Housing Portal

Policies, Terms & Conditions


Residents in Columbia Residential are responsible for remaining in compliance with all policies in the housing agreement and any additional policies listed here. Please refer to your housing agreement or contact us for more information.

Air Conditioners
Apartment Inspections
Assignments & Self-Selection
Bar Housing Extensions
Billing & Payments
Cancelling your Housing
Caring for your Unit, Damage & Vandalism
Changes and Alterations to your Unit
Cleaning & Apartment Maintenance
Couple & Family Housing
Disability Housing Accommodations
Disruptive Behavior
Eligibility for Housing 
Emergency Contact Information
Entry into Occupied Apartments
Extermination Services
Fire Safety
Furnishings, Fixtures, Keys & Locks
Gas Service Interruptions & Safety
Gender Neutral Housing
Heat & Hot Water
Internet, Phone & Cable TV
Lead Information
Mail & Packages
Maintenance Requests & Emergencies
Media & Filming
Moving Bins
Moving In
Moving Out
Part-Time Enrollment Exception
Public Access Ways
Religious Accommodation Requests
Renewing the Housing Agreement
Renters Insurance
Reservation Fee
Residency Verifications
Rooftop Access
Roommate Rights, Responsibilities, Respect for Community & Mediation
Rugs & Floor Covering
Short-Term Housing Request for Graduating Students
Window Guards

Air Conditioners

Most Columbia Residential units do not come with air conditioners, but students are welcome to purchase one and have it professionally installed in their unit. Air conditioners must be installed safely and per manufacturer's instructions. Air conditioners that are installed improperly are safety hazards and are considered violation by the New York City Department of Buildings. Our buildings are inspected regularly by building staff and engineers to identify unsafe conditions, and air conditioners are frequently found to be installed incorrectly. For safety reasons, all window and portable air conditioners must be professionally installed. Building staff may not assist with AC installation.

Please keep the following in mind:

  • Select a unit that is properly sized for the space you will be cooling.
  • Select an energy efficient unit identified with an "Energy Star" label. This will reduce electric costs and save energy.
  • The unit should be fastened securely from the inside with angles or by otherwise fastening it to the interior window frame.
  • Any unit supported from underneath on the exterior should be supported using metal brackets that are properly secured. Loose objects such as wood blocks or bricks are considered safety hazards and cannot be used.
  • The air conditioner should be slightly tilted to provide adequate water drainage and prevent leaking into your apartment or other apartments.
  • Do not block fire escapes or any other exit with an air conditioner unit.
  • Change your air conditioner filter at least once every couple of months during cooling season. A dirty air conditioner filter will increase electric costs and waste energy.
  • For more information on proper sizing and energy efficient air conditioners, please visit www.energystar.gov or www.aceee.org/consumerguide
  • For more window air conditioner installation information tips, please visit NYC Buildings

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Apartment Inspections 

Units occupied by graduating students are inspected prior to the current resident'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 Facilities & Operations staff. 

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Assignments & Self-Selection

All Columbia Residential housing assignments are made through self-selection. New students approved for housing and current residents approved to transfer may self-select a room or apartment that best fits their needs.

Approved students will receive an email with the date and time of their assigned selection round, inviting them to participate in a self-selection round. During their assigned round, they will review a list of available units (including address, apartment number and building amenities) and rank three choices.

At the end of that day's selection rounds, participants will receive one housing offer, viewable in the Housing Portal. To accept the offer, students must choose a move-in date and pay the reservation fee before the offer expires (typically the following business day).

Kindly note, while it is unlikely to occur, the University reserves the right to change your assignment at any time prior to the executioni of your housing agreement. 

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Bar Housing Extensions

Graduating Law students who are in good standing with the University may apply for an extension to their housing agreement to study for the New York Bar Exam.

2020 Extension Period
  • June 1, 2020 - July 31, 2020 

2020 Application Deadline

  • February 28, 2020


  • Residents in all Columbia Residential and Law School buildings are eligible to apply
    Not Eligible: residents in International House
  • Resident must be in good standing with the University
  • Resident must be scheduled to graduate in May
  • Resident must be up-to-date on rental payments
  • Resident must intend to remain for the full Bar Housing period. Those interested in short-term housing (fewer than 30 days beyond the end of the housing agreement) should submit a Short-Term Housing Request instead
  • Unit must be inspected by building staff and cleared for Bar Housing. Inspections typically happen in March, and notices will be sent at least 24 hours prior to staff visit to the unit
  • Eligibility does not guarantee approval
Terms & Conditions
  • Approved residents must sign their housing renewal through DocuSign by May 1
  • Approved residents are subject to the Bar Housing cancellation guidelines indicated below
  • Housing will be billed in accordance with applicable rental rates for the new academic year; these rates may be higher than current rates
  • Residents must acknowledge that construction projects in neighboring apartments may be scheduled during the Bar Housing period, and construction noise should be expected during daytime hours. Summer is the busiest time for construction in University buildings, and projects cannot be placed on hold during Bar Housing
Applying for Bar Housing
  • Guidelines and application instructions will be sent to graduating Law students in mid-February 


