☒ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
☐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: 001-37351
National Storage Affiliates Trust
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
8400 East Prentice Avenue, 9th Floor
Greenwood Village, Colorado80111
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip code)
(Registrant's telephone number including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Shares of Beneficial Interest, $0.01 par value per share
New York Stock Exchange
Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Shares of Beneficial Interest, par value $0.01 per share
NSA Pr A
New York Stock Exchange
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes☒ 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☒
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☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted 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 such files). Yes☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer,"
"accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company" and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large Accelerated Filer
Smaller Reporting Company
Emerging Growth Company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common shares of beneficial interest of National Storage Affiliates Trust held by non-affiliates of National Storage Affiliates Trust was approximately $2.0 billion as of June 30, 2020. As of February 25, 2021, 71,359,211 common shares of beneficial interest, $0.01 par value per share, were outstanding.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of the registrant's definitive proxy statement for its annual meeting of shareholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
National Storage Affiliates Trust and its consolidated subsidiaries (the "Company", "NSA," "we," "our", and "us") make forward-looking statements in this report that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements include information about possible or assumed future results of our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, plans and objectives. When we use the words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "plan," "continue," "intend," "should," "may," or similar expressions, we intend to identify forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements contained in this report reflect our current views about future events and are subject to numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and changes in circumstances that may cause our actual results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. One of the most significant factors is the ongoing and potential impact of the current outbreak of COVID-19 on the economy, the self storage industry and the broader financial markets, which may have a significant negative impact on the Company's financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. The Company is unable to predict whether the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will trigger a further economic slowdown or a recession and to what extent the Company will experience disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current outbreak of COVID-19 has also impacted, and is likely to continue to impact, directly or indirectly, many of the other important factors below and the risks described under Item 1A below, and the Company's subsequent filings under the Exchange Act.
Statements regarding the following subjects, among others, may be forward-looking:
•market trends in our industry, interest rates, the debt and lending markets or the general economy;
•our business and investment strategy;
•the acquisition of properties, including those under contract, and the ability of our acquisitions to achieve underwritten capitalization rates and our ability to execute on our acquisition pipeline;
•the internalization of retiring participating regional operators ("PROs") into the Company;
•the timing of acquisitions;
•our relationships with, and our ability and timing to attract additional, PROs;
•our ability to effectively align the interests of our PROs with us and our shareholders;
•the integration of our PROs and their managed portfolios into the Company, including into our financial and operational reporting infrastructure and internal control framework;
•our operating performance and projected operating results, including our ability to achieve market rents and occupancy levels, reduce operating expenditures and increase the sale of ancillary products and services;
•our ability to access additional off-market acquisitions;
•actions and initiatives of the U.S. federal, state and local government and changes to U.S. federal, state and local government policies and the execution and impact of these actions, initiatives and policies;
•the state of the U.S. economy generally or in specific geographic regions, states, territories or municipalities;
•economic trends and economic recoveries;
•our ability to obtain and maintain financing arrangements on favorable terms;
•general volatility of the securities markets in which we participate;
•the negative impacts from the continued spread of COVID-19 on the economy, the self storage industry, the broader financial markets, the Company's financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and the ability of the Company's tenants to pay rent;
•changes in the value of our assets;
•projected capital expenditures;
•the impact of technology on our products, operations, and business;
•the implementation of our technology and best practices programs (including our ability to effectively implement our integrated Internet marketing strategy);
•changes in interest rates and the degree to which our hedging strategies may or may not protect us from interest rate volatility;
•impact of and changes in governmental regulations, tax law and rates, accounting guidance and similar matters;
•our ability to continue to qualify and maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes ("REIT");
•availability of qualified personnel;
•the timing of conversions of each series of Class B common units of limited partner interest ("subordinated performance units") in NSA OP, LP (our "operating partnership") and subsidiaries of our operating partnership into Class A common units of limited partner interest ("OP units") in our operating partnership, the conversion ratio in effect at such time and the impact of such convertibility on our diluted earnings (loss) per share;
•the risks of investing through joint ventures, including whether the anticipated benefits from a joint venture are realized or may take longer to realize than expected;
•estimates relating to our ability to make distributions to our shareholders in the future; and
•our understanding of our competition.
The forward-looking statements are based on our beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future performance, taking into account all information currently available to us. Forward-looking statements are not predictions of future events. These beliefs, assumptions, and expectations can change as a result of many possible events or factors, not all of which are known to us. Readers should carefully review our financial statements and the notes thereto, as well as the sections entitled "Business," "Risk Factors," "Properties," and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," described in Item 1, Item 1A, Item 2 and Item 7, respectively, of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other documents we file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If a change occurs, our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made. New risks and uncertainties arise over time, and it is not possible for us to predict those events or how they may affect us. In addition, we cannot assess the impact of each factor on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, we are not obligated to, and do not intend to, update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Item 1. Business
National Storage Affiliates Trust is a fully integrated, self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust organized in the state of Maryland on May 16, 2013. We have elected and we believe that we have qualified to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2015. We serve as the sole general partner of our operating partnership subsidiary, NSA OP, LP (our "operating partnership"), a Delaware limited partnership formed on February 13, 2013 to conduct our business, which is focused on the ownership, operation, and acquisition of self storage properties located within the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas ("MSAs") throughout the United States. As of December 31, 2020, we held ownership interests in and operated a geographically diversified portfolio of 821 self storage properties, located in 36 states and Puerto Rico, comprising approximately 52.0 million rentable square feet, configured in approximately 413,000 storage units. According to the 2021 Self-Storage Almanac, we are the sixth largest owner and operator of self storage properties in the United States based on number of properties, self storage units, and rentable square footage. We completed our initial public offering in 2015 and our common shares of beneficial interest, $0.01 par value per share ("common shares") are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NSA."
