|Description of Business and Significant Accounting Policies
Description of Business
Highwoods Properties, Inc. (the “Company”) is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (“REIT”) that provides leasing, management, development, construction and other customer-related services for its properties and for third parties. The Company conducts its activities through Highwoods Realty Limited Partnership (the “Operating Partnership”). At March 31, 2021, we owned or had an interest in 27.4 million rentable square feet of in-service properties, 0.8 million rentable square feet of office properties under development and approximately 230 acres of development land.
The Company is the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership. At March 31, 2021, the Company owned all of the Preferred Units and 103.6 million, or 97.3%, of the Common Units in the Operating Partnership. Limited partners owned the remaining 2.8 million Common Units.
Basis of Presentation
Our Consolidated Financial Statements are prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”).
The Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements include the Operating Partnership, wholly owned subsidiaries and those entities in which the Company has the controlling interest. The Operating Partnership’s Consolidated Financial Statements include wholly owned subsidiaries and those entities in which the Operating Partnership has the controlling interest. We consolidate joint venture investments, such as interests in partnerships and limited liability companies, when we control the major operating and financial policies of the investment through majority ownership, in our capacity as a general partner or managing member or through some other contractual right. We also consolidate those entities deemed to be variable interest entities in which we are determined to be the primary beneficiary. At March 31, 2021, we have involvement with, and are the primary beneficiary in, an entity that we concluded to be a variable interest entity (see Note 3). All intercompany transactions and accounts have been eliminated.
The unaudited interim consolidated financial statements and accompanying unaudited consolidated financial information, in the opinion of management, contain all adjustments (including normal recurring accruals) necessary for a fair presentation of our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. We have condensed or omitted certain notes and other information from the interim Consolidated Financial Statements presented in this Quarterly Report as permitted by SEC rules and regulations. These Consolidated Financial Statements should be read in conjunction with our 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in our Consolidated Financial Statements and accompanying notes. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
We are primarily self-insured for health care claims for participating employees. We have stop-loss coverage to limit our exposure to significant claims on a per claim and annual aggregate basis. We determine our liabilities for claims, including incurred but not reported losses, based on all relevant information, including actuarial estimates of claim liabilities. At March 31, 2021, a reserve of $0.4 million was recorded to cover estimated reported and unreported claims.
Recently Issued Accounting Standards
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued an accounting standards update (“ASU”) that provides temporary optional expedients and exceptions to the guidance on contract modifications and hedge accounting to ease the financial reporting burdens related to the expected market transition from LIBOR and other interbank offered rates to alternative reference rates, such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”). Entities can elect not to apply certain modification accounting requirements to contracts affected by reference rate reform, if certain criteria are met. An entity that makes this election would not have to remeasure the contracts at the modification date or reassess a previous accounting determination. Entities can also elect various optional expedients that would allow them to continue applying hedge accounting for hedging relationships affected by reference rate reform, if certain criteria are met. The guidance in this ASU is optional and may be elected now through December 31, 2022 as reference rate reform activities occur. We will continue to evaluate the impact of this ASU; however, we currently expect to avail ourselves of such optional expedients and exceptions should our modified contracts meet the required criteria.
Due to the business disruptions and challenges severely affecting the global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, lessors may provide rent deferrals and other lease concessions to lessees. In April 2020, the FASB staff issued a question and answer document (the “Lease Modification Q&A”) focused on the application of lease accounting guidance to lease concessions provided as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under existing lease guidance, we would have to determine, on a lease by lease basis, if a lease concession was the result of a new arrangement reached with the tenant (treated within the lease modification accounting framework) or if a lease concession was under the enforceable rights and obligations within the existing lease agreement (precluded from applying the lease modification accounting framework). The Lease Modification Q&A allows us, if certain criteria have been met, to bypass the lease by lease analysis, and instead elect to either apply the lease modification accounting framework or not, with such election applied consistently to leases with similar characteristics and similar circumstances. We have elected the practical expedient and will not apply lease modification accounting on a lease by lease basis where applicable. As a result, $2.5 million of deferred rent is included in accounts receivable on our Consolidated Balance Sheets at March 31, 2021.