FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Contents: 

Housing Application

Am I eligible to apply for housing?

I will be attending a school located at the Medical Center campus? Can I apply to UAH for housing?

I'm an affiliate of Teachers College? Can I apply to UAH for housing?

I am a new student. How do I apply for housing?

I am a continuing student. How do I apply for housing? 

How do I obtain a user name and password to access the housing application?

What is my PID Number?

When is the housing application deadline for new students?

How can I update or amend my application?

When do I need to supply documentation of couples' or family status and what documents are acceptable?

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Approval Process

When will my application be approved?

I received the following message when I checked on my housing application status: "application is being processed." What does this mean?

What is the role of my school's Housing Liaison?

Who is my school's Housing Liaison?

What happens if my school is not able approve my housing application?

Am I guaranteed to receive housing once my application is approved?

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Housing Assignment Process

What is the Housing Assignment process?

When are housing assignments made?

How do I accept an Offer of Assignment?

What if I decide to decline my Offer of Assignment?

When do I sign my lease or contract?

Is the rent pro-rated from the date I sign my lease or contract?

When will I be required to provide documentation of couples' or family status?

Can I see a floor plan of my unit?

Can I see the unit before I accept the Offer or before I sign my lease or contract?

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Wait List

What is the housing wait list for?

How do I get on the wait list for housing?

How do I find out if my school has placed me on the housing wait list?

When are housing assignments made to students on the housing wait list?

How do I receive my Wait List Number and Category?

What are the Wait List categories and how are they used?

How are Wait List numbers assigned and what are they used for?

Signing a Rental Agreement

How do I make an appointment to sign my lease or contract?

What documents should I bring with me?

My flight lands at 2:00 p.m. I will not get to the UAH office before 3:30 p.m. What should I do?

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Payment

How much is the initial housing payment and when is it due?

Will I get a confirmation receipt?

When does billing for my unit start?

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Moving In

Can I send my belongings ahead of time?

How can I contact my roommates?

When can I move into my unit?

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Apartment Amenities and Services

What is provided in an unfurnished unit?

What is provided in a furnished unit?

Does UAH provide linens, cooking utensils, and other household accessories in furnished units?

Is carpeting provided?

Are there laundry facilities?

What utilities are included in my rent?

Will the utilities be connected when I move in?

How will I be billed for Ethernet service?

If my unit is offered with an Ethernet connection, can I cancel the service?

Who do I contact if I have questions about my Ethernet service?

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Transferring

I would like to change my unit. What is the process?

I know about a vacant room. Can I transfer into it?

When and how do I apply for a Room to Room Transfer?

Am I eligible for a Room to Room Transfer?

What are the criteria for approval of a Room to Room Transfer?

What happens after my application has been approved for a Room to Room Transfer?

What happens if more than one student requests a specific room in an apartment or dormitory in the Room to Room Transfer process?

When and how do I apply for the General Transfer Process?

Am I eligible for the General Transfer Process?

What considerations go into approving an application for the General Transfer Process?

How do I find out if my application to participate in the General Transfer process has been approved?

 

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Lease and Contract Renewal

When do I renew my lease or contract?

I am leaving New York City for the summer and would like to find someone to live in my unit. What should I do?

What should I do if want to sublet my room/apartment beyond May 31st, but my current lease or contract expires on that date?

I did not renew my lease but have now changed my mind and would like to live on campus. What should I do?

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Vacating

Will I lose my deposit if I break my lease or contract?

When do I need to vacate my UAH unit if I decide to take an approved leave of absence or enroll as a part-time instead of full-time student?

What do I need to do to officially vacate my apartment?

How long will it take to receive a refund of my security deposit?

Can I use my security deposit as my last month's rent?

Do I need to file a Vacancy Form if I am subletting my unit?

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Maintenance Information

What is the role of my building's Superintendent? Who is my Area Housing Supervisor?

What is the procedure for dealing with a maintenance problem in my apartment building?

How do I obtain more maintenance information?

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Housing Application

Am I eligible to apply for housing?

