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Navigating the Pre-Notice to Vacate & Turnkey Processes with a GPO

Though the multifamily housing industry has seen a decline in resident turnover, turns are still inevitable. The process is being restructured as your industry continues to evolve. As multifamily housing communities are impacted by market volatility and other national trends, a group purchasing organization (GPO) takes care of monitoring the market and works to mitigate risks for your property portfolio. Multifamily housing owners and operators can tap into the subject matter expertise of the GPO and its industry-leading supplier solutions to help streamline procurement processes while navigating the pre-notice to vacate and turnkey procedures.  In our renewal strategies series, we've examined forecasting for upcoming turns, sourcing supplies, and how a GPO can help facilitate. Now we're taking a closer look at the turnkey process with routes to success when faced with different situations.  

In part 2 of the renewal series, let's explore steps that can help you navigate current turnkey procedures and provide support and solutions for pandemic-imposed challenges.  

Notice to Vacate Walks  

Upon receiving a resident’s notice to vacate (NTV), an industry best practice is to notify the resident of entry for their pre-notice to vacate inspection, explaining it’s just to set expectations. These inspections are typically done anywhere from 14 to 45 days prior to move-out. Under post-pandemic conditions, access has become more restricted, so how should you proceed with scheduling upcoming turns? 

The pandemic has made access more difficult, but there are innovative options if you're unable to walk the unit for condition and scheduling. By looking at work order history, length of residency, and asking residents if they have any questions for their move-out inspection, you may be able to field some solid scheduling needs. Urgency in scheduling a contractor for needed turnkey activities with a potential backup plan is key to navigating the current landscape. You don’t want to assume that one contractor will always be available, especially with any potential staffing shortage issues with key contractors. 

The Turnkey Process as we Know it, Knew it and How to Navigate it 

To help handle the turn process, below is a guide for each action and potential resources through your GPO and its industry-leading suppliers. We’ve provided descriptions for different types of process circumstances, including the standard, challenge and new needs situations.  

1. Pre NTV-Walk

Standard: Typically done 14-45 days in advance of move-out with the resident to inspect for repairs needed and once again after current resident(s) vacate. 

Challenge: Unable to enter due to pandemic restrictions. 

New Needs: Social distancing protocols, PPE, ordering supplies in advance, scheduling backup for contractors in case they're unavailable due to pandemic shifts in labor and health.

2. Move-Out Inspection

Standard: Conducted with or without the resident taking photos to generate Final Account Statement. Lock change is completed at this time and the maintenance and repair items identified can be scheduled with turn contractors (paint, clean, carpet cleaning or replacement). 

Challenge: Contractors may be unavailable due to labor shortages or other pandemic impacts, so schedule backup or get basic turnkey supplies such as paint, carpet cleaning solution and minor equipment if warranted. 

New Needs: Sanitization protocols recommended by CDC and other industry resources such as NAA and NMHC. Buy enough turnkey common items for a couple of months to avoid supply chain issues due to increased demand or extended supply challenges. 

3. Lock Change

Standard: Change locks upon surrender of the unit by the resident or as needed upon eviction. 

Challenge: Contactless operations can impact the surrender action causing legal issues if you are not careful. Also, contactless operations pose a challenge to in-person surrenders and lock changes. 

New Needs: OMNIA Partners can connect you with suppliers specializing in touchless and contactless lock changes.  

4. Trash Out

Standard: Follow legally recommended guidelines when performing trash outs to minimize liability risks. 

Challenge: Evictions in bulk, limited PPE available, extenuating circumstances exist, grey areas to consider in evictions, and potential adjustments to local laws that are abnormal, restricting landlord activities. 

New Needs: Consult your legal counsel before proceeding with a trash out where surrendered possession is in question. There's a difference between a hardship imposed by the pandemic and one imposed by habitual late rent. The clues to the cause lie in the payment history. If a resident has been in their home for over 6-8 months with only one late payment, it’s possible the pandemic has cost them their job. 

5. Punch 

Standard: NTV walks revealed much of what would be needed in the past but without the ability to enter units in some areas, plus the potential for shortages in supplies, ordering further in advance or more than typical may be prudent. If you have problems sourcing products or would like to better understand advanced purchasing needs, your GPO can help. 

Challenge: Supply chain issues, ambiguity in forecast accuracy. 

New Needs: Your multifamily housing GPO helped owners and operations source high-demand items and get ahead of the curve throughout the pandemic. If you need someone to help execute a smooth transition between all turnkey and operational purchasing activities, your group purchasing organization is a good place to start. The GPO acts as an extension of your team and can help your organization mitigate risks along the way.  

6. Paint, Clean and Carpet Cleaning 

Standard: Schedule vendors for each activity upon pre-NTV walk. 

Challenge: Availability of qualified resources to perform turns and pandemic-imposed changes. 

New Needs: GPO members have access to a network of world-class supplier partners and vendor resources, as well as access to some in-house solutions to the standard turnkey contractor process. Suppliers within our network provided educational materials and training to operate new equipment to paint, clean, etc.  

7. Final Walk and Lock Change (Unit is Complete!)

Industry best practices continue to evolve over time within the multifamily industry. The pandemic and other unpredictable emergencies create the need to develop shifts in approach or changes in practices to continue to serve our residents and teams. That new approach or change could include leveraging a group purchasing organization in your strategy.  

Streamline Your Process with Group Purchasing 

As you work to drive NOI, cash flow, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO), the GPO's resources and subject matter experts can support your lean team in these goals. Not only will the GPO simplify and streamline your procurement process, but group purchasing significantly increases your buying power and provides you with immediate access to our robust contract portfolio with diverse solutions to meet the needs of your residents and stakeholders.  

Read part 1 of our renewal strategies series, where we examine how to forecast as accurately as possible for upcoming turns to begin scheduling and sourcing supplies.