Our executive chairman of the board of trustees and former chief executive officer, Arlen D. Nordhagen, co-founded SecurCare Self Storage, Inc. in 1988 to invest in and manage self storage properties. While growing SecurCare to over 150 self storage properties, Mr. Nordhagen recognized a market opportunity for a differentiated public self storage REIT that would leverage the benefits of national scale by integrating multiple experienced regional self storage operators with local operational focus and expertise. We believe that his vision, which is the foundation of the Company, aligns the interests of our participating regional operators ("PROs"), with those of our public shareholders by allowing our PROs to participate alongside our shareholders in our financial performance and the performance of our PROs' "managed portfolios", which means, with respect to each PRO, the portfolio of properties that such PRO manages on our behalf. A key component of this strategy is to capitalize on the local market expertise and knowledge of regional self storage operators by maintaining the continuity of their roles as property managers.
We believe that our structure creates the right financial incentives to accomplish these objectives. We require our PROs to exchange the self storage properties they contribute to the Company for a combination of OP units and subordinated performance units in our operating partnership or subsidiaries of our operating partnership that issue units intended to be economically equivalent to the OP units and subordinated performance units issued by our operating partnership ("DownREIT partnerships"). OP units, which are economically equivalent to our common shares, create alignment with the performance of the Company as a whole. Subordinated performance units, which are linked to the performance of specific managed portfolios, incentivize our PROs to drive operating performance and support the sustainability of the operating cash flow generated by the self storage properties that they manage on our behalf. Because subordinated performance unit holders receive distributions only after portfolio-specific minimum performance thresholds are satisfied, subordinated performance units play a key role in aligning the interests of our PROs with us and our shareholders. Our structure thus offers PROs a unique opportunity to serve as regional property managers for their managed portfolios and directly participate in the potential upside of those properties while simultaneously diversifying their investment to include a broader portfolio of self storage properties. We believe our structure provides us with a competitive growth advantage over self storage companies that do not offer property owners the ability to participate in the performance and potential future growth of their managed portfolios.
We believe that our national platform has significant potential for continued external and internal growth. We seek to further expand our platform by continuing to recruit additional established self storage operators as well as opportunistically partnering with institutional funds and other institutional investors in strategic joint venture arrangements while integrating our operations through the implementation of centralized initiatives, including management information systems, revenue enhancement, and cost optimization programs. We are currently engaged in preliminary discussions with additional self storage operators and believe that we could add one to three more PROs in addition to the PROs we have currently, which will enhance our existing geographic footprint and allow us to enter regional markets in which we currently have limited or no market share.
On March 31, 2020, we closed on the merger and internalization of the management platform of SecurCare Self Storage, Inc. and its controlled affiliates ("SecurCare"), which prior to the merger and internalization was our largest PRO. As a result of the merger, we no longer pay any fees or reimbursements to SecurCare and distributions on the series of subordinated performance units related to SecurCare's managed portfolio were discontinued. Prior to the merger and internalization, SecurCare provided property management services to 217 of our properties located in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. As part of the internalization, we offered and provided employment to most of SecurCare's employees, including its president and chief executive officer, David Cramer, and its other key persons, to manage SecurCare's portfolio of properties as members of our existing property management platform. Effective March 31, 2020, Mr. Cramer replaced Steven B. Treadwell as our chief operating officer and executive vice president.
Our Property Management Platform
Through our property management platform, we direct, manage and control the day-to-day operations and affairs of certain consolidated properties and our unconsolidated real estate ventures under our iStorage and SecurCare brands. As of December 31, 2020, our property management platform managed and controlled 282 of our consolidated properties and 177 of our unconsolidated real estate venture properties.
We earn certain customary fees for managing and operating the properties in the unconsolidated real estate ventures and we facilitate tenant insurance and/or tenant warranty protection programs for tenants at these properties in exchange for half of all proceeds from such programs.
The Company had ten PROs as of December 31, 2020: Kevin Howard Real Estate Inc., d/b/a Northwest Self Storage and its controlled affiliates ("Northwest"), Optivest Properties LLC and its controlled affiliates ("Optivest"), Guardian Storage Centers LLC and its controlled affiliates ("Guardian"), Move It Self Storage and its controlled affiliates ("Move It"), Arizona Mini Storage Management Company d/b/a Storage Solutions and its controlled affiliates ("Storage Solutions"), Hide-Away Storage Services, Inc. and its controlled affiliates ("Hide-Away"), an affiliate of Shader Brothers Corporation d/b/a Personal Mini Storage ("Personal Mini"), Southern Storage Management Systems, Inc. d/b/a Southern Self Storage ("Southern"), affiliates of Investment Real Estate Management, LLC d/b/a Moove In Self Storage ("Moove In") and Blue Sky Self Storage, a strategic partnership between Argus Professional Storage Management and GYS Development LLC ("Blue Sky").
To capitalize on their recognized and established local brands, our PROs continue to function as property managers for their managed portfolios under their existing brands (which include various brands in addition to those discussed below). Over the long-run, we may seek to internalize our PROs and brand or co-brand each location as part of NSA.
•Northwest, which is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is our PRO responsible for covering the northwest region. Northwest provided property management services to 84 of our properties located in Idaho, Oregon and Washington as of December 31, 2020. Northwest is led by Kevin Howard, a former member of our board of trustees, who founded Northwest over 30 years ago and is recognized in the industry for his successful track record as a self storage specialist in the areas of design and development, operations and property management, consultation, and brokerage.
•Optivest, which is based in Dana Point, California, is one of our PROs responsible for covering portions of the northeast and southwest regions. Optivest managed 69 of our properties located in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Texas as of December 31, 2020. Optivest is run by its co-founder, Warren Allan, who has more than 25 years of financial and operational management experience in the self storage industry and is recognized as a self storage acquisition and development specialist.
