Getting a Co-Op to Love You and Your Dog

With more people becoming attracted to the idea of living in high-rise condo and swanky co-ops, suburban life is taking a back seat for many.

Indeed, 62 percent of millennials prefer to live in “mixed-use” buildings found in urban communities, allowing them more access to restaurants, offices and shopping. And seniors are also interested in city life. They like being close to friends and shops, while not having to fuss with a big house. Plus, many are on a set income, so being able to ditch the car, save on gas and be just a stone’s throw away from doctors, makes the urban sprawl an attractive choice.

With so many people wanting to live in the heart of the city and attracted to condos and co-ops, finding a home is becoming a challenge for everyone, with dog owners having extra barriers.

Some buildings have a no-dog policy or weight limit, while others require a hefty security deposit or additional insurance. So, finding a place that will accept your dog in all her glory can be challenging.

Related: This Organization Lists Pit Bull-Friendly Housing in One Easy-To-Use Database

But there are things dog owners can do to have a better chance of getting accepted into a co-op or condo association.

We spoke with Lori Nevias, a Long Island-based, New York real estate and animal law attorney, about how to increase your chances of getting accepted into a co-op.

Prepare for the co-op board interview

Prospective buyers who own dogs should familiarize themselves with the co-op house rules relating to dogs, says Nevias.

“Be prepared to answer any questions, and ask a few of your own to show the board you read the rules,” she recommends.

Choose the best interview environment for your dog.

Often, the board will require some sort of meeting with your dog. If owners have the option between in-person or video, go with the virtual choice.

“Unless your dog has been professionally trained or is small, utterly adorable and docile, don’t take unnecessary chances,” says Nevias. “Animals are unpredictable, as are humans.”

Related: How One Intervention Program Keeps Dogs Where They Belong: At Home

Making it through an in-person interview.

If you can’t bypass the in-person interview, then make sure you and your pup are prepared to win the board over. Get your dog groomed and bathed, so she will look her best. Also, go on a long walk before the meetings, so she will be tired and relaxed.

“If your dog tends to be very nervous or gregarious, ask your vet about a sedative,” Nevias recommends.

It’s important to have your dog on her best behavior for these meetings. Just because the co-op allows dogs, doesn’t mean everyone on the board appreciates four-legged residents. So, be respectful.

Lastly, if your dog knows any tricks, have him show off a bit. It may be just the thing to win over the board.

Involve an expert if needed.

If your dog is a barker, has separation anxiety or is aggressive, have your pup professionally trained.

“Bring the certificate of completion to the interview, and provide the trainer’s contact information to the board, as a reference, after speaking with the trainer,” says Nevias. “As long as your dog is now well trained, there is no need for the trainer to detail past issues.”

Provide proof.

The more information you have, the better. If possible, bring letters from your current neighbors attesting to no noise issues and your dog’s great behavior, says Nevias.

She also states you shouldn’t volunteer to pay for damages from your dog, as that suggests to the board your dog is capable of ruining the property.

Promise to be a good dog owner.

Nevias says that you should assure the board you understand not everyone is a dog lover, and realize others are scared of canines, or have allergies. Respect boundaries and promise to be in control of your dog and keep her a safe distance from neighbors in the common areas.

Related: A Dog and Man Found Each Other While Living on the Streets, Now Share a Home Together

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