Tenant Information

Tenant Information

Welcome to Columbia University Apartment Housing (UAH) and, for many of you, to Columbia and New York City as well. This guide includes basic tenant information for easy reference during your stay. 

Leasing Essentials and Other Important Information

 

Building Operations and Maintenance

 

 

 

 

 

RENTERS INSURANCE

During your occupancy in Columbia University Apartment Housing (UAH), it is important that you protect yourself financially against personal property losses by acquiring renter's insurance. Renter's insurance can provide you with coverage for damaged, lost, or stolen personal items as well as personal liability (in the event that someone is injured in your apartment or you damage property that belongs to others). Renter's Insurance can also provide you with the financial means for acquiring temporary living facilities in the event that your residency becomes inhabitable due to severe weather damage or some other form of disaster.

Although Columbia University does not offer renter's insurance, you can find information on how to determine your coverage, survey your items, and find a provider by visiting the Insurance Information Institute's website.

For more information on renters insurance, including examples of companies that provide coverage, please see this link.

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GAS AND ELECTRIC SERVICE

If charges for gas and electric are not included in your rent, you are responsible for making arrangements with Con Edison for service. It generally takes a few days to have service turned on and Con Edison will agree to accept applications for most tenants at 800-752-6633 or online. Questions concerning your gas and electric bill should be addressed to Con Edison. If you are experiencing problems or delays in getting your gas and electric service turned on please contact UAH.

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TELEPHONE SERVICE

Standard Telephone Service (Non-University Provided)

Most tenants are responsible for their own telephone service. For standard telephone service we provide one telephone jack per tenant and residents are responsible for providing their own telephones. To arrange for standard telephone service, contact Verizon at (212) 890-2350.

ROLM Phone Service (University Provided)

If you are assigned to a unit with ROLM phone service, Please contact Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) at (212) 854-1919 for more information.   

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CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE

Residents who wish to have cable TV service should contact Time-Warner at (212) 358-0900.

Residents at Lenfest Hall and 600 West 113th Street must contact Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) at (212) 854-1919 for more information on obtaining cable TV service.

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Ethernet/Internet Service

For many UAH properties, Ethernet service is provided by Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT). For students who sign leases and are billed monthly there is mandatory charge of $29.00 per month for this service. For non-students there is a $40.00 monthly fee for the service. This charge is not included in your rent. The charge for Ethernet is typically included for housing that is billed per semester by Student Financial Services.

For more information on University Ethernet, including a list of those buildings with Ethernet service, see the CUIT website.

Tenants in all other units will need to use either dial-up service, DSL, or cable-based service. For DSL, contact Verizon at (212) 890-2350. For cable-based service, contact Time Warner Cable at (212) 358-0900. For more information on computing and e-mail at Columbia, please visit CUIT.

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DINING

Students are eligible to participate in a University dining services plan. Interested students can contact Dining Services at (212) 854-4076.

Students requesting kosher meals may contact the Beit Ephraim, a cooperative for single students only. The Beit Ephraim offers a community environment and family-style kosher meals. Interested students should visit the Beit Ephraim website.

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FLOOR COVERING

Residents are responsible for providing rugs that cover 80 percent of the floor area to comply with the terms of the lease. Floor coverings help in reducing the amount of foot traffic and other noises in the apartment or room.

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PETS

Pets are strictly prohibited in UAH, except for service animals and those pets kept in aquaria. Students with service animals must register with the Disabilities Office. Failure to abide by this policy may result in the forfeiture of your UAH unit.

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LEASE TERMS

Most residents receive standard New York City leases with additional riders particular to Columbia. All student leases expire on May 31st. Students eligible to remain in housing will receive a lease renewal commencing June 1st with a standard rent increase, provided that the tenant remains in compliance with the terms and conditions of the lease.

If you have questions regarding your continuing housing eligibility please contact the Housing Liaison for your school or program.  

MA students at the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences who wish to remain in student housing must have their requests approved by the school. 