  • Sent via email by April 15
  • APPROVED: resident must sign housing renewal by May 1
  • DENIED: resident must move out of University housing by May 31


  • Cancellation requests must be received in writing at residential@columbia.edu
  • Cancellations received before May 1: resident must vacate by May 31
  • Cancellations received after signing of extension requires 2 weeks notice
    Vacancy date June 30 or earlier: $1000 cancellation fee + billed until officially moved out
    Vacancy date July 1 to end of Bar Housing period: No cancellation fee + billed through end of Bar Housing period 

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If you think you may have bedbugs in your unit, it is very important that you contact building staff immediately.

Columbia University is committed to addressing infestations quickly and effectively and takes these matters very seriously. 

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

  • Do NOT pick up any used furniture off the street, even if it appears to be in good condition.
  • Do NOT buy used mattresses or any other used furniture.
  • When returning home from traveling, 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.
  • 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.
  • If you do happen to get bedbugs, do not attempt self-treatment. Contact building staff immediately. This will eradicate the situation sooner and avoid infestation.
  • Do not be embarrassed to notify your workplace, school, or other locations you frequent that you have bedbugs. This will allow them to inspect their premises and help prevent you from bringing bedbugs back into your home after treatment.
  • 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 bedbugs, and proactive ways of preventing them, or dealing with an infestation.

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Billing & Payments

For information on billing and payments for Columbia Residential units, please review Billing.

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Cancelling your Housing 

Residents who cancel their housing must inform Columbia Residential in writing to provide notice of moving out. Should you wish to cancel your housing, please review Moving Out.

Cancellation fees may apply:

With Liability | Voluntary Withdrawal, Leave of Absence,
Moving Off-Campus (including for Study Abroad/Fieldwork)
From To Cancellation Fee Rent Proration
June 1 November 30 $1000 Billed until Officially Moved Out
December 1 December 31 None None; Billed through December 31
January 1 April 30 $1000 Billed until Officially Moved Out 
May 1 May 31 None None; Billed through May 31
Without Liability | CU-Required Withdrawal, Graduation, Medical Leave,
Required Military Service, Transfer to another Columbia Residential unit
Reason Move Out Cancellation Fee Rent Proration

Graduation or
End of Housing Eligibility

Within month
affiliation ends

None None; billed through end of 
semester of move-out
Other Without Liability See below None  Billed until Officially Moved Out 

Overstays: residents who remain in the unit beyond the end of their affiliation/eligibility will be billed for additional days + $1000 penalty fee. 

NOTE: Rent is not prorated during May, December, and the final month before affiliation ends. 

Student housing may be canceled without a cancellation fee for the following reasons:

  • You will be transferring to another Columbia Residential unit
    (Move-out required within 1 business day after transfer)
  • Your affiliation is expiring (in the month of move-out)
Degree Conferred* Move Out without Cancellation Fee**
May May 1 - 31
October July 15 - August 15
February December 1 - 31
*PhD students must vacate no more than 60 days after the defense date, regardless of when the degree is conferred.
**Rent is not prorated during these periods, regardless of the reason for move-out.
  • You will be taking an approved medical leave of absence
  • The University requires you to withdraw
  • Required military service

    NOTE: Unless otherwise specified above, move-out required within 30 days of affiliation/status change or withdrawal. If move-out does not occur within this time frame, cancellation fee may apply.

If you are moving out for any other reason, please contact us.

If you are charged a cancellation fee and you believe there are extenuating circumstances that justify an exception to the cancellation policy, please contact us for information on requesting a fee waiver. All waiver request forms and supporting documentation must be received within 30 days of the vacancy date; requests received more than 30 days after vacancy will not be considered. Kindly note, requesting a waiver does not guarantee a fee reversal. 

For information on canceling a housing assignment prior to moving in, please review Reservation Fee.

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Caring for Your Unit, Damage & Vandalism

Residents are financially responsible for any damages, vandalism, missing items, or unsatisfactory conditions in their room, suite, apartment or common areas. Knowingly