To be eligible for University Apartment Housing (UAH), you must be registered as a full-time student in a housing eligible degree program at Columbia. Students in certain certificate programs may also be eligible. Students who register for less than full-time lose their eligibility for housing and are required to vacate UAH accommodations. 

Student housing is limited to a maximum of 5 years from the date you first enroll in your program at Columbia or the duration of your program, whichever is shorter. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences students may be eligible for an additional 2 years upon application by the school to the UAH office.

Please refer to the complete section on eligibility on our Website.

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I will be attending a school located on the Medical Center campus? Can I apply to UAH for housing?

No, the Medical Center has its own housing office. You can obtain more information from their Website or by calling (212) 304-7000. If you are interested in off-campus housing, you may use the services of the Columbia Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) office. Please visit OCHA's Website.

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I'm an affiliate of Teachers College?  Can I apply to UAH for housing?

No, UAH does not house affiliates of Teachers College. Please contact the Office of Residential Services at Teachers College for more information. You may visit their Website or call (212) 678-3235. If you are interested in off-campus housing, you may use the services of the Columbia Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) office. Please visit OCHA's Website

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I am a new student. How do I apply for housing?

Depending on the time of year, you may submit a Housing Application through My Housing Portal. For complete information see How To Apply.

For more information on the role of the schools, and to see a list of designated housing liaisons for each school or program, please see the information in the Essentials section. 

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I am a continuing student. How do I apply for housing? 

Most continuing students are eligible to apply for housing and are typically placed on the Wait List. To apply for housing, you must submit a housing application via My Housing Portal. A user name and password are required to access the application, as well as your PID number. Information on monitoring the status of your housing applicaition will be sent to you. Please be advised that you will need to complete a new application for each semester you wish to participate in the Wait List process.

For complete information see How To Apply

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How do I obtain a user name and password to access the housing application?

New students are typically sent this information with their acceptance packages. If this information is lost or missing, please contact your school's Housing Liaison . Continuing students can obtain this information by contacting UAH by E-mail at UAH@columbia.edu. Please identify yourself as a "continuing student" and also indicate your school or program.

For more information on the role of the schools, and to see a list of designated housing liaisons for each school or program, please see the information in the Essentials section. 

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What is my PID Number?

Your Personal Identification Number or PID Number is a code, starting with the letter "C" followed by nine numbers. You will need it to complete the housing application. Your PID# will be provided to you by your school upon your acceptance. Continuing students can also locate this information by logging into SSOL.

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When is the housing application deadline for new students?

Your school establishes the deadline for submission of your housing application. Since the date varies from school-to-school, please check with your school for its particular deadline.

UAH sets deadlines for your school to submit approved applications to us. UAH's school deadlines will be later than your required submission date to your school. The UAH school deadlines are typically the first week in August for the fall term and the first week in January for the spring term. Applications received by UAH after our deadlines will automatically be placed on the Wait List for new student housing.

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How can I update or amend my application?

If you need to alter your application, please do not submit another application. E-mail any changes or updates to UAH@columbia.edu.

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When do I need to supply documentation of couples' or family status and what documents are acceptable?

Documentation of couples' or family status will be required at the time of lease signing.  

Proof of couples' status (marriage or domestic partnership) includes:

  • Documentation of marriage or domestic partnership.
  • Joint mortgage or lease.
  • Documentation showing, for a period of at least six months prior to the application for housing, an actively used joint bank account, joint credit account, or joint ownership of a motor vehicle.

OR

  • Two items documenting that the applicant and his/her partner have resided together at the same address for a period of at least six months prior to the application for housing (such as drivers' license, voters' registration, utility bills, etc.).

Proof of family status includes:

  • Birth certificates.
  • Other documentation that dependent children reside with you.

Documentation must be translated into English and all translations must be notarized. You may use the services of Columbia University Translation Agency.

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Approval Process

When will my application be approved?

Students are typically approved for housing by their schools from the middle of June through the beginning of August for the fall term and after the beginning of December for the spring term.

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How will I know if my application has been approved?

