Imagine that you’re about to buy a lovely new condo. You’ve done your homework and over-prepared for the inevitable interview in front of the condo board. You’ve submitted years’ worth of financial statements. Your reference letters are impecible. You can just about feel the keys in your grasp. Then you’re informed that there’s just one last, small matter to take care of before you receive the full stamp of approval from the condo board.
“We’d like to meet your pet to ensure they’re a good fit.”
Yes, that’s right. Pet interviews are a real thing, and they’re becoming increasingly more common. Gone are the days of “pet friendly” properties signalling carte blanche with any type of pet, no questions asked. Whereas some properties might have allowed “small dogs” in the past, it’s no longer just about the breed. It’s about personality, and more importantly, “a good fit”.
Condo boards and property owners are just as likely to ask for a face to face interview with your little Fluffy as they are for a copy of last year’s tax receipts.
This new pet scruntity is creating problems for some potential buyers who think that it’s gone a little too far.
“It’s an animal,” Janna Raskopf, a real estate pro, told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s not like you can say to it, ‘We’re going on an interview, so be on your best behavior.’”
But that’s exactly what is being asked of these owners, and their fur-babies. Some buyers are so concerned that their pets might act up during these interviews that they acknowledge actually giving the animals vet-approved anti-anxiety medication to calm them prior to the visit.
Why are Pet Interviews Even a Thing?
You might consider it an absurd requirement to conduct a pet interview, and I’d certainly agree with you, but these condo and co-op boards think otherwise. They feel that they have the right to meet any applicant’s pet, to ensure that it conforms to the high residency standards of their property. And if you’re thinking that this policy would apply strictly to dog owners, think again. Any pet, including dogs, cats, bids, and reptiles, is fair game. Really? How distruptive is your pet Bearded Dragon likely to be?
Proponents of the pet requirements figure that this level of screening will weed out undesirable pets who may clash with others, disturb the neighbors, or even deposit a little doggie doo-doo in the lobby. It’s worth pointing out that at this year’s Cruft’s Best in Show, the winning pooch Maisie stopped to take a bathroom break during her victory lap. I can comfortably say that sweet little Maisie is undoubtedly better trained than the vast majority of animals who appear in front of a co-op board pet interview, and even she felt the need to go at the most inopportune time. It happens.
No one is quite sure where this policy originated, but not surprisingly, New York condo and co-op boards ran with it. One couple told the Wall Street Journal that their co-op board wanted to meet their two gray-haired schnoodles (not a typo!) before approving them for a $500,000 apartment. Thankfully the schnoodles were deemed worthy, and the application was approved!
If you’re thinking that only well-to-do New Yorkers need worry about preparing a pet resumé for their little bundle of fur, again… you’d be wrong. This trend is starting to catch on throughout the USA, including Florida markets.
First Impressions Are Everything
So, what do you do if your co-op board requests a sit-down with Mr Chuckles? The first thing you should consider is to prepare a solid pet resumé, including a headshot. Nothing says “very quiet, well-behaved and plays well with others” quite like a profession-looking resume with a flattering headshot. Remember, you never get a second chance at making a great first impression.
If you can provide references from any previous neighbors, include those. If it feels a little much, you’re right, it is. Desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s actually quite common for pet owners to dress up their fur-babies for these interviews. I’m not entirely sure how that applies to your Bearded Dragon, but creativity is key.
Lastly, if you are looking for the ultimate edge, consider hiring a pet counsellor (yes, they exist!) to meet with your Miss Precious and discuss helpful tips for wowing the members of the board. Don’t think of it as cheating. Some condo boards will hire a pet whisperer to attend the interview, so if you want to put your best paw forward, you need to pull out all the stops.
Are pet interviews with resumés and headshots simply a ridiculous fad that we will all look back on and laugh at someday, or the future of condo applications everywhere? Only time will tell, but it might not be a bad idea to find your dachshund’s good side and snap a few photos. Just in case.