Thursday, May 03, 2007

Dog Gone

'If you want to live here', say the Co-op boards:

Manhattan's notoriously powerful residents' boards, which vet newcomers hoping to move into the more desirable apartment buildings, have raised a new hurdle - the pet interview.

And not only the interview, but also the behavioural evaluation, the door bell response test and the social interaction exam.

The gatekeepers of at least one building even want to see how a dog fetches a ball before they will throw the apartment keys to its owner.

Finding somewhere to buy or rent in New York's most sought-after neighbourhoods has always been a deeply stressful experience, but a current property shortage has strengthened the whip-hand of the boards.

....Michelle Kleier, who runs the real estate brokers Gumley Haft Kleier, was able to reel off a string of bizarre policies, including an Upper East Side block in Lexington Avenue which tests the dog on its response to the apartment's telephone, door bell and buzzer system.

A dozen blocks north on Fifth Avenue, another board puts the animal in a room with other dogs that already live in the building, then watches how the new dog behaves when a bowl of food is produced. Sometimes, the stipulations are based on the prejudices of a single board member, Ms Kleier said. One building is particularly down on dachshunds while another, on Central Park West, insists on seeing pets with "small dog names" such as Fifi or Gigi to make sure they are not really some huge hound masquerading as a Yorkie.

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