You can continue to monitor the status of your application online as outlined in the E-mail you received when you applied for housing. You will also be notified by E-mail.

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I received the following message when I checked on my housing application status online: "application is being processed." What does this mean?

This means that your application has been received by UAH and is being reviewed by your school. Once your school gives us notice of its decision, the application status website will be updated.

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What is the role of my school's Housing Liaison?

Once you have submitted your housing application to UAH, we will review it to make sure it is complete and then send it to your school. Your school's Housing Liaison is responsible for approving your housing application and notifying UAH of your school's decision.

In early summer, the number of housing units expected to be ready before registration is determined, and each school is allocated a specific number of UAH spaces for its students. Each school decides how to use its allocation. 

The majority of new students can expect to be offered housing. However, the demand for housing exceeds the supply. A number of students will be placed on the Wait List for housing. 

For more information on the role of the schools, and to see a list of designated housing liaisons for each school or program, please see the information in the Essentials section.

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Who is my school's Housing Liaison?

Your Housing Liaison can answer questions regarding the approval process. Once you receive housing approval, inquiries concerning housing assignments, policies, and procedures should be addressed to UAH. Please keep in mind that UAH works with eight graduate schools, the School of Law, and the the School of General Studies. Each school has their own process for determining which applicants receive housing allocations. 

For more information on the role of the schools, and to see a list of designated housing liaisons for each school or program, please see the information in the Essentials section. 

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What happens if my school is not able to approve my housing application?

You will be placed on the Wait List. The fall Wait List process typically takes place between mid-August through the first week in December, depending on availability. The spring process typically extends from mid-January through mid-April, depending on availability. For more information on the wait list, please see that section of the site.

You can also contact the Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) office if you would like help in searching for non-Columbia accommodations. 

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Am I guaranteed to receive housing once my application is approved?

You are guaranteed to receive one Offer of Accommodation if your school is able to approve you for housing. However, if you fail to accept or to respond before the expiration date of the offer, or if you decline your offer, you will need to reapply for housing and be placed on the Wait List. Once you are on the Wait List, housing is no longer guaranteed.

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Housing Assignment Process

What is the Housing Assignment process?

Once your school approves your housing application, the Housing Assignment process will begin, and you will receive an Offer of Accommodation. That will be E-mailed to the address provided on your housing application. We make every effort to assign a unit that satisfies the preferences you indicate on your application. Each application is given personal attention in order to make the best possible match from the UAH stock. However, assignments are contingent upon availability. Only one Offer of Assignment will be made.

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When are housing assignments made?

Housing assignments are typically made May through July, for the fall term and mid-December through mid-January for the spring term. We make every effort to send housing assignments as quickly as possible. Assignments are made based on the preferences indicated on your housing application. If that information has changed, be sure to mailto:uah@columbia.edu.  

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How do I accept an Offer of Assignment?

All Offers of Assignment are sent by E-mail. You will receive two E-mails simultaneously - The first will provide details of the unit offered and the second will instruct you on making payment in order to accept the offer. Follow the instructions. You must respond before the indicated expiration date and provide us with: 1) your planned move-in date and 2) the required payment (credit or debit) to reserve your unit. If you do not respond by the specified date, the Offer will expire and the unit will be reassigned. 

If you intend to pay by money order, cashier's check or certified check, follow the instructions in the offer and make arrangements with the leasing office. We will need to provide you with specific instructions and the payment mailing address.

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What if I decide to decline my Offer of Assignment?

If you decide to decline your Offer of Assignment, please follow the instructions on the offer in order to notify our office. If you still need housing, you will need to reapply for housing in order to participate in the Wait List process. You will be considered a continuing student, and students who haven't been offered housing will be made offers first. Unfortunately, housing is not guaranteed for students on the wait list.

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When do I sign my lease or contract?

You can sign your lease or contract at the UAH office on your move-in date. Leases and contracts can be signed Monday through Friday between 9:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Please note it is not possible to move in on weekends, after 4 p.m. on weekdays, or on University designated holidays. Your lease or contract must be signed in the presence of a UAH employee and can only be signed by the legal tenant of record. 