•Guardian, which is based in Irvine, California, is one of our PROs responsible for covering portions of the southern California and southwest regions. Guardian managed 55 of our properties located in California, Arizona and Nevada as of December 31, 2020. Guardian is led by John Minar, who has nearly 40 years of self storage acquisition, rehabilitation, ownership, operations and development experience.
•Move It, which is based in Dallas, Texas, is one of our PROs responsible for covering portions of the Texas and southeast markets. Move It managed 45 of our properties located in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas as of December 31, 2020. Move It is led by its founder, Tracy Taylor, who has more than 40 years of experience in self storage development, acquisition and management, and is currently on the board of directors for the Large Owners Council of the Self Storage Association and is a former Chairman of the Self Storage Association.
•Storage Solutions, which is based in Chandler, Arizona, is our PRO responsible for covering portions of the Arizona and Nevada markets. Storage Solutions managed 10 of our properties in Arizona and Nevada as of December 31, 2020. Storage Solutions is led by its founder, Bill Bohannan, who is one of the largest operators in Phoenix and has more than 35 years of self storage acquisition, development and management experience. Mr. Bohannan is recognized in the industry as a self storage acquisition, development and management specialist.
•Hide-Away, which is based in Sarasota, Florida, is our PRO responsible for covering the western Florida market. Hide-Away managed 22 of our properties in western Florida as of December 31, 2020. Hide-Away is led by its founder, Steve Wilson, one of the early developers of the self storage business, who served for more than 35 years as the President of Hide-Away and its related entities, and is a former Chairman of the Self Storage Association.
•Personal Mini, which is based in Orlando, Florida, is our PRO responsible for covering portions of the central Florida market. Personal Mini managed eight of our properties in central Florida as of December 31, 2020. Personal Mini is led by Marc Smith, a self storage investor who has been involved in all facets of the self storage business. Mr. Smith is a past Chairman of the Self Storage Association, and also previously served as president of the Southeast Region of the Self Storage Association.
•Southern, which is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is one of our PROs responsible for covering portions of Arizona and the southeast region, including New Orleans, the Florida Panhandle, southern Georgia, and Puerto Rico. Southern managed 32 of our properties in Arizona, Louisiana, the Florida Panhandle, southern Georgia, and Puerto Rico as of December 31, 2020. Southern is led by Bob McIntosh and Peter Cowie, who are active real estate operators with more than 30 years of self storage experience.
•Moove In, which is based in York, Pennsylvania, is our PRO responsible for covering portions of the northeast region, including portions of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Moove In managed 16 of our properties in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey as of December 31, 2020. Moove In is led by John Gilliland, a past Chairman of the Self Storage Association.
•Blue Sky, which is a strategic partnership between Argus Professional Storage Management and GYS Development LLC and is based in the mountain west, is our PRO responsible for covering portions of Kansas, Georgia and Texas. Blue Sky managed four of our properties in Kansas and Texas as of December 31, 2020. Blue Sky is led by Lee Fredrick, Ben Vestal and Michael Perry, who have extensive experience in acquisition, development and management of self storage properties.
We benefit from the local market knowledge and active presence of our PROs, allowing us to build and foster important customer and industry relationships. These local relationships provide attractive off-market acquisition opportunities that we believe will continue to fuel additional external growth.
We believe our structure allows our PROs to optimize their established property management platforms while addressing financial and operational hurdles. Before joining us, our PROs faced challenges in securing low cost capital and had to manage multiple investors and lending relationships, making it difficult to compete with larger competitors, including public REITs, for acquisition and investment opportunities. Our PROs were also limited in their ability to raise growth capital through the sale of assets, a portfolio refinancing, or capital contributions from new equity partners. Serving as our on-the-ground acquisition teams, our PROs now have access to our broader financing sources and lower cost of capital, while our national platform allows them to benefit from economies of scale to drive operating efficiencies in a rapidly evolving, technology-driven industry.
Our Consolidated Properties
We seek to own properties that are well located in high quality sub-markets with highly accessible street access and attractive supply and demand characteristics, providing our properties with strong and stable cash flows that are less sensitive to the fluctuations of the general economy. Many of these markets have multiple barriers to entry against increased supply, including zoning restrictions against new construction and new construction costs that we believe are higher than our properties' fair market value. As of December 31, 2020, we owned a geographically diversified portfolio of 644 self storage properties, located in 33 states and Puerto Rico, comprising approximately 39.3 million rentable square feet, configured in approximately 309,000 storage units. Of these properties, 276 were acquired by us from our PROs, 367 were acquired by us from third-party sellers and one was acquired by us from the 2016 Joint Venture (as defined in Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8). A complete listing of, and additional information about, our self storage properties is included in Item 2 of this report.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, we acquired 77 consolidated self storage properties, of which 11 were acquired by us from our PROs and 66 were acquired by us from third-party sellers. The following is a summary of our 2020 consolidated acquisition activity (dollars in thousands):
(1) Self storage properties in other states acquired during the year ended December 31, 2020 include Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
During the year ended December 31, 2019, we acquired 69 consolidated self storage properties, of which 19 were acquired by us from our PROs, 49 were acquired by us from third-party sellers and one was acquired by us from the 2016 Joint Venture. The following is a summary of our 2019 consolidated acquisition activity (dollars in thousands):
(1) Self storage properties in other states acquired during the year ended December 31, 2019 include Maryland, New Hampshire and Oregon.
During the year ended December 31, 2019, we sold one self storage property to an unrelated third party for $6.5 million. The self storage property comprised less than 0.1 million rentable square feet configured in approximately 500 storage units.
Our Unconsolidated Real Estate Ventures
We seek to opportunistically partner with institutional funds and other institutional investors to acquire attractive portfolios utilizing a promoted return structure. We believe there is significant opportunity for continued external growth by partnering with institutional investors seeking to deploy capital in the self storage industry.
