10 Ways to Ensure Your Co-op Board Application Gets Rejected

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Before submitting your co-op board application, make sure you avoid these common mistakes if you want to increase your chances of being accepted.

While it may seem obvious not to show up to a co-op board interview drunk or brag about your wild party lifestyle, there are other, less obvious ways to get rejected. Co-op boards have a lot of power and can be arbitrary in their decision-making, so it’s important to avoid these pitfalls.

Co-op living is more like joining a club than buying real estate. The board wants to ensure that you will be a positive contributor to the building’s atmosphere and prosperity. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

10: Financials

Most co-op rejections are due to financial reasons. Make sure you have a good credit score and keep your credit card balances low. Also, be realistic about your budget and don’t overextend yourself. More exclusive co-ops may also look at the source of your income.

9: Lying

Don’t lie on your application about your financials or anything else. It’s not worth the risk and could lead to trouble down the line.

Cooperative boards have both financial and social incentives to prevent dishonest individuals from joining their organizations. This means that you should expect a thorough examination of everything you list in your application package. While it may feel invasive, the choice to apply elsewhere is always an option if you do not want to undergo this process. It is common for people to try to hide credit issues, but it is recommended to disclose and explain them upfront, as they will likely be discovered during the application process.

When submitting an application to a co-op board, it is important to be organized and present information in a way that is easy to read. Board members are volunteers and have other commitments, so they don’t want to spend their time sifting through a disorganized application. Ask your broker for advice on formatting and follow their suggestions closely. Taking the time to present your information neatly and professionally shows that you care about the outcome and are detail-oriented, which are both positive qualities in the eyes of a co-op board.

Before applying to a co-op, it is important to thoroughly research the building and its requirements. This includes checking rules regarding financing, liquid assets, subletting, pets, guarantors, and usage of the unit. It is better to know the rules beforehand than to discover that you are incompatible during the board interview.

If you were able to negotiate a low sale price, it may make closing the deal more difficult. Co-op boards do not want to set a precedent for low selling prices, as it can lower the value of all units in the building.

In tough economic times, a board member may disallow lowball sales, but this can harm the seller and buyer. The seller may be stuck with an unsellable unit, while the buyer may be forced to pay an unfair price. However, board members themselves have nothing to lose if they aren’t selling. They can wait until market conditions improve to sell at fair rates. It’s important to beware of lowball bids, as they may not be accepted.

Stability is crucial for a co-op board when considering a buyer. They want to ensure the buyer will be a long-term resident. Stability issues, such as frequent job changes or multiple marriages, may make it difficult to be accepted. The application package should reflect stability, and it’s important to explain any fluctuations in income or other potential red flags.

Paperwork is a necessary evil in the co-op application process. A thorough application package can help avoid additional paperwork later on. All listed assets should be accompanied by verification, and any listed income should be clearly defined. Failure to jump when the board requests additional paperwork can doom the application.

The board interview is the final hurdle, and it’s important to dress conservatively, arrive on time, and be straightforward. Bickering with a co-applicant can harm your chances of being accepted.

To succeed in a co-op interview, it is important to tailor your approach to the specific building. Research the building beforehand, and have your broker do the same if possible. Avoid asking too many questions, especially about topics that could be sensitive, such as subletting or owning large dogs. Additionally, avoid name-dropping unless you are certain the person is well-liked by everyone in the building. Expect the board to ask tough questions and try not to take it personally.

Consider your lifestyle and how it fits into the building’s “flavor.” If your lifestyle clashes with that of your potential neighbors, it may not be the best fit for you. Take care to clean up your online presence before the interview. Google yourself and delete or retag any photos or profiles that could paint you in a negative light. Remember that a co-op interview is more personal than a job interview, and nothing is off-limits. For more information on co-ops and home buying, check out the links on the next page.

Additional Information

Related Articles

  • Understanding Housing Cooperatives
  • Distinguishing Between a House, Mobile Home, Condominium, Co-op, and Townhouse
  • Guide to Purchasing a House
  • Renting vs. Buying a Home
  • Common Mistakes Made by First-time Homebuyers


  • Kaye, J. “Matter of Levandusky v One Fifth Ave. Apt. Corp.” Court of Appeals of New York. April 5, 1990. (Feb. 6, 2011)http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/archives/levandusky_one.htm
  • Levy, Carol E. “Top Dozen Reasons for Co-op Board Rejections.” The Cooperator. May 2007. (Feb. 6, 2011) http://cooperator.com/articles/1450/1/Top-Dozen-Reasons-for-Co-op-Board-Rejections/Page1.html
  • Romano, Jay. “Last Co-op Hurdle: The Board Interview.” The New York Times. Feb. 25, 2007. (Feb. 6, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/25/realestate/25Home.html
  • Romano, Jay. “What a Co-op Board Will Want to Know.” The New York Times. Feb. 18, 2007. (Feb. 6, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/18/realestate/18home.html
  • Romano, Jay. “Your Home; Passing A Co-op Interview.” The New York Times. July 30, 1995. (Feb. 7, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/30/realestate/your-home-passing-a-co-op-interview.html?src=pm


1. What is a co-op board?

A co-op board is a group of elected members responsible for managing a cooperative apartment building. They have the power to approve or reject prospective buyers or tenants.

2. What are some common reasons for rejection?

Some common reasons for rejection include poor credit history, insufficient income, criminal records, and previous evictions. Additionally, if the co-op board feels that a potential resident may not be a good fit for the building’s community, they may also reject the application.

3. How can I increase my chances of being accepted?

You can increase your chances of being accepted by ensuring that you have a strong financial history, a good credit score, and a solid employment record. Be upfront and honest about your background and provide all necessary documentation in a timely manner. Additionally, try to establish a positive rapport with the co-op board during the interview process.

4. Should I offer gifts or incentives to the co-op board?

No, you should never offer gifts or incentives to the co-op board as it may be viewed as an attempt to bribe them. This can result in immediate rejection of your application and damage your reputation within the building’s community.

5. What should I avoid saying during the interview?

Avoid making negative comments about the building or its residents. Also, do not make promises that you cannot keep or exaggerate your qualifications. Be honest and genuine during the interview process.

6. What should I wear to the interview?

Dress professionally and conservatively for the interview. Avoid wearing anything too flashy or revealing. You want to present yourself in a respectful and appropriate manner.

7. Can I bring my pet to the interview?

No, it is not appropriate to bring your pet to the interview. The co-op board may have restrictions on pets and it can also be seen as distracting or unprofessional.

8. Should I disclose my political or religious beliefs?

No, you should not disclose your political or religious beliefs during the interview. This can be seen as divisive and may make the co-op board question whether you will be a good fit for the building’s community.

9. Can I appeal a rejection from the co-op board?

Yes, you can appeal a rejection from the co-op board. However, it is important to understand the reasons for rejection and address any concerns before submitting a new application or appeal.

10. What should I do if I am rejected?

If you are rejected, it is important to remain respectful and professional. Try to understand the reasons for rejection and use the feedback to improve your future applications. You may also want to consider looking for other co-op buildings that may be a better fit for your needs and qualifications.

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