Housing is generally assigned based on your first move-in period choice. E-mail uah@columbia.edu with your new request if your move-in date has change. Please see the detailed instructions that are outlined in the Offer of Assignment.

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Is the rent pro-rated from the date I sign my lease or contract?

Yes, rent is pro-rated from the date you sign your lease or contract and not from the date you accept your unit, unless otherwise specified.  

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When will I be required to provide documentation of couples' or family status?

You must provide documentation of couples' or family status at the time of your lease or contract signing.

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Can I see a floor plan of my unit?

An Offer of Accommodation will include a brief description of the unit as well as general tenant information. Unfortunately, we currently do not have floor plans for many of our housing accommodations. If a floor plan is available, it will be attached to your Offer of Assignment.

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Can I see the unit before I accept the Offer or before I sign my lease or contract?

Due to the nature of student housing, it is not always possible to view apartments. Apartments cannot be shown if they are currently occupied, under construction, or being renovated for an incoming student. Please visit our office between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to find out if the unit can be shown. You will need to request a "Viewing Slip."

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Wait List

What is the housing wait list for?

The UAH Wait List housing process operates after the regular fall and spring housing selection for new students as a way to provide housing to: 1) new students who have applied but were not approved for housing by their school; 2) new students who applied for housing after their school's deadline; 3) new students who declined or failed to respond to their housing offer; or 4) continuing students who have not received housing and submit an application for the Wait List.

The inventory of units available for the Wait List is comprised of apartments that become available after the regular selection process. Students on the Wait List are assigned a category and number which are used to prioritize viewing and acceptance of the limited quantity of available units. Housing is not guaranteed for students on the Wait List.

More information on the Wait List is on our Website.

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How do I get on the wait list for housing?

If you are a new student whose housing application is not approved by your school or if your application was received after your school's deadline, you will automatically be placed on the Wait List. If you are a new student who declined or failed to respond to your housing offer or a continuing student, you must submit a housing application to be placed on the Wait List.

More information on the Wait List is on our Website.  

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How do I find out if my school has placed me on the housing wait list?

You may monitor the status of your housing application online using the applicant ID and pin provided to you when you applied for housing. Follow the instructions in the E-mail sent to you after you applied. You will also be notified by E-mail if any action needs to be taken regarding your application.

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When are housing assignments made to students on the housing wait list?

The fall Wait List Selection process extends from mid-July through early October, depending on availability. The spring process extends from mid-January through mid-April.

More information on the Wait List is on our Website.  

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How do I receive my Wait List Number and Category?

Wait List Numbers are generated for the fall term in mid-August and for the spring term in mid-January. Your Wait List Number and Category will be E-mailed to the address you provided on your housing application. Your number and category will not change for the duration of the current term. If you reapply for the next term's housing wait list, you will be assigned a new number and category.

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What are the Wait List categories and how are they used?

The two major Wait List categories are for: 1) new students and 2) continuing students. The new and continuing categories are further refined by whether you are a male, female, or part of a couple or a family. Your category also determines the type of accommodation for which you are eligible, such as a male or female share or couples' housing.

You will be considered a new student if you are in the first term of your current degree program. You will be considered a continuing student if: 1) you are not enrolled in your first term in your current degree program; 2) you were offered housing as a "new student" but declined the Offer of Accommodation; or 3) you received an Offer of Accommodation but failed to respond or accept the Offer before the expiration date.

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How are Wait List numbers assigned and what are they used for?

Wait List numbers are arranged in consecutive order based on the date your application is received by the UAH office. Housing Assignments are made in order of Wait List Number for each category, as housing becomes available.

Signing a Rental Agreement

How do I make an appointment to sign my lease or contract?

Appointments to sign rental agreements are made when an offer is accepted in My Housing Portal. If you need to change your appointment, log in to the portal and follow the directions. Appointment time cannot be changed within the portal with less than 24 hours notice. You may also email uah@columbia.edu to request an appointment. 