An extension of lease form will be sent to you shortly before your actual lease expires. Residents are responsible for the rent throughout the term of their lease, including the summer months. If you expect to be out of town for 30 days or more for the summer or winter break, you may wish to make arrangements to sublet your apartment for this period. Please visit the Subletting section. Questions regarding your lease or lease extension should be addressed to a representative of the Leasing Department at (212) 854-9300. Please indicate whether you are billed monthly (lease) or by term (contract) so that we may direct your call accordingly.

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STUDENT HOUSING CONTRACT TERMS

University housing contracts are given for all dormitory-style rooms and certain predetermined student apartments. Contracts are billed in full by term to a Student Financial Services (SFS) account. All student contracts expire on May 31.  Students who are eligible to remain in housing will receive a contract renewal commencing June 1st with a standard rent increase, provided that the tenant remains in compliance with the terms and conditions of the contract.

If you have questions regarding your continuing housing eligibility please contact the Housing Liaison for your School.  

MA students at the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences who wish to remain in student housing must have their requests approved by the school. 

If you expect to be out of town for the summer, you may wish to make arrangements to sublet your room or apartment for this period. Procedures for Subletting are discussed in the section on that topic.

Students who are eligible for and require UAH for the following academic year are required to renew the contract. If a student violates the terms and conditions of the student housing contract or other University policies, the contract will not be renewed. When a student graduates or otherwise ceases to maintain the same full-time affiliation, the housing contract automatically terminates and the student must vacate the unit. Students who elect not to renew their contracts and who later desire UAH accommodations must file a new application and will be placed on a Wait List for continuing students.

Questions regarding your student housing contract, except billing questions (see the following section), should be addressed to a representative of the Leasing Department at (212) 854-9349.

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BILLING SCHEDULE FOR RENT PAYMENTS

Leases - Most tenants receive standard New York City apartment leases, and are billed monthly for their rent. The Office of the Controller bills all monthly rent charges. Rent payments are only accepted from the tenant of record. Questions regarding your monthly rent bill or the balance of your account should be addressed to the Office of the Controller at (212) 854-1009. Each tenant who signs a lease is responsible for making the rent payment on the first of each month. Failure to make rent payments in accordance with the terms of your lease may result in legal action as provided for by law, including eviction from University housing.

Contracts - Student Financial Services provides the billing for all contract buildings. These charges are billed on a per-semester basis. Questions regarding room charges should be addressed to the Residential and Commercial Operations Accounting Department at (212) 854-9455. Questions concerning your account balance should be directed to Student Financial Services at (212) 854-4400.

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VACATING YOUR UAH UNIT

If you intend to vacate your room or apartment, please provide notice to the UAH office at least 30 days prior to your planned vacancy date. 

A notice of vacancy may be sumbitted via My Housing Portal. Select the "Moving out" tab. Vacancy forms can also be picked-up from the UAH office or here

Failure to provide proper and timely notice of your vacancy may cause you to continue to remain liable for payment of rent and may result in forfeiture of your security deposit. You are billed until keys are returned to your superintendent. Security deposits cannot be used as your last month's rent payment.

Student 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. 

Checklist for Vacating University Apartment Housing

  • Remove all personal belongings from apartment/unit.
  • Clean unit. Empty refrigerators and cabinets, remove all trash, and sweep all floors.
  • File your forwarding address with the United States Postal Service (USPS).
  • Officially disconnect utilities and cable if applicable.
  • Return all keys to the building personnel on the day you vacate. You will be billed up until the day keys are returned. 

Please note: Security deposits are refunded in accordance with the terms of the lease and are mailed to your forwarding address approximately 6-8 weeks after you vacate. If you live in a semester-billed unit, your reservation fee was credited to your University SFS account when you moved into housing. 

Students who are graduating at the end of the spring semester must vacate no later than May 31st.

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REFUND OF SECURITY DEPOSIT/ ROOM DEPOSIT

After you vacate, your room or apartment will be inspected for damages beyond normal wear and tear. The cost of repairing any such damages or replacing any missing appliances or furniture will be deducted from your security deposit.

