Housing Essentials

Columbia University Housing for Postdoctoral Fellows, Visiting Scholars, Journalism Fellows, and Law Associates

Welcome to Columbia Housing! Below you will find all you need to know about obtaining University housing as a fellow. Use the quick links below for easy navigation. 


How to Apply

Postdoctoral Appointees, Visiting Scholars, Journalism Fellows, and Law Associates/Fellow(s) interested in obtaining University housing should submit an application online to the University Apartment Housing (UAH) office. Your school or department will first need to provide login infomration.

Click here to access My Housing Portal. You will need to create an account before accessing the portal.

If you are a Postdoctoral Appointee at Columbia University Medical Center, please contact Noemi Bueno for information on eligibility for housing, the CUMC approval process, and login information for the UAH application.  

UAH forwards all fellow housing applications to the appropriate sponsoring department for review and approval. No housing assignment can be made without department and school approval, and is subject to availability at the time of the housing request. If you requested that UAH directly assign an apartment to you, an Offer of Assignment will be emailed to you after UAH receives approval from your sponsoring department/school (approximately 30 days before the start date of your appointment). These procedures are more fully described below.

Any fellow with a disability or health condition that may affect his or her assignment is urged to apply for housing as early as possible and to indicate the disability on the application. These fellows must also contact the Office of Disabilities Services (212) 854-2388; TDD: (212) 854-2388; Fax: (212) 854-3448; E-mail: disability@columbia.edu.

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University Apartment Housing for approved postdoctoral appointees, visiting scholars and selected fellows is only for the duration of a full-time appointment and in no event may exceed a period of three years. Approval for housing is obtained from one's department or school, and postdocs must contact the UAH housing office within 30 days of receiving notice of approval. 

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Types of Housing Available

UAH housing is managed by Columbia University Facilities. These properties consist of apartments, primarily located within a few blocks of the campus. Fellows with a family (spouse/partner and small children) are typically accommodated in one or two bedroom apartments, subject to availability. Studio efficiencies and smaller one bedroom apartments are generally designated for singles and couples. 

Most accommodations are unfurnished, with only a very few furnished units available. Fellows with short term stays and Visiting Scholars have priority for the few furnished units available. These units may include a single bed (full sized mattress for couples' housing), desk, chair, dresser, and lamp in the bedroom, with a couch, coffee table, and/or chairs in the living room, as well as a dining table with chairs, space permitting. Linens, cooking utensils, dishes, and cutlery are not provided.

A stove and refrigerator are installed in all units, furnished and unfurnished. In general, air conditioners, dishwashers, and microwave ovens are not provided. Additionally, UAH doesn't maintain a listing of furniture or other household items that may be for sale by current or vacating residents. 

Please carefully review the descriptions and rate information presented below to determine the type of housing unit most suitable for your needs and personal budget. 

1.  Efficiency/Studio Apartments

Typically efficiencies or studios are one-room apartments under 500 square feet, with a private bathroom and a kitchen either along one wall of the room, or separated slightly from the main room. Studio efficiencies are designated mainly for single tenants, or couples seeking affordable housing. Heat and hot water are included in the cost of all units. Utilities (electricity, gas) may or may not be included in the rent, depending on the building. Efficiency apartments are limited in number and demand usually exceeds availability.

2.  One and Two Bedroom Apartments

One and Two Bedroom apartment units have multiple rooms: a living room, kitchen facilities, one or two separate bedrooms and a bathroom. They vary in size and cost, and almost always are unfurnished. Utilities are generally not included in the rent.

One bedrooms are generally reserved for couples and fellows with children. Though single fellows may be offered an one bedroom if no studio efficiencies are available. Two bedroom apartments are very limited in supply and are strictly reserved for fellows with families (spouse/partner and small children).

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University Apartment Housing Rates

Below are the monthly rate ranges for each type of accommodation. Heat and hot water are included in the cost for all units. It should be noted that for most units utilities are NOT included in the rent, and an additional cost of approximately $60-100 per month per unit should be anticipated for electricity and/or gas. It is the fellow's responsibility to contact Con Edison (800-752-6633) to arrange for their services, either before or immediately after signing a lease. Phone and cable television are not included; contracting providers for those services is also the responsibility of the fellow. In units without Ethernet, fellows must contact the phone or cable company for internet service.  