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What documents should I bring with me?

  • two passport sized photographs of you as the primary tenant and, if applicable, two each of your partner and/or children. Names should be written on the reverse side of each photograph;
  • photo identification, such as a driver's license or passport;  
  • documentation of couples' and/or family status, if applicable; and 
  • if you do not have a social security number, a copy of your passport is necessary to complete leasing paperwork. 

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My flight lands at 2:00 p.m. I will not get to the UAH office before 3:30 p.m. What should I do?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to sign a lease or contract and move in after 3:30 p.m. or on a weekend when building personnel are not on duty. A lease or contract may only be signed by the prospective tenant in the presence of an authorized employee in the UAH office. Please keep in mind that you will not be able to sign a lease or contract unless all required monies have been paid and all photographs and documentation have been received.

Columbia's Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) Office can help you find temporary accommodations. Please contact OCHA in advance of your arrival for assistance by calling (212) 854-2773 or e-mailing ocha@columbia.edu You can also find information on the OCHA Website.

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Payment

How much is the initial housing payment and when is it due?

The amount of the initial payment depends on whether you will be signing a lease or a contract for your unit.

  • Lease: First month's rent and a security deposit equal to one month's rent.
  • Contract: $1,000, which will be applied to your Student Financial Services account once you move in. 

You are required to make your initial payment before the expiration date stated in the Offer of Assignment. Follow the instructions in the Offer.

If you have questions, please email uah@columbia.edu


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Will I get a confirmation receipt?

Yes, you will be sent an E-mail receipt by UAH when the initial payments are processed.

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When does billing for my unit start?

It depends on whether you signed a lease or a contract.

  • Lease: you should receive your first bill within one month of move-in and you will be billed monthly thereafter. In general, your first rent bill will be a pro-rated amount based on your move-in date. The Office of the Controller is responsible for monthly rent bills. Only the tenant of record may make payment. Rent bills are delivered by building personnel prior to the first of the month for that upcoming month. All billing statements will read that rent is due on the first of the month. Please note that payments received after the 10th may not be reflected on the next billing statement. Questions regarding billing should be addressed to the Office of the Controller at (212) 854-1009. All other concerns should be addressed to uah@columbia.edu.
  • Contract: you will be billed by Student Financial Services typically within two weeks after contract signing and move-in. Your contract will state the term charge, which is payable by the term due date. Questions concerning your Student Account Statement balance should be addressed to Student Financial Services at (212) 854-4400. If you have specific questions regarding your housing charge, contact uah@columbia.edu.

If you have questions, please email uah@columbia.edu

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Moving In

Can I send my belongings ahead of time?

No deliveries will be accepted before you sign your lease or contract and move into your unit. Please do not send any packages prior to your move-in date. 

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How can I contact my roommate(s)?

If authorized, we will provide you with the following roommate information in any Offer of Accommodation: name, school, E-mail address. 

If you have questions, please email uah@columbia.edu

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When can I move into my unit?

Once you have signed your lease or contract, you will receive a pass authorizing your building's superintendent to give you keys to the building and your unit. Superintendents are available to distribute keys from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. There are no move-ins on Saturday, Sunday, or University holidays.

If you have questions, please email uah@columbia.edu

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Apartment Amenities and Services

What is provided in an unfurnished unit?

We provide a stove and refrigerator. Students must provide all furniture, accessories, and appliances.

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What is provided in a furnished unit?

Bedrooms typically include a single bed (double for couples' housing), desk, chair, dresser, and lamp. The typical bed size is twin long. Living rooms and kitchens include a couch, additional chairs, and a table with chairs. A stove and refrigerator are provided in all units.

If you have questions, please email uah@columbia.edu.  

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Does UAH provide linens, cooking utensils, and other household accessories in furnished units?

UAH does not provide linens, cooking utensils, dishes, cutlery, air conditioners, dishwashers, or area rugs for any unit.

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Is carpeting provided?