Leased Housing - Students who sign leases pay security deposits that are held by a bank and as a result refunds take up to 60 days to process. Filing a Notice of Vacancy form will initiate the vacancy process. Security deposits are mailed to your forwarding address listed on the Notice of Vacancy form, after your unit has been confirmed vacant and keys returned to your Superintendent.

Contract Housing- Students who live in units billed by term will not receive a refund, as these deposits were credited to their Student Financial Services (SFS) account shortly after the contract was originally signed.

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ROUTINE APARTMENT AND BUILDING OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE

Routine operation and maintenance of your building and apartment is the responsibility of your building Superintendent who reports to a Director of Residential Services. The names and telephone numbers of your building Superintendent and Director of Residential Services will be provided to you when you sign your lease or contract and are posted at your building. Any necessary repairs will be performed directly by your Superintendent, building personnel or by a contractor, such as a plumber or an electrician.

MAINTENACE REQUEST

If you have a maintenance problem or request, please fill out a maintenance request form which can be found in your lobby or basement, and deposit the completed form in the locked maintenance request box located in the same area. If you do not receive a satisfactory and timely response to your request or would otherwise like to speak to your Director of Residential Services, feel free to contact him or her at (212) 854-9301.

MAINTENANCE EMERGENCY

  • MAINTENANCE PROBLEM DURING BUSINESS HOURS If you have a serious leak or other maintenance emergency, please contact your Superintendent or your Director of Residential Services at at (212) 854-9301 during normal business hours. In most buildings, Superintendents are on duty from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.
  • AFTER HOURS If you have an emergency or urgent problem during the evening, night, weekends, or on University holidays, first contact your Building Superintendent. While building Superintendents are not required to be on the premises at all times, they are required to respond to emergencies if they are available. If you cannot reach your Building Superintendent during off-hours, please call the Facilities Service Center at (212) 854-2222. This 24 hour telephone service is designed to handle emergencies and urgent maintenance problems. These may include problems with heat or hot water, floods, plumbing leaks (not slowly dripping faucets), elevator problems, and the like.

See also Department of Public Safety .

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SUPERINTENDENTS 

The Superintendent for your building is directly responsible for the maintenance and operation of your building and its systems. His/Her responsibilities include staff supervision, contractor supervision, janitorial maintenance, preventive maintenance, repairs, and building services. He or she is expected to respond promptly and courteously to your requests or complaints regarding service and /or maintenance. Superintendents carry pagers and are expected to be on call 24 hours a day, but only for emergencies after their regular working hours. In most buildings, Superintendents work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

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DIRECTORS OF RESIDENTIAL SERVICES

Directors of Residential Services work out of the University Apartment Housing office and are responsible for overseeing and ensuring the efficient operation of your building. Directors of Residential Services work with Superintendents, building staff, and contractors to provide the best possible service to you and your neighbors. If you have a special problem that the building Superintendent has not been able to correct, you should contact your Director of Residential Services at the phone number or email address indicated below. Please keep in mind that Directors of Residential Services are often in the field inspecting buildings and apartments and it may take a few hours for you to receive a return call. If your Director of Residential Services is not available when you call, please leave a message with a phone number or, if your problem is urgent, ask to speak to another available Director of Residential Services. Below is an alphabetical list of Directors of Residential Services:

If they are not available you may also speak to their supervisor, Mark Kerman, Associate Vice President, Residential & Commercial Operations. He can also be reached at (212) 854-9301 or mk17@columbia.edu

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HEAT AND HOT WATER PROBLEMS

The heating season begins October 1st and ends May 31st. Our goal is to maintain a warm and comfortable temperature in your apartment according to the following New York City guidelines.

Between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., whenever the outside temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, we plan to maintain a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit in residential spaces. Between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., we plan to keep residential spaces at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, when the outside temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Each building has different devices that monitor both outside and inside temperatures to insure that we comply with these guidelines. As with all types of equipment, heating equipment may fail and need repair from time to time, and we appreciate your cooperation when heating or boiler repairs are being made. If you have any heating complaints, please complete a Maintenance Request Form and inform your Superintendent or Director of Residential Services.

