The outbreak of influenza or other widespread contagious disease could reduce travel and adversely affect hotel demand, which would have a material and adverse effect on us.
A widespread outbreak of an infectious or contagious disease in the U.S. could reduce travel and hotel demand within the lodging industry. If demand at our hotel properties decreases significantly or for a prolonged period of time as a result of an outbreak of an infectious or contagious disease, our revenue would be adversely affected, which could have a material and adverse effect on us.
We face possible risks associated with natural disasters, weather events, and the physical effects of climate change.
We are subject to the risks associated with natural disasters, weather events, and the physical effects of climate change, which can include more frequent or severe storms, droughts, hurricanes and flooding, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our properties, operations and business. To the extent climate change causes changes in weather patterns, our coastal markets could experience an increase in storm intensity and rising sea-levels, which could cause damage to our hotel properties. As a result, we could become subject to significant losses and/or repair costs that may or may not be fully covered by insurance. Other markets may experience prolonged variations in temperature or precipitation that may limit access to the water needed to operate our hotel properties or significantly increase energy costs, which may subject those properties to additional regulatory burdens, such as limitations on water usage or stricter energy efficiency standards. Weather events and climate change may also affect our business by increasing the cost of (or making unavailable) property insurance on terms we find acceptable in areas most vulnerable to such events, increasing operating costs at our hotel properties, such as the cost of water or energy, and requiring us to expend funds as we seek to repair and protect our hotel properties against such risks. There can be no assurance that natural disasters, weather events, and climate change will not have a material adverse effect on our hotel properties, operations or business.
Risks Related to Our Organization and Structure
The share ownership limits imposed by the Code for REITs and our declaration of trust may restrict share transfers and/or business combination opportunities, particularly if our management and board of trustees do not favor a combination proposal.
In order for us to maintain our qualification as a REIT under the Code, not more than 50% in value of our outstanding shares may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Code to include certain entities) at any time during the last half of each taxable year following our first year of taxation as a REIT. Our declaration of trust, with certain exceptions, authorizes our board of trustees to take the necessary actions to preserve our qualification as a REIT. Unless exempted by our board of trustees, no person or entity (other than a person or entity who has been granted an exception) may directly or indirectly, beneficially or constructively, own more than 9.8% of the aggregate of our outstanding common shares, by value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, or 9.8% of the aggregate of the outstanding preferred shares of any class or series, by value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive.
Our board may, in its sole discretion, grant an exemption to the share ownership limits, subject to certain conditions and the receipt by our board of certain representations and undertakings. Our board of trustees has previously granted exemptions from our ownership limits to certain shareholders. During the time that such waiver is effective, the excepted holders will be subject to an increased ownership limit. As a condition to granting such excepted holder limit, the excepted holders were required to make representations and warranties to us, which are intended to ensure that we will continue to meet the REIT ownership requirements. The excepted holders must inform us if any of these representations becomes untrue or is violated, in which case such excepted holder will lose its exemption from the ownership limit.
Our authorized but unissued common shares and preferred shares may prevent a change in our control that might involve a premium price for our common shares or otherwise be in the best interests of our shareholders.
Our declaration of trust authorizes us to issue additional authorized but unissued common or preferred shares. In addition, our board of trustees may, without shareholder approval, amend our declaration of trust to increase the aggregate number of our common shares or the number of shares of any class or series of preferred shares that we have the authority to issue, classify or reclassify any unissued common shares or preferred shares, and to set the preferences, rights and other terms of the classified or reclassified shares. As a result, our board of trustees may establish a series of common shares or preferred shares that could delay or prevent a transaction or a change in our control that might involve a premium price for our common shares or otherwise be in the best interests of our shareholders.