UAH units are not carpeted. Students are responsible for providing rugs that cover 80% of the floor area to comply with the terms of the lease. Floor coverings help to reduce noise from foot traffic and other sources as well as to protect the floor.

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Are there laundry facilities?

Laundry facilities are available to all UAH tenants. If your building does not have laundry facilities on site, speak to your building superintendent to find the nearest facility, which is typically in the adjacent building.

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What utilities are included in my rent?

This information will be provided in your Offer of Accommodation. 

Charges for heat and hot water are included in the rent for all units. Charges for telephone and cable television service are not included in the rent for any unit.

Typically, charges for cooking gas and electricity are included if you live in a dormitory-style accommodation or a share within a three or four bedroom unit. If you live in a share in a two bedroom unit or in a studio or one bedroom apartment, gas and electricity charges are not included in the rent and an additional cost of approximately $60-$100 per month per unit (not per person) should be anticipated, depending on usage.

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Will the utilities be connected when I move in?

Unless utilities are included with the rent, an account will not be established prior to your arrival.  

As a resident in University Apartment Housing, you and any roommate(s) are responsible for setting up an account for your apartment and paying for your utilities. This may include electricity, gas, and telephone service. As a reminder, the university is not responsible for uncollected utilities charges. This arrangement is between you and your roommates only.

It is important that you contact your roommate(s) and decide who is going to be responsible to hook up which utilities and receive the bills in their name. Also, you need to agree on how the utility bills will be paid. Communicate with your roommate(s) as it is also possible that utilities have already been established in their own name.

If you have questions, please e-mail uah@columbia.edu

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How will I be billed for Ethernet service?

If you are a new tenant, a mandatory network access fee of $29 per month per jack will be included on your rent bill. Students who want the service must agree to a $29 per month addition to their rent bill. There is no installation fee.

If you have questions about Ethernet, please contact Columbia University Information Technology directly.

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If my unit is offered with an Ethernet connection, can I cancel the service?

No, this service will eventually be standard for all student units and provision for it will be included in your lease or contract.

If you have questions about Ethernet, please contact Columbia University Information Technology directly.

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Who do I contact if I have questions about my Ethernet service?

University Ethernet is provided by CUIT. For more information, see this page from their Website. You can contact the CUIT Help Desk at (212) 854-1919.

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Transferring

I would like to change my unit. What is the process?

There are two basic types of accommodation transfers:

  • Room to Room Transfers are used when you want to transfer from a dormitory unit or room into another specific dormitory unit or room. You must designate the unit you want to transfer into. We do not consider specific room requests for studios, one bedroom units, or entirely vacant apartments.
  • The General Transfer Process is used when you want to transfer into an unspecified vacant apartment, room, or dormitory unit.

In either case, you must submit an application to transfer. Approval is based on unit availability, number of applicants for transfer, and individual eligibility considerations. Approvals are generally not granted during a student's last year of housing eligibility or affiliation.

You may stay in your current UAH unit if your application is not approved or if you do not select a new unit.

You can find information on the two types of transfer options, as well as the online application, on this page

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I know about a vacant room. Can I transfer into it?

 

You must submit an application for a "Room to Room Transfer."   

You can find information on the two types of transfer options on this page

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When and how do I apply for a Room to Room Transfer?

Applications are available from mid September through mid April from the UAH office. We cannot accept any requests between April 16th and September 14.Vacancies that occur over the summer are automatically allocated to incoming students and thus are not available.

Complete and submit the application. In order for us to proceed a completed vacancy form from the vacating/graduating tenant of the transfer unit must be submit to our office. 

If applicable, a letter from each of the current residents agreeing to your transfer if he/she/they are of the opposite gender.

You can find information on the two types of transfer options, as well as the online application, on this page

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Am I eligible for a Room to Room Transfer?

Eligibility to transfer to other units depends on the details of your current agreement as well as the type of housing allocation you received when you were approved for housing. For example, students in General Studies housing might only be eligible to transfer to another General Studies housing unit. You must also meet the following criteria:

  • Full-time student currently residing in UAH;
  • Up-to-date on rent payments for your current unit;
  • Not in your last year of affiliation/housing eligibility. Please note that priority for Room to Room Transfers will be given to students who are not in their first term at Columbia.

