Co-op Boards are Interviewing Dogs

So Your Dog Can Roll Over. Can It Pass a Co-op Board Interview?

Blowouts and bowties, Xanax and Zoloft. New York’s co-op buyers and their dogs are jumping through all sorts of hoops to precious approval.

From Wall Street Journal


Katherine Clarke

Dec. 5, 2019 10:18 am ET

When retired couple Heidi DeCoo and Carl Norton decided to buy a small co-op apartment in Manhattan’s Lenox Hill neighborhood as a city getaway from their home in Ithaca, N.Y., they encountered a strange request. The building’s co-op board asked that they bring their two gray-haired schnoodles (a cross between a miniature schnauzer and a poodle) in for their interview.

To Ms. DeCoo, the whole situation seemed absurd.

In most cases, dogs are shuttled into an apartment, where they are brought before a small panel of board members who interact with them for a few minutes and get a feel for whether they’re likely to be problematic to residents.

Real-estate agent Barbara Fox said she recently had a client who was so terrified by the prospect of bringing her yappy poodle before the board of an Upper East Side co-op that the client ended up borrowing an older and more docile dog from a friend who had the same breed. She was accepted to the building—and the board still hasn’t spotted the difference, Ms. Fox said, noting that she didn’t have prior knowledge of the switch.

These interviews don’t always go smoothly and it isn’t uncommon for a buyer to be rejected because of their dog, said real estate attorney Michael J. Romer, noting that he’s had multiple clients disappointed.

Many co-ops have banned certain more aggressive breeds. One particularly strict co-op on Lower Fifth Avenue has banned Alaskan Malamutes, Caucasian Mountain Dogs, Chihuahuas, Chow Chows, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, Huskies, Jack Russel Terriers, Lhasa apsos, Old English Sheepdogs, Papillons, Pekingese, Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Presa Canarios, Rottweilers, Toy Poodles and Schnauzers, according to its rules.