If you have no heat or hot water and a notice of service interruption has not been posted in the building, please follow the procedures for Emergencies and Urgent Off-Hour Problems.

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RADIATORS 

Radiator valves cannot be used to regulate the amount of heat in your apartment. These valves must be either fully opened or fully closed. Leaving valves partially open can cause banging, leaks, and the inefficient operation of the building's heating system. If you are experiencing any problems with your radiators, please fill out a Maintenance Request Form and inform your Superintendent.

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ELEVATORS

If an elevator is out of service or is not functioning properly and an out of service notice is not posted on the elevator, please follow the emergency procedures outlined above. When necessary an elevator service contractor will be contacted and will respond within one to two hours depending upon the day and hour and the availability of service mechanics.

If you believe that a passenger is trapped in the elevator, please call the building Superintendent or Director of Residential Services immediately at (212) 854-9301. During off hours or weekends please call your Superintendent first and then the Facilities Service Center at (212) 854-2222.

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CHARGES FOR REPAIRS, DAMAGES, AND LOCKOUTS

Damages

The cost of repairing damages to your apartment or a neighboring apartment caused by neglect or misuse may be charged to your account.

Lockouts

During normal working hours, there is no charge for lockouts, provided lockouts do not happen frequently. After 4:00 p.m., a charge of $30.00 will be posted to your rent account. This charge is based on the overtime cost, including fringe benefits and taxes that will be paid to the Superintendent for working after hours. If the building staff does not have a copy of your key, or if staff members are not available, you must call a locksmith and pay him/her directly.

Stoppages

The cost of clearing stoppages in plumbing fixtures caused by a foreign object (i.e., toy, pen, etc.) that requires an outside plumber will be charged to your rent account. Typically, the charge will range from $45.00 to $90.00.

Refrigerators

The cost of replacing a refrigerator that is punctured during defrosting will be charged to your account. Please do not use sharp instruments when defrosting your freezer. This could cause permanent damage to the refrigerator.

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WINDOW GUARDS FOR CHILDREN

All residents should receive a child guard notice when they sign their lease and once per year thereafter. NYC landlords are required by law to install child guards in your apartment if you have children less than ten years of age living with you or if you request child guards. If small children visit your apartment, child guards should be installed. If for some reason you did not receive a child guard notice, or if your circumstances with regard to resident or a visiting child change, please contact your Superintendent or Director of Residential Services immediately.

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EXTERMINATING

Your building is treated by an exterminating company at least once a month. A notice is posted in your building before the scheduled treatment date to allow you to sign up and request extermination in your apartment. If you do not sign this notice, the exterminator will not treat your apartment. We encourage all tenants to have their apartments treated at least every other month. If the exterminator has been treating your apartment and you continue to have problems or if you have a special request, please contact your Superintendent or Director of Residential Services.

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BED BUGS

Bed bug infestations have been steadily increasing in New York City once again, and infestations can occur in any type of apartment. If you think you may have bed bugs in your housing it is very important that you contact your building personnel immediately.

Columbia University is committed to addressing infestations quickly and effectively, and takes these matters very seriously. The University investigates every report it receives about suspected bed bugs and has successfully treated all problems that have been identified by the pest control specialists that we use. While the percentage of University Apartment Housing units that have been affected by bed bugs in the past year is less than 0.1% , we would like to provide you with further information about how you and Columbia can work together to prevent bed bugs and eliminate them if they are found.

Below are suggestions that may help to avoid bringing bed bugs into an apartment:

1. Do NOT pick up any used furniture off the street, even if it appears to be in good condition.

2. Do NOT buy used mattresses or any other used furniture.

3. When returning home from travelling, immediately wash your clothes. Use the highest water temperature possible, and the highest dryer setting. Other sensitive items can be placed in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes. Vacuum all luggage and then place in a plastic bag tied tight until needed. If you don't have time to do this immediately, store all luggage and contents in a tightly sealed plastic bag until all items can be properly cleaned.

