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Condo applicants dogged by pet interview requests

By Mike Wheatley | December 10, 2019

As competition heats up among home buyers in an increasingly tight market, some condominium and co-op boards are demanding that pet owners subject their furry friends to an ‘interview’ to make sure they’re a good fit.

Indeed, some boards require a pets to have full resume with a headshot, and even a recommendation letter in some cases.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a couple named Heidi DeCoo and Carl Norton were given such a request when they tried to buy a $500,000 co-op apartment in Manhattan. According to them, the co-op’s board insisted on meeting their two gray-haired schnoodles (a breed combining a miniature schnauzer and poodle) before they would allow the purchase to go ahead. Luckily for them, the board decided the dogs wouldn’t be a problem and signed off on the sale.

The idea of ‘interviewing’ pets has had a mixed reaction. On the one hand, some real estate agents say it’s absolutely absurd.

“It’s an animal,” Janna Raskopf, a real estate pro, told the Journal. “It’s not like you can say to it, ‘We’re going on an interview, so be on your best behavior.’”

But co-op and condo boards insist they have the right to meet with tenants’ pets as there are genuine concerns to be addressed. They don’t want dogs fighting in the hallways or waking up other residents with their barking, for example. Boards are also worried they might be held responsible legally if a tenants’ pet bites another person.

Now, some boards are going even further, bringing in experts who’ll do a 10-minute evaluation of a pet to assess if it’s likely to be a good neighbor or not.

But this is putting pressure on condo applicants, some of whom have admitted to buying medication to calm their pets down for the interview. Others have taken their pets to animal counselors to ensure they’re on their best behavior.

Condo and co-op boards are becoming stricter about which kinds of pets they’ll allow to live in their buildings, with several breeds being banned due to their aggressive or unruly behavior. The Journal reported that one New York City building has banned a long list of dog breeds, including Alaskan malamutes, caucasian mountain dogs, chihuahuas, chow chows, dachshunds, dalmatians, doberman pinschers, German shepherds, huskies, Jack Russell terriers, lhasa apsos, Old English sheepdogs, papillons, pekingese, pinschers, pit bulls, presa canarios, Rottweilers, toy poodles, and schnauzers. And the building’s board will only approve pets if their owner signs a letter acknowledging the pet is only allowed to stay at their discretion, initially on a trial basis.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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