gowanus_44.jpgA staple of urban difficulties are the financial and personal reviews of aspiring co-op buyers. The board review process before a purchase can be approved can be Torquemada-esque, where future hopeful neighbors are one's inquisitors. We wrote about the process last month and how lawmakers want to require co-op boards to provide specific reasons why some applicants are rejected from living in a building. The traditional alternative to the co-op review process for buyers of a NYC residence has been taking the condo route, where one could just hand over a large check and receive the keys to your new home. According to today's New York Times, however, that era of pay-for-stay may be over.

The practices that condos have adopted range from requiring extensive application packages that include a stack of reference letters and even a board interview, to strict house rules that ban open houses or limit pet ownership.

Property managers and lawyers who represent condos say that some are even talking about whether they could legally require board approval for apartment sales, a move that would eliminate what many buyers consider a condo’s biggest appeal.

“Most of these buildings wouldn’t have done these kinds of things before,” said Richard Grossman, the director of downtown sales for Halstead Property. “But I think they are now because they want owners and buyers to take the process seriously, and even though it is a condo, they’re not looking for it to be a free-for-all.”

Just the passing use of the word "free" in an article about NYC real estate makes us laugh. Slacking demand and an oversupply of residential construction in other cities would make something like this hard to believe, as developers have to offer inducements to fill new housing. Demand for NYC housing, however, that has spurred a stunning level of construction over the past decade and record low rental vacancy rates, seems unabating.

The piece in the Times also has a sidebar article describing what exactly a condop is.

(Gowanus_44, by Pro-Zak at flickr.)