As of December 31, 2020, our 2018 Joint Venture (as defined in Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8), in which we have a 25% ownership interest, owned and operated 103 self storage properties containing approximately 7.8 million rentable square feet, configured in over 64,000 storage units and located across 17 states. During the year ended December 31, 2020, our 2018 Joint Venture acquired one self storage property containing less than 0.1 million rentable square feet, configured in approximately 600 storage units, which was combined and is being operated together with one of the 2018 Joint Venture's existing properties.
2016 Joint Venture
As of December 31, 2020, our 2016 Joint Venture (as defined in Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8), in which we have a 25% ownership interest, owned and operated a portfolio of 74 properties containing approximately 4.9 million rentable square feet, configured in approximately 40,000 storage units and located across 13 states. During the year ended December 31, 2020, our 2016 Joint Venture acquired two self storage properties containing less than 0.1 million rentable square feet, configured in approximately 500 storage units and located in one state.
Our Competitive Strengths
We believe our unique PRO structure combined with our property management platform allows us to differentiate ourselves from other self storage operators, and the following competitive strengths enable us to effectively compete against our industry peers:
High Quality Properties in Key Growth Markets. We held ownership interests in and operated a geographically diversified portfolio of 821 self storage properties, located in 36 states and Puerto Rico, comprising approximately 52.0 million rentable square feet, configured in approximately 413,000 storage units as of December 31, 2020. Over 75% of our consolidated portfolio is located in the top 100 MSAs, based on our 2020 net operating income ("NOI"). We believe that these properties are primarily located in high quality growth markets that have attractive supply and demand characteristics and are less sensitive to the fluctuations of the general economy. Many of these markets have multiple barriers to entry against increased supply, including zoning restrictions against new construction and new construction costs that we believe are higher than our properties' fair market value. Furthermore, we believe that our significant size and the overall geographic diversification of our portfolio reduces risks associated with specific local or regional economic downturns or natural disasters.
Differentiated, Growth-Oriented Strategy Focused on Established Operators. We are a self storage REIT with a unique structure that supports our differentiated external growth strategy. Our PRO structure appeals to operators who are looking for access to growth capital while maintaining an economic stake in the self storage properties that each manages on the Company's behalf. These attributes entice operators to join the Company rather than sell their properties for cash consideration. Through our PRO structure, we seek to attract operators who are confident in the future performance of their properties and desire to participate in the growth of the Company. We have successfully recruited established operators across the United States with a history of efficient property management and a track record of successful acquisitions. Our structure and differentiated strategy have enabled us to build a substantial captive pipeline from existing operators as well as potentially create external growth from the recruitment of additional PROs.
Integrated Platform Utilizing Advanced Technology for Enhanced Operational Performance and Best Practices. Our national platform allows us to capture cost savings through integration and centralization, thereby eliminating redundancies and utilizing economies of scale across the property management platforms of us and our PROs. As compared to a stand-alone operator, our national platform has greater access to lower-cost capital, reduced Internet marketing costs per customer lead, discounted property insurance expense, and reduced overhead costs. In addition, the Company has sufficient scale for various centralized functions, including financial reporting, the operation of call centers, expanding cell tower leasing, a national credit card processing program, marketing, information technology, legal support, and capital market functions, to achieve substantial cost savings over smaller, individual operators.
Our national platform utilizes advanced technology for our data warehouse program, Internet marketing, our centralized call centers, financial and property analytic dashboards, revenue optimization analytics and expense management tools to enhance operational performance. These centralized programs, which are run through our Technology and Best Practices Group, are positively impacting our business performance, and we believe that they
will continue to be a driver of organic growth going forward. We will continue to utilize our Technology and Best Practices Group to help us benefit from the collective sharing of key operating strategies among our PROs in areas like human resource management, local marketing and operating procedures and building tenant insurance-related arrangements.
Aligned Incentive Structure with Shareholder Downside Protection. Our structure promotes operator accountability as subordinated performance units issued to our PROs in exchange for the contribution of their properties are entitled to distributions only after those properties satisfy minimum performance thresholds. In the event of a material reduction in operating cash flow, distributions on our subordinated performance units will be reduced before or disproportionately to distributions on our common shares held by our common shareholders. In addition, we expect our PROs will generally co-invest subordinated equity in the form of subordinated performance units in each acquisition that they source from a third-party seller, and the value of these subordinated performance units will fluctuate with the performance of their managed portfolios. Therefore, our PROs are incentivized to select acquisitions that are expected to exceed minimum performance thresholds, thereby increasing the value of their subordinated equity stake. We expect that our shareholders will benefit from the higher levels of property performance that our PROs are incentivized to deliver.
Our Business and Growth Strategies
By capitalizing on our competitive strengths, we seek to increase scale, achieve optimal revenue-producing occupancy and rent levels, and increase long-term shareholder value by achieving sustainable long-term growth. Our business and growth strategies to achieve these objectives are as follows:
Maximize Property Level Cash Flow. We strive to maximize the cash flows at our properties by leveraging the economies of scale provided by our national platform, including through the implementation of new ideas derived from our Technology and Best Practices Group. We believe that our unique PRO structure, centralized infrastructure and efficient national platform will enable us to achieve optimal market rents and occupancy, reduce operating expenses and increase the sale by our PROs of ancillary products and services, including tenant insurance, of which we receive a portion of the proceeds, truck rentals and packing supplies.
Acquire Built-in Captive Pipeline of Target Properties from Existing PROs. We have an attractive, high quality potential acquisition pipeline (our "captive pipeline") of over 170 self storage properties valued at approximately $1.8 billion that will continue to drive our future growth. We consider a property to be in our captive pipeline if it (i) is under a management service agreement with one of our PROs, (ii) meets our property quality criteria, and (iii) is either required to be offered to us under the applicable facilities portfolio management agreement or a PRO has a reasonable basis to believe that the controlling owner of the property intends to sell the property in the next seven years.
Our PROs have management service agreements with all of the properties in our captive pipeline and hold controlling and non-controlling ownership interests in some of these properties. With respect to each property in our captive pipeline in which a PRO holds a controlling ownership interest, such PRO has agreed that it will not transfer (or permit the transfer of, to the extent possible) any interest in such self storage property without first offering or causing to be offered (if permissible) such interest to us. In addition, upon maturity of the outstanding mortgage indebtedness encumbering such property, so long as occupancy is consistent with or exceeds average local market levels, which we determine in our sole discretion, such PRO has agreed to offer or cause to be offered (if permissible) such interest to us. With respect to captive pipeline properties in which our PROs have a non-controlling ownership interest or no ownership interest, each PRO has agreed to use commercially reasonable good faith efforts to facilitate our purchase of such property. We preserve the discretion to accept or reject any of the properties that our PROs are required to, or elect to, offer (or cause to be offered) to us.
Access Additional Off-Market Acquisition Opportunities. Our PROs and their "on-the-ground" personnel have established an extensive network of industry relationships and contacts in their respective markets. Through these local connections, our PROs are able to access acquisition opportunities that are not publicly marketed or sold through auctions. Our structure incentivizes our PROs to source acquisitions in their markets from third-party sellers and consolidate these properties into the Company. Other public self storage companies generally have acquisition teams located at their central offices, which in many instances are far removed from regional and local markets. We believe our operators' networks and close familiarity with the other operators in their markets provide us clear competitive advantages in identifying and selecting attractive acquisition opportunities.
Recruit Additional New PROs in Target Markets. We intend to continue to execute on our external growth strategy through additional acquisitions and contributions from future PROs in key markets. We believe there is significant opportunity for growth through consolidation of the highly fragmented composition of the market. We believe that future operators will be attracted to our unique structure, providing them with lower cost of capital, better economies of scale, and greater operational and overhead efficiencies while preserving their existing property management platforms. We intend to add one to three additional PROs to complement our existing geographic footprint and to achieve our goal of creating a highly diversified nationwide portfolio of properties focused in the top 100 MSAs. When considering a PRO candidate, we consider various factors, including the size of the potential PRO's portfolio, the quality and location of its properties, its market exposure, its operating expertise, its ability to grow its business, and its reputation with industry participants.
Strategic Joint Venture Arrangements. We intend to continue to opportunistically partner with institutional funds and other institutional investors to acquire attractive portfolios utilizing a promoted return structure. We believe there is significant opportunity for continued external growth by partnering with institutional investors seeking to deploy capital in the self storage industry. We intend to leverage our property management platform to provide property and asset management services for future strategic joint ventures, generating additional operating profits and third party fee income. In addition, we consider the 75% third-party interest in our unconsolidated real estate ventures, which currently own 177 properties, to present a potential acquisition opportunity. This 75% third-party share of gross real estate assets is approximately $1.5 billion based on the historical book value of the joint ventures. Were we to pursue an acquisition of these interests, it could potentially drive our future growth.
Our Financing Strategy
We expect to maintain a flexible approach in financing new property acquisitions. In general, we expect to fund our property acquisitions through a combination of borrowings under bank credit facilities (including term loans and revolving facilities), property-level debt, issuances of OP equity and public and private equity and debt issuances.
As of December 31, 2020, our unsecured credit facility provided for total borrowings of $1.275 billion (the "credit facility"). The credit facility consists of the following components: (i) a revolving line of credit (the "Revolver") which provides for a total borrowing commitment up to $500.0 million, under which we may borrow, repay and re-borrow amounts, (ii) a $125.0 million tranche A term loan facility (the "Term Loan A"), (iii) a $250.0 million tranche B term loan facility (the "Term Loan B"), (iv) a $225.0 million tranche C term loan facility (the "Term Loan C"), and (v) a $175.0 million tranche D term loan facility (the "Term Loan D"). As of December 31, 2020, we had the entire amounts drawn on Term Loan A, Term Loan B, Term Loan C and Term Loan D and we had $174.0 million of outstanding borrowings under the Revolver, and the capacity to borrow an additional $320.3 million under the Revolver while remaining in compliance with the credit facility's financial covenants. As of December 31, 2020, we have an expansion option under the credit facility, which, if exercised in full, would provide for a total credit facility of $1.750 billion.
We have a credit agreement with a syndicated group of lenders for a term loan facility that matures in June 2023 (the "2023 Term Loan Facility") and is separate from the credit facility in an aggregate amount of $175.0 million. As of December 31, 2020 the entire amount was outstanding under the 2023 Term Loan Facility with an effective interest rate of 2.83%. We have an expansion option under the 2023 Term Loan Facility, which, if exercised in full, would provide for total borrowings in an aggregate amount of $400.0 million.
We have a credit agreement with a lender for a term loan facility that matures in December 2028 (the "2028 Term Loan Facility") and is separate from the credit facility and 2023 Term Loan Facility in an aggregate amount of $75.0 million. As of December 31, 2020 the entire amount was outstanding under the 2028 Term Loan Facility with an effective interest rate of 4.62%. We have an expansion option under the 2028 Term Loan Facility, which, if exercised in full, would provide for total borrowings in an aggregate amount up to $125.0 million.
We have a credit agreement with a lender for a term loan facility that matures in April 2029 (the "2029 Term Loan Facility") and is separate from the credit facility, 2023 Term Loan Facility and 2028 Term Loan Facility in an aggregate amount of $100.0 million. As of December 31, 2020 the entire amount was outstanding under the 2029 Term Loan Facility with an effective interest rate of 4.27%.
The credit facility, 2023 Term Loan Facility, 2028 Term Loan Facility, and 2029 Term Loan Facility each contain the same financial covenants and customary affirmative and negative covenants that, among other things, could limit the Company's ability to make distributions or certain investments, incur debt, incur liens and enter into certain transactions.
On August 30, 2019, our operating partnership issued $100.0 million of 3.98% senior unsecured notes due August 30, 2029 (the "2029 Notes") and $50.0 million of 4.08% senior unsecured notes due August 30, 2031 (the "2031 Notes") in a private placement to certain institutional investors.
On October 22, 2020, our operating partnership issued $150.0 million of 2.99% senior unsecured notes due August 5, 2030 (the "2030 Notes") and $100.0 million of 3.09% senior unsecured notes due August 5, 2032 (the "2032 Notes" and together with the 2029 Notes, 2030 Notes and 2031 Notes, the "Senior Unsecured Notes") in a private placement to certain institutional investors.
The Senior Unsecured Notes are subject to customary affirmative and negative covenants that, among other things, limit the Company's ability to make distributions or certain investments, incur debt, incur liens and enter into certain transactions.
We expect to employ leverage in our capital structure in amounts determined from time to time by our board of trustees. Although our board of trustees has not adopted a policy which limits the total amount of indebtedness that we may incur, it will consider a number of factors in evaluating our level of indebtedness from time to time, as well as the amount of such indebtedness that will be either fixed and variable-rate, and in making financial decisions, including, among others, the following:
•the interest rate of the proposed financing;
•the extent to which the financing impacts our flexibility in managing our properties;
•prepayment penalties and restrictions on refinancing;
•the purchase price of properties we acquire with debt financing;
•our long-term objectives with respect to the financing;
•our target investment returns;
•the ability of particular properties, and the Company as a whole, to generate cash flow sufficient to cover expected debt service payments;
•overall level of consolidated indebtedness;
•timing of debt maturities;
•provisions that require recourse and cross-collateralization;
•corporate credit ratios including debt service coverage, debt to total market capitalization and debt to undepreciated assets; and
•the overall ratio of fixed- and variable-rate debt.
Our indebtedness may be recourse, non-recourse or cross-collateralized. If the indebtedness is non-recourse, the collateral will be limited to the particular properties to which the indebtedness relates. In addition, we may invest in properties subject to existing loans secured by mortgages or similar liens on our properties, or may refinance properties acquired on a leveraged basis. We may use the proceeds from any borrowings to refinance existing indebtedness, to refinance investments, including the redevelopment of existing properties, for general working capital or for other purposes when we believe it is advisable.
Dividend Reinvestment Plan
In the future, we may adopt a dividend reinvestment plan that will permit shareholders who elect to participate in the plan to have their cash dividends reinvested in additional common shares.
Generally, self storage properties are subject to various laws, ordinances and regulations, including those relating to lien sale rights and procedures, public accommodations, insurance, and the environment. Changes in any of these laws, ordinances or regulations could increase the potential liability existing or created by tenants or others on our properties. Laws, ordinances, or regulations affecting development, construction, operation, upkeep, safety
and taxation requirements may result in significant unanticipated expenditures, loss of self storage sites or other impairments to operations, which would adversely affect our cash flows from operating activities.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the "ADA"), all places of public accommodation are required to meet certain federal requirements related to access and use by disabled persons. A number of additional U.S. federal, state and local laws may also require modifications to our properties, or restrict certain further renovations of the properties, with respect to access thereto by disabled persons. The ADA or these other laws may also apply to our website. For additional information on the ADA, see "Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Costs associated with complying with the ADA may result in unanticipated expenses."
Insurance activities are subject to state insurance laws and regulations as determined by the particular insurance commissioner for each state in accordance with the McCarran-Ferguson Act, as well as subject to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the privacy regulations promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission pursuant thereto.
Under various U.S. federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations, owners and operators of real estate may be liable for the costs of investigating and remediating certain hazardous substances or other regulated materials on or in such property. The Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended ("CERCLA") and comparable state laws typically impose strict joint and several liabilities without regard to whether the owner or operator knew of, or was responsible for, the presence of such substances or materials. The presence of such substances or materials, or the failure to properly remediate such substances, may adversely affect the owner's or operator's ability to lease, sell or rent such property or to borrow using such property as collateral. Persons who arrange for the disposal or treatment of hazardous substances or other regulated materials may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of such substances at a disposal or treatment facility, whether or not such facility is owned or operated by such person. Certain environmental laws impose liability for release of asbestos-containing materials into the air and third-parties may seek recovery from owners or operators of real properties for personal injury associated with asbestos-containing materials. Certain environmental laws also impose liability, without regard to knowledge or fault, for removal or remediation of hazardous substances or other regulated materials upon owners and operators of contaminated property. Moreover, the past or present owner or operator of a property from which a release emanates could be liable for any personal injuries or property damages that may result from such releases, as well as any damages to natural resources that may arise from such releases. Certain environmental laws impose compliance obligations on owners and operators of real property with respect to the management of hazardous materials and other regulated substances. For example, environmental laws govern the management of asbestos-containing materials and lead-based paint. Failure to comply with these laws can result in penalties or other sanctions. In connection with the ownership, operation and management of our current or past properties and any properties that we may acquire and/or manage in the future, we could be legally responsible for environmental liabilities or costs relating to a release of hazardous substances or other regulated materials at or emanating from such property. In order to assess the potential for such liability, we conduct an environmental assessment of each property prior to acquisition and manage our properties in accordance with environmental laws while we own or operate them. We have engaged qualified, reputable and adequately insured environmental consulting firms to perform environmental site assessments of all of our properties prior to acquisition and are not aware of any environmental issues that are expected to materially impact the operations of any property. For additional information on environmental matters and regulation, see "Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Environmental compliance costs and liabilities associated with operating our properties may affect our results of operations."
Property management activities are often subject to state real estate brokerage laws and regulations as determined by the particular real estate commission for each state.
