A war of words between Home REIT and short seller Viceroy Research has erupted further today as the social housing investor looks to shake off accusations that its charity tenants are unable to meet their rent.
Viceroy, which was one of the first firms to raise the alarm on now-collapsed Germany payments firm Wirecard, last week slammed FTSE 250 investor Home REIT’s with accusations that its tenants cannot afford rent, are not paying or are run by bad actors.
In a statement this morning, Home REIT hit back at the allegations and said that Viceroy’s claims were “baseless and misleading” and told the firm to “discontinue their campaign in the media”.
Addressing accusations that its tenants are not paying up, Home REIT chiefs said that its rent is “ultimately supported by central government funding” and “local authorities’ statutory duty to house homeless people”.
“Home REIT is completely confident in the integrity of the business it is operating, its financial soundness and the beneficial impact the Company is having in reducing homelessness in the UK,” the firm said.
Statements published by the firm, which leases properties to charities providing social housing, claimed it had received £36m of £36.6m rent owed across its portfolio.
However, Viceroy has hit back at the defence this afternoon and said suggestions that its rent is backed by government funding are unfounded.
“The illusion that Home REIT’s rent is somehow government backed is completely falsified by the
bankruptcy administration of one of its major clients: Circle Housing & Support,” Viceroy said.
Circle Housing and Support entered into administration in July this year, the firm states on its website.
Viceroy partner Fraser Perring said on Twitter that he had submitted more complaints to the Met Police and was poised to file complaints to the Financial Conduct Authority.
He claimed that Viceroy was rejected access to a webcast call for investors today.
Shares in the firm have tanked around 30 per cent since the report was published last week and sank a further 10 per cent today.
Home REIT delayed the publication of its accounts on Monday to address the allegations from Viceroy.