4. Vacuum your home regularly. Use a HEPA filter vacuum, and change the bag often. Vacuum all moldings, bed frames, mattresses, cracks and crevices, curtains, window panes, and exterior and interior furniture. Vacuum once a week, or at the very least, once a month. Cleaning is a must! On a regular basis, wash all floors, moldings, furniture, etc with soap containing essential oils (i.e.: Murphy's oil). It is important to inspect and clean behind all hanging picture frames as well. Avoid clutter whenever possible.

5. If you do happen to get bed bugs, do not attempt self treatment! Contact your superintendent or the Director of Residential Services for your building immediately. This will eradicate the situation sooner and avoid infestation.

6. Do not be embarrassed to notify your workplace, school, or other locations you frequent that you have bed bugs. This will allow them to inspect their premises, and help prevent you from bringing bed bugs back into your home after treatment.

7. Stay educated! Don't wait for a problem to arise before you begin educating yourself. There is a great deal of information available regarding the history of bed bugs, and proactive ways of preventing them, or dealing with an infestation.

For more information on bed bugs, please see this information from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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RECYCLING

We encourage all residents to cooperate with Columbia's and New York City's recycling programs. Your assistance in properly cleaning and separating recyclable material will allow building personnel to devote more time to other needed tasks and will help keep your building and neighborhood cleaner. Residents are asked to separate all newspapers, magazines, corrugated cardboard, jars, bottles, and cans and to place them in the designated recycling area of their building.

Please keep in mind that recyclables are picked up by the Department of Sanitation only once per week. Rinsing jars, bottles, and cans before disposal will keep the building cleaner and help control vermin. Please tie up newspapers, magazines, and cardboard when putting them out for pickup.

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APARTMENT INSPECTION FOR GRADUATING TENANTS

Units occupied by graduating students are inspected prior to the current occupant's vacancy. Due to time constraints of preparing units for incoming students, these inspections and assessments are performed throughout the year, generally within three months of a student's graduation. Each inspection typically takes 15 minutes. The building Superintendent will provide access to each unit, so the inspection does not need to be scheduled in advance and the tenant does not need to be home. All inspections are performed by a member of the Residential Operations central staff. 

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DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

The University takes special measures to provide a secure living environment for all its residents. All UAH-owned buildings have Superintendents residing either in or very near the building. The Columbia University Department of Public Safety instructs and oversees all building personnel on security and safety procedures, making Morningside Heights one of the safest neighborhoods in New York.

Columbia University's Department of Public Safety also provides car and foot patrols for the entire UAH area. They also maintain strategically situated guard kiosks and provide coverage for emergency call boxes located throughout the area. The Morningside Area Alliance, a community service organization founded by the major institutions in the Heights, provides additional security patrols. Evening and night shuttle and escort services to locations throughout the neighborhood are available to all Columbia students.

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TELEPHONE NUMBERS

CONTACT US  

University Apartment Housing Leasing Office

(212) 854-9300

Residential Operations & Maintenance  (212) 854 -9301
Facilities Service Center
For after hours maintenance emergencies
 (212) 854-2222
Off-Campus Housing Assistance Office

(212) 854-2773 ocha@columbia.edu

Office of the Controller
Billing for tenants with leases (monthly billing)
 (212) 854-1009
Student Financial Services
Billing for tenants with contracts (billed by semester)
 (212) 854-4400

University Department of Public Safety

Escort Service (8:00 p.m. - 3 :00 a.m.):        (212) 854-SAFE

 (212) 854-5555 
Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT)
ROLM Phone and Ethernet service
 (212) 854-1919

Con Edison Gas and electricity service

 1-800-752-6633
Verizon Telephone/DSL service  (212) 890-2350 

Time-Warner (Cable TV/Internet Service)

 (212) 358-0900 

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