We have elected and we believe that we have qualified to be taxed as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, (the "Code"), commencing with our taxable year ended on December 31, 2015. We generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our net taxable income to the extent that we distribute annually all of our net taxable income to our shareholders and maintain our qualification as a REIT. We believe that we have been organized and have operated in conformity with the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT under the Code, and we expect that our intended manner of operation will enable us to continue to meet the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT. To qualify, and maintain our qualification, as a REIT, we must meet on a continuing basis, through our organization and actual investment and operating results, various requirements under the Code relating to, among other things, the sources of our gross income, the composition and
values of our assets, our distribution levels and the diversity of ownership of our shares. If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year and do not qualify for certain statutory relief provisions, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at regular corporate rates and may be precluded from qualifying as a REIT for the subsequent four taxable years following the year during which we failed to qualify as a REIT. Even if we qualify for taxation as a REIT, we still may be subject to some U.S. federal, state and local taxes on our income or assets. In addition, subject to maintaining our qualification as a REIT, a portion of our business is conducted through, and a portion of our income is earned by, one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries ("TRSs"), which are subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax at regular rates. Distributions paid by us generally will not be eligible for taxation at the preferential U.S. federal income tax rates that currently apply to certain distributions received by individuals from taxable corporations, unless such distributions are attributable to dividends received by us from a TRS.
U.S. Federal Income Tax Legislation
On December 22, 2017, Congress enacted H.R. 1, also known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ("TCJA"). The TCJA made major changes to the Internal Revenue Code, including the reduction of the tax rates applicable to individuals and subchapter C corporations, a reduction or elimination of certain deductions (including new limitations on the deductibility of interest expense), permitting immediate expensing of capital expenditures and significant changes in the taxation of earnings from non-U.S. sources. The effect of the significant changes made by the TCJA remains uncertain, and additional administrative guidance is still required in order to fully evaluate the effect of many provisions. In addition, final regulations implementing certain of these new rules have not yet been issued and additional changes or corrections may still be forthcoming. While we do not currently expect this reform to have a significant impact to the Company's consolidated financial statements, stockholders are urged to consult with their tax advisors regarding the effects of the TCJA or other legislative, regulatory or administrative developments on an investment in the Company's common stock.
We compete with many other entities engaged in real estate investment activities for customers and acquisitions of self storage properties and other assets, including national, regional, and local owners, operators, and developers of self storage properties. We compete based on a number of factors including location, rental rates, security, suitability of the property's design to prospective tenants' needs, and the manner in which the property is operated and marketed. We believe that the primary competition for potential customers comes from other self storage properties within a three to five mile radius. We have positioned our properties within their respective markets as high-quality operations that emphasize tenant convenience, security, and professionalism.
We also may compete with numerous other potential buyers when pursuing a possible property for acquisition, which can increase the potential cost of a project. These competing bidders also may possess greater resources, or have a lower cost of capital, than us and therefore be in a better position to acquire a property. However, our use of OP units and subordinated performance units as transactional currency allows us to structure our acquisitions in tax-deferred transactions. As a result, potential targets who are tax-sensitive might favor us as a suitor.
Our primary national competitors in many of our markets for both tenants and acquisition opportunities include local and regional operators, institutional investors, private equity funds, as well as the other public self storage REITs, including Public Storage, CubeSmart, Extra Space Storage Inc. and Life Storage, Inc. These entities also seek financing through similar channels to the Company. Therefore, we will continue to compete for institutional investors in a market where funds for real estate investment may decrease.
We seek to foster a diverse and inclusive work environment that values each individual team member’s talents and contributions, while channeling those efforts toward our common core values of integrity, accountability, humility and compassion. Our success relies on the the general professionalism of our and our PRO's site managers and staff which are contributing factors to a site's ability to successfully secure rentals, retain tenants and maintain clean and secure self storage properties. We seek to increase employee retention and well-being and our team members enjoy a robust benefit package that includes medical, dental, vision, life insurance, 401K with matching employer contribution and a performance-based bonus incentive plan. We also seek to promote diversity among our employees and management team. As of December 31, 2020, approximately 58% of our employees were women and 33% of our senior management team (Director level and above) were women, including Tamara Fischer, our President, Chief Executive Officer and member of our Board of Trustees.
As of December 31, 2020, we had 924 employees, which includes employees of our property management platform but does not include persons employed by our PROs. As of December 31, 2020, our PROs, collectively, had approximately 760 full-time and part-time employees involved in management, operations, and reporting with respect to our self storage property portfolio.
We file registration statements, proxy statements, our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those statements and reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Investors may obtain copies of these statements and reports by accessing the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. Our statements and reports and any amendments to any of those statements and reports that we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission are available free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable on our website at www.nationalstorageaffiliates.com. The information contained on our website is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "NSA."
Item 1A. Risk Factors
An investment in our common shares involves a high degree of risk. Before making an investment decision, you should carefully consider the following risk factors, together with the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. If any of the risks discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K occurs, our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
Risks Related to our Business
Adverse economic or other conditions in the markets in which we do business and more broadly associated with the real estate industry could negatively affect our occupancy levels and rental rates and therefore our operating results and the value of our self storage properties.
Our operating results are dependent upon our ability to achieve optimal occupancy levels and rental rates at our self storage properties. Adverse economic or other conditions in the markets in which we do business, particularly in our markets in California, Texas, Florida, Oregon, Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina, which accounted for approximately 20%, 13%, 11%, 10%, 6%, 6% and 5%, respectively, of our total rental and other property-related revenues for the year ended December 31, 2020, may lower our occupancy levels and limit our ability to maintain or increase rents or require us to offer rental discounts. No single customer represented a significant concentration of our 2020 revenues. However, our property portfolio, consists solely of self storage properties and is therefore subject to risks inherent in investments in a single industry. The following adverse developments, among others, in the markets in which we do business may adversely affect the operating performance of our properties:
•business layoffs or downsizing, industry slowdowns, relocation of businesses and changing demographics;
•periods of economic slowdown or recession, declining demand for self storage generally or in a particular area or the public perception that any of these events may occur;
•local or regional real estate market conditions, such as competing properties or products, the oversupply of self storage, or vacancies or changes in self storage space market rents;
•perceptions by prospective tenants of the safety, convenience and attractiveness of our properties and the neighborhoods in which they are located; and
•other events affecting or shifting consumer discretionary spending.
