense in the accompanying statements of operations. For derivatives designated as cash flow hedges, the effective portion of the changes in the fair value of the derivatives is initially reported in accumulated other
comprehensive income (loss) in the Company's balance sheets and subsequently reclassified into earnings when the hedged transaction affects earnings.
The valuation of interest rate swap and cap agreements is determined using widely accepted valuation techniques including discounted cash flow analysis on the expected cash flows of each derivative. This analysis reflects the contractual terms of derivatives, including the period to maturity, and uses observable market-based inputs, including interest rate curves. The fair values of interest rate swaps are determined using the market standard methodology of netting the discounted future fixed cash payments and the discounted expected variable cash receipts. The variable cash receipts are based on an expectation of future interest rates (forward curves) derived from observable market interest rate forward curves. The Company may enter into derivative contracts that are intended to economically hedge certain of its risk, even though hedge accounting does not apply or the Company elects not to apply hedge accounting.
Fair Value Measurements
When measuring fair value of financial instruments that are required to be recorded or disclosed at fair value, the Company uses a three-tier measurement hierarchy which prioritizes the inputs used to calculate fair value. These tiers include Level 1, defined as observable inputs such as quoted prices in active markets; Level 2, defined as inputs other than quoted prices in active markets that are either directly or indirectly observable; and Level 3, defined as unobservable inputs in which little or no market data exists, therefore requiring an entity to develop its own assumptions.
Investments in Unconsolidated Real Estate Ventures
The Company’s investments in its unconsolidated real estate ventures are recorded under the equity method of accounting in the accompanying consolidated financial statements. Under the equity method, the Company’s investments in unconsolidated real estate ventures are stated at cost and adjusted for the Company’s share of net earnings or losses and reduced by distributions. Equity in earnings (losses) is recognized based on the Company’s ownership interest in the earnings (losses) of the unconsolidated real estate ventures. The Company follows the "nature of the distribution approach" for classification of distributions from its unconsolidated real estate ventures in its consolidated statements of cash flows. Under this approach, distributions are reported on the basis of the nature of the activity or activities that generated the distributions as either a return on investment, which are classified as operating cash flows, or a return of investment (e.g., proceeds from the unconsolidated real estate ventures' sale of assets) which are reported as investing cash flows.
The Company manages its business as one reportable segment consisting of investments in self storage properties located in the United States. Although the Company operates in several markets, these operations have been aggregated into one reportable segment based on the similar economic characteristics among all markets.
Allocation of Net Income (Loss)
The distribution rights and priorities set forth in the operating partnership's LP Agreement differ from what is reflected by the underlying percentage ownership interests of the operating partnership's unitholders. Accordingly, the Company allocates GAAP income (loss) utilizing the HLBV method, in which the Company allocates income or loss based on the change in each unitholders’ claim on the net assets of its operating partnership at period end after adjusting for any distributions or contributions made during such period. The HLBV method is commonly applied to equity investments where cash distribution percentages vary at different points in time and are not directly linked to an equity holder’s ownership percentage.
The HLBV method is a balance sheet-focused approach to income (loss) allocation. A calculation is prepared at each balance sheet date to determine the amount that unitholders would receive if the operating partnership were to liquidate all of its assets (at GAAP net book value) and distribute the resulting proceeds to its creditors and unitholders based on the contractually defined liquidation priorities. The difference between the calculated liquidation distribution amounts at the beginning and the end of the reporting period, after adjusting for capital contributions and distributions, is used to derive each unitholder's share of the income (loss) for the period. Due to the stated liquidation priorities and because the HLBV method incorporates non-cash items such as depreciation expense, in any given period, income or loss may be allocated disproportionately to unitholders as compared to their respective ownership percentage in the operating partnership, and net income (loss) attributable to National Storage Affiliates Trust could be more or less net income than actual cash distributions received and more or less income or
loss than what may be received in the event of an actual liquidation. Additionally, the HLBV method could result in net income (or net loss) attributable to National Storage Affiliates Trust during a period when the Company reports consolidated net loss (or net income), or net income (or net loss) attributable to National Storage Affiliates Trust in excess of the Company's consolidated net income (or net loss). The computations of basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share may be materially affected by these disproportionate income (loss) allocations, resulting in volatile fluctuations of basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share.
Other Comprehensive Income (Loss)
The Company has cash flow hedge derivative instruments that are measured at fair value with unrealized gains or losses recognized in other comprehensive income (loss) with a corresponding adjustment to accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) within equity, as discussed further in Note 14. Under the HLBV method of allocating income (loss) discussed above, a calculation is prepared at each balance sheet date by applying the HLBV method including, and excluding, the assets and liabilities resulting from the Company's cash flow hedge derivative instruments to determine comprehensive income (loss) attributable to National Storage Affiliates Trust. As a result of the distribution rights and priorities set forth in the operating partnership's LP Agreement, in any given period, other comprehensive income (loss) may be allocated disproportionately to unitholders as compared to their respective ownership percentage in the operating partnership and as compared to their respective allocation of net income (loss).
Gain on sale of self storage properties
The Company recognizes gains from disposition of facilities only upon closing in accordance with the guidance on sales of nonfinancial assets. Profit on real estate sold is recognized upon closing when all, or substantially all, of the promised consideration has been received and is nonrefundable and the Company has transferred control of the facilities to the purchaser.
Goodwill represents the costs of business acquisitions in excess of the fair value of identifiable net assets acquired. The Company evaluates goodwill for potential impairment annually, or whenever impairment indicators are present. The Company determined that there was no impairment to goodwill during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Certain amounts in the consolidated financial statements and related notes have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation. Such reclassifications do not impact the Company's previously reported financial position or net income (loss).
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In March 2020, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued ASU 2020-04, Reference Rate Reform (Topic 848). ASU 2020-04 contains practical expedients for reference rate reform related activities that impact debt, leases, derivatives and other contracts. The guidance in ASU 2020-04 is optional and may be elected over time as reference rate reform activities occur. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company elected to apply the hedge accounting expedients related to probability and the assessments of effectiveness for future LIBOR-indexed cash flows to assume that the index upon which future hedged transactions will be based matches the index on the corresponding derivatives. Application of these expedients preserves the presentation of derivatives consistent with past presentation. The Company continues to evaluate the impact of the guidance and may apply other elections as applicable as additional changes in the market occur. See Note 14 for additional detail about the Company's derivatives.
The entire disclosure for all significant accounting policies of the reporting entity.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef