Last updated on August 10, 2023

What Questions are Asked in Co-Op Board Interviews?

Unlike purchasing other types of property in New York City, a co-op is not the purchase of a piece of real property but buying a share of a corporation that owns and manages the building. In exchange, you get the use of an apartment as part of that transaction. Consequently, the board that governs the management and ownership of the building have a significant interest in who they accept to be one of their shareholders. And the questions they ask during the interview can feel a bit intrusive. 

Before going to a co-op board interview, it may be helpful to speak with an experienced real estate attorney. At Sishodia PLLC, our team of Manhattan co-op real estate attorneys may be able to help you prepare to answer the questions during a co-op board interview. Contact us today at (833) 616-4646 to learn more about how we can help.

Co-Op Board Interview

A co-op interview is a comprehensive meeting conducted by a co-op board with a prospective individual who expresses interest in residing in a specific building. The objective of this interview is to thoroughly evaluate and determine whether the candidate should be approved as a shareholder in the co-op corporation. It represents a pivotal stage in the process of joining co-op housing, which generally encompasses the following key aspects:

  • Candidate’s financial assessment: Prospective candidates typically submit an application for a share loan and provide their financial details, including income, assets, and credit history, to the lender for thorough evaluation.
  • Evaluation of the co-op association by the lender: The lender examines the co-op association, considering factors such as the completion of construction, expenses, policies, and bylaws, to ensure its stability and financial soundness.
  • Candidate review by the co-op board: The co-op board conducts interviews with candidates and performs background checks to ascertain whether they meet the financial and community requirements established by the co-op. This evaluation plays a vital role in determining the candidate’s suitability as a prospective co-op resident.

Co-op housing often imposes stringent financial criteria on prospective tenants to ensure their ability to cover living expenses. The board may scrutinize the candidate’s financial history, taking into account aspects such as net worth and debt-to-income ratio. Additionally, they consider the candidate’s personal attributes and habits, as co-ops typically maintain strict regulations concerning subletting, noise levels, pet ownership, and smoking. Failure to adhere to these rules may result in penalties and fines

Common Questions that the Board May Ask

A co-op board will take a very personal interest in anyone purchasing a unit in their building, and they may ask questions that seem very personal. But by this time, they already have extensive financial information about you, and the interview process itself is more like a meet and greet. However, it is still an important step in the process and you can still be turned down by the board depending on your answers. 

Questions that a co-op board may ask include:

  • Is your job secure? – From a financial perspective, a co-op board will look for assurances that your job and financial future is a secure one. 
  • Why did you choose this apartment/neighborhood? – A co-op board wants to make sure you are a good personal and financial fit. How you answer can give them important information about you. The best responses will be complimentary, such as what drew you to the building and neighborhood.
  • Why are you downsizing? – Again, this may have something to do with their need to ensure your financial security. Your answer should not indicate that you are downsizing for financial reasons. 
  • Do you have plans to renovate? – Board members can be concerned about renovations from a noise and disturbance perspective as well as a financial one. It may be best not to talk about any renovation plans until you have made it past the interview and are actually in the apartment. 
  • What political party do you belong to? – Yes, this is a perfectly legal question, but an awkward one. If it is at all possible, it is best to steer away from any political conversations during a board interview or keep it very light and respectful. 
  • What do you do in your spare time? – Again, this is trying to discover if you are a right fit for the co-op community. You should keep answers very generic to show you will be a respectful and quiet neighbor. 
  • How often do you entertain? – Just like the spare time question, this question will try to eek out whether you will be a quiet neighbor.
  • Do you plan to sublet? – Most co-ops have very strict subletting policies. Know yours and answer accordingly.  

Being asked very personal questions by a group of strangers can be uncomfortable, and answering uncomfortable questions with as much dignity and grace as possible will be the only way to get through these interviews. But as personal as these questions may feel, there are some questions that co-op boards are forbidden to ask. 

Questions that the Co-op Board May Ask Description
Is your job secure? The board will look for assurances that your job and financial future are secure from a financial perspective.
Why did you choose this apartment/neighborhood? The board wants to ensure you are a good personal and financial fit. Your answer can provide important information about you.
Why are you downsizing? This question may be related to ensuring your financial security. Your answer should not indicate downsizing for financial reasons.
Do you have plans to renovate? Board members can be concerned about noise, disturbance, and financial impact of renovations. Avoid discussing plans until after the interview.
What political party do you belong to? While legal, it’s best to steer away from political conversations during the interview or keep them light and respectful.
What do you do in your spare time? The board is trying to assess if you are a good fit for the co-op community. Keep your answers generic to show you’ll be a respectful neighbor.
How often do you entertain? Similar to the spare time question, this helps the board understand if you’ll be a quiet neighbor.
Do you plan to sublet? Many co-ops have strict subletting policies. Know yours and answer accordingly during the interview.

A Co-Op Board Cannot Discriminate

A co-op board may not ask any questions that may be construed as discrimination under New York City’s human rights laws. They cannot ask about your relationship status, your country of origin, your religion, or even how many children you have or plan to have. While they may want to know all these things, they cannot outright ask them. Consequently, they may try to phrase questions in a way that they get the information they want without seeming discriminatory. 


A co-op board interview can be daunting, but once you get to this point, you are already conditionally approved. At Sishodia PLLC, our New York City real estate attorneys can help guide you and prepare you for your board interview. Call us at (833) 616-4646 or schedule a consultation through our online contact form.

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