2017-2018 Monthly Rental Rates*

  Unfurnished  Furnished 
Studio/Efficiency   $1525 - $2000 $1650 - $2250
 One Bedroom  $1650 - $2500 $1800 - $2750
 Two Bedroom   $1950 - $3200  n/a

*Please note that rental rates vary depending on apartment/room size, layout, furnishings, location, and building amenities. 

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Selecting a University Apartment

In the housing application a fellow will be asked to list their preferences for type of housing, and then select: a) if they would like UAH to assign an apartment via email, in advance of their arrival (Direct Assignment); or b) if they would like to view available housing at the time of their arrival in order to select an apartment (In-Person Selection).

If budget factors into one's choice of housing, it is advisable to list a range of rents that would be most comfortable in the comment field of the fellow's housing application. Please consult the Apartment Housing Rates above. Because fellows housing is limited, there is no guarantee that apartments in a particular range or type will be available at the time of the housing request.

Direct Assignment of Housing

Only applicants approved by their department or school will be offered Columbia housing assignments. In making housing offers, UAH considers the following factors: your status (single, couple, or family); preferences indicated on your application; the date you will arrive; and the availability of accommodations at the time of your arrival. You will be emailed an "Offer of Assignment" which will include a brief description of the unit, general tenant information, and instructions for accepting the Offer. You will also receive information about payment of the required deposits (equivalent to two months' rent).

To accept an Offer of Assignment:

  • Email the UAH office to accept the Offer and confirm the Billing Start Date (the date from which you will be responsible for rental payments);
  • Pay the required deposits (usually equivalent to 2 months' rent) detailed in your Offer of Assignment by credit or debit card. UAH accepts VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, and Discover cards. If you cannot make these payments using a credit card, alternative instructions will be included with your Offer of Assignment.

If you have any questions about the Offer, please contact the UAH office at (212) 854-9313.

Fellow Viewing and Selection of Housing  

Fellows with approval from their departments/schools who would like to view available apartments before making a selection should contact the UAH office to make an appointment. Apartments may be viewed on Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

In order to lease an apartment after viewing, you must inform UAH that you would like to accept the housing offer via email or in person, and pay the required deposit(usually equivalent to 2 months' rent) with a credit or debit card. Move-in must be completed within one week of selection.

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Lease Signing Appointments 

Appointments can only be made once an Offer of Assignment has been accepted by the fellow and our records show payment of the required deposit for a unit.

Lease signing appointments are available from Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The UAH office is not open on Saturdays, Sundays, and University holidays. If arriving in New York City after business hours or on a weekend or holiday, fellows will need to secure temporary accommodations.

The following items are required at the time of your lease signing:

  1. Photo Identification (Driver license, valid passport, Columbia ID)
  2. Two passport size photographs each of yourself, partner and children;
  3. Proof of partnership for fellows requesting couple or family housing (marriage license/domestic partnership documents, bank, utility statements, or a recent lease in both names, and a notarized English translation where applicable); partner's photo ID.
  4. Social Security number or, valid passport and visa to be photocopied by UAH.

To Move In

Fellows are required to sign a lease in the UAH office before obtaining apartment keys (see section above).

After the lease is signed, fellows may pick-up keys from the building superintendent between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Move-ins are allowed from Monday through Friday (excluding University holidays).

No deliveries will be accepted on behalf of fellows at Columbia apartments before lease signing and move-in.

Moving hours are Monday through Friday between 9 AM and 4 PM. Furniture may not be moved at other times. 

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Tenant Information

For information on establishing utilities, billing, vacating procedures, and other housing related issues for new and current tenants, please see the Tenant Information Guide on our website.

This guide includes basic tenant information. Please refer to this page during your stay in University Apartment Housing. If you have questions or encounter problems please feel free to write to the appropriate University staff as indicated.

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