You can find information on the two types of transfer options, as well as the online application, on this page.

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What are the criteria for approval of a Room to Room Transfer?

  • The requested transfer unit must be occupied by at least one current tenant who will continue to reside in the unit for at least one more academic year;
  • If you are requesting to live with a person(s) of the opposite gender, attach a letter to your application from the individual(s) stating that he/she/they would like to share the unit with you;
  • The vacating/graduating tenant has filed a vacancy form with UAH or it is attached to your transfer application.

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What happens after my application has been approved for a Room to Room Transfer?

  • Within two business days of transfer approval, you must accept the unit at the UAH office along with payment of a security deposit. If you are transferring between two dormitory units, a security deposit is not required.
  • Within one week of vacancy of the transfer unit or the end of the transfer period (approximately April 15), whichever comes first, you must: 1) sign your lease; 2) pay the first month's rent and security deposit; 3) provide two new passport-sized photographs; 4) file a vacancy form for your current unit; and 5) take occupancy of the new unit. Units are taken in an "as is" condition.

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What happens if more than one student requests a specific room in an apartment or dormitory in the Room to Room Transfer process?

  • A current resident in an apartment or dormitory has priority for transfer over a student requesting to move in from another apartment or dormitory;
  • If more than one student from within the same apartment or dormitory requests the same unit within the apartment or dormitory, the students will determine who has priority for the requested unit;
  • If two students request to move into the same unit from other apartments or dormitories, the student with the earlier affiliation start date (first term registered for a housing eligible program) has priority;
  • If two students request to move into a unit from other apartments or dormitories and have the same affiliation start date, UAH will determine who has priority.

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When and how do I apply for the General Transfer Process?

Applications are available online. Applications are reviewed in February, March, October, and November. You must apply by the 5th of the month in order for your application to be considered for that month. If you apply later, your application can only be considered for the next period.

If you are applying to transfer into couples' or family housing, please remember that documentation of marriage, domestic partnership, or change of family status will be required. Examples are listed on our Website. If you are applying to transfer into couples' or family housing and currently reside with your spouse/partner at your UAH address, current documentation will still be required when a new lease is signed.

Please keep in mind that the majority of UAH units are apartment shares. Studios and one bedroom units are few in number. Family-sized apartments are so few in number that there may not be any available through the transfer lottery.

You can find information on the two types of transfer options, and the application, on this page

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Am I eligible for the General Transfer Process?

Eligibility to transfer to other units depends on the details of your current agreement as well as the type of housing allocation you received when you were approved for housing. For example, students in General Studies housing might only be eligible to transfer to other General Studies housing units. You must also meet the following criteria:

  • Full time student currently residing in UAH;
  • Up-to-date on rent payments for the current unit;
  • Not in your last year of affiliation/housing eligibility;
  • If applying for transfer from single to couples' housing, you must be in at least your second year of residence in UAH and able to provide documentation of couples' status.

You can find information on the two types of transfer options on this page

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What considerations go into approving an application to participate in the Transfer Lottery Process?

  • Unit availability - whenever possible, we seek to approve transfer applicants who request to move from one apartment share to another or from a studio or one-bedroom unit into a shared accommodation. Priority for studio, one bedroom, and family-sized apartments is given to couples and families;
  • Time in housing - preference is given to students who have completed their first year and have been waiting to transfer the longest;
  • Reason for Transfer.

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How do I find out if my application for the Transfer Process has been approved?

You will be E-mailed after all applications have been processed and reviewed, and you will be notified of any decision.

 

Lease and Contract Renewal

When do I renew my lease or contract?

All student leases and student housing contracts, with the exception of those in International House, terminate on May 31st of each year.

Students who are eligible and wish to remain in UAH for the following academic year are required to extend the lease or contract (with a standardized rent increase) and are held responsible for rent payments over the summer months.

Lease renewal forms will be sent in April or early May. Information on renewing your contract will be sent to you in March or April.   

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I am leaving New York City for the summer and would like to find someone to live in my unit. What should I do?

You may apply to sublet your unit. Sublet Applications are available online and at the OCHA office (allow at least ten working days for the processing of an application). You may also place a listing for your unit online in the Subletting Registry. The Subletting Registry is a free service that lists Columbia units, both furnished and unfurnished, for sublet.

For more information, see Subletting.

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What should I do if I want to sublet my room/apartment beyond May 31st, but my current lease or contract expires on that date?

You are eligible to sublet your room or apartment beyond May 31st once your lease or contract is renewed. If you pay your rent by the month, you should expect to receive your lease renewal forms in April or early May. If you pay your rent by semester, information on renewing your contract will be mailed to you in March or April.  

If you are unable to renew your lease or contract prior to leaving your apartment, please E-mail uah@columbia.edu for more information.

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I did not renew my lease but have now changed my mind and would like to live on campus. What should I do?

If you elect not to renew your lease or contract and later desire UAH accommodations, you must file a new application and will be placed on a Wait List as a continuing student.

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Vacating

Will I lose my deposit if I break my lease or contract?

Leases and contracts may be broken without penalty for the following reasons:

  • You are graduating
  • Your affiliation is expiring
  • You will be taking an approved leave of absence
  • You will be transferring to another UAH accommodation

If you are vacating for any other reason, contact the UAH office to determine if any charges/penalties apply.

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When do I need to vacate my UAH unit if I decide to take an approved leave of absence or enroll as a part-time instead of full-time student?

You must vacate within 30 days of your change in enrollment status. 

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What do I need to do to officially vacate my apartment?

  • Complete the Tenants Notice of Vacancy Form which is available at the UAH office and from our Website.
  • Remove all personal belongings from the apartment. (unfurnished units: remove all personal furniture; furnished units: return furniture to its original location). You will be charged for removal of any debris, belongings and/or furniture remaining in the unit.
  • Clean the unit (empty refrigerator and cabinets, remove all trash, sweep all floors).
  • Disconnect telephone, utility, and cable service with the appropriate utility companies.
  • Return all keys to the superintendent on the day you vacate. Remember to get a receipt for your keys. You will be charged rent until the day the keys are returned.

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How long will it take to receive a refund of my security deposit?

Security deposits are refunded in accordance with the terms of your lease or contract. If you signed a lease, the security deposit will be mailed to your forwarding address within approximately eight weeks after you vacate. If you signed a contract and were billed by Student Financial Services by the semester, your reservation deposit would have been credited to your University SFS account shortly after you moved into your UAH unit.

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Can I use my security deposit as my last month's rent?

The security deposit cannot be used as the last month's rent.

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Do I need to file a Vacancy Form if I am subletting my unit?

Do not file a Notice of Vacancy Form if you are subletting. You remain the primary tenant of record even if you are subletting the unit.

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Maintenance Information

What is the role of my building's Superintendent? Who is my Area Housing Supervisor?

Routine operation and maintenance of your building and apartment is the responsibility of your building's Superintendent who reports to a Director of Residential Services. The names and telephone numbers of your building's Superintendent and Area Housing Supervisor will be provided to you when you sign your lease or contract and are posted in your building. 

See Tenant Information.

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What is the procedure for dealing with a maintenance problem in my apartment or building?

If you have maintenance problem or request, please fill out a maintenance request form which can be found in your building's lobby or basement. Deposit the completed form in the locked maintenance request box located in the same area. Any necessary repairs will be performed either by your Superintendent, other building personnel, or an outside contractor such as a plumber or an electrician. If you do not receive a satisfactory or timely response to your request, or would otherwise like to speak to the Director of Residential Services for your building, please feel free to contact him or her at (212) 854-9301.

If you have an after hours maintenance emergency and cannot locate building personnel, contact the Facilities Service Center at (212) 854-2222.

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How do I obtain more maintenance information?

Please visit the maintenance information in the Tenant Information section of our Website.

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