Any of the above events may reduce our rental revenues, impair our operating results, and reduce our ability to satisfy our debt service obligations and make cash distributions to our shareholders, and the effect of the foregoing may be greater than it would be were our investments not limited to a single industry.
We may not be successful in identifying and consummating suitable acquisitions, adding additional suitable new PROs, or integrating and operating such acquisitions, including integrating them into our financial and operational reporting infrastructure and internal control framework in a timely manner, which may impede our growth.
Our ability to expand through acquisitions is integral to our business strategy and requires us to identify suitable acquisition candidates or investment opportunities that meet our criteria and are compatible with our growth strategy. We may not be successful in identifying suitable properties or other assets that meet our acquisition criteria or in consummating acquisitions on satisfactory terms or at all. Failure to identify or consummate acquisitions will slow our growth, which could in turn adversely affect our share price.
For the potential acquisitions in our captive pipeline, we have not entered into negotiations with the respective owners of these properties and there can be no assurance as to whether we will acquire any of these properties or the actual timing of any such acquisitions. Each captive pipeline property is subject to additional due diligence and the determination by us to pursue the acquisition of the property. In addition, with respect to the captive pipeline properties in which our PROs have a non-controlling ownership interest or no ownership interest, the current owner of each property is not required to offer such property to us and there can be no assurance that we will acquire these properties.
Our ability to acquire properties on favorable terms and successfully integrate and operate them, including integrating them into our financial and operational reporting infrastructure in a timely manner, may be constrained by the following significant risks:
•we face competition from national, regional and local owners, operators and developers of self storage properties, which may result in higher property acquisition prices and reduced yields;
•we may not be able to achieve satisfactory completion of due diligence investigations and other customary closing conditions;
•we may fail to finance an acquisition on favorable terms or at all;
•we may spend more time and incur more costs than budgeted to make necessary improvements or renovations to, and to integrate and operate, acquired properties; and
•we may acquire properties subject to liabilities without any recourse, or with only limited recourse, with respect to unknown liabilities such as liabilities for clean-up of undisclosed environmental contamination, tax liabilities, claims by persons dealing with the former owners of the properties and claims for indemnification by general partners, trustees, officers and others indemnified by the former owners of the properties.
The contributors of properties may make limited representations and warranties to us about the properties and may agree to indemnify us up to a specified amount for a certain period of time following the closing for breaches of those representations and warranties. However, any resulting liabilities identified may not fall within the scope or time frame covered by the indemnification, and we may be required to bear those liabilities, which may materially and adversely affect our operating results, financial condition and business.
We face competition for tenants.
We compete with many other entities engaged in real estate investment activities for tenants, including national, regional and local owners, operators and developers of self storage properties. Actions by our competitors may decrease or prevent increases in the occupancy and rental rates, while increasing the operating expenses of our properties.
Increases in taxes and regulatory compliance costs, including as a result of changes in law or property reassessments, may reduce our income and adversely impact our cash flows.
Increases in income or other taxes generally are not passed through to tenants under leases and may reduce our net income, funds from operations ("FFO"), cash flows, financial condition, ability to pay or refinance our debt obligations, ability to make cash distributions to shareholders, and the trading price of our securities.
In addition, the value of our properties may be reassessed for property tax purposes by taxing authorities including as a result of our acquisition activities. For example, our property taxes could increase due to changes in tax rates or removal of limitations on the amount by which our property taxes or property reassessments may
increase. For example, in November 2020, there was an initiative in California, which did not pass, to remove certain limits on annual real estate tax increases of assessed value of real property. To the extent a similar future initiative is successful, it would increase the assessed value and/or tax rates applicable to self storage properties in California. We currently have 83 consolidated properties and 12 unconsolidated properties in California. Accordingly, the amount of property taxes we pay in the future may increase substantially from what we have paid in the past or from what we expected in connection with our underwriting activities, which could adversely impact our operating results, cash flow, and our ability to pay any expected dividends to our shareholders.
Similarly, in response to facing severe budgetary problems, many states and jurisdictions are considering or implementing changes in laws such as increasing sales taxes, increasing the potential liability for environmental conditions existing on properties, increasing the restrictions on discharges or other conditions, or mandating paid family leave for employees, which may result in significant unanticipated expenditures, which could result in similar adverse effects.
Our storage leases are relatively short-term in nature, which exposes us to the risk that we may have to release our units and we may be unable to do so on attractive terms, on a timely basis or at all.
Our storage leases are relatively short-term in nature, typically month-to-month, which exposes us to the risk that we may have to re-lease our units frequently and we may be unable to do so on attractive terms, on a timely basis or at all. Because these leases generally permit the tenant to leave at the end of the month without penalty, our revenues and operating results may be impacted by declines in market rental rates more quickly than if our leases were for longer terms. In addition, any delay in re-leasing units as vacancies arise would reduce our revenues and harm our operating results.
Security breaches through cyber-attacks, cyber-intrusions, or other methods could disrupt our information technology networks and related systems.
We and our PROs are increasingly dependent upon automated information technology processes and Internet commerce, and many of our and their tenants come from the telephone or over the Internet. Moreover, the nature of our and our PROs' business involves the receipt and retention of certain personal information about such tenants. In many cases, we and our PROs also rely significantly on third-party vendors to retain data, process transactions and provide other systems services. Our networks and operations could be disrupted, and sensitive data could be compromised, by physical or electronic security breaches, targeted against us, our PROs, our vendors or other organizations, including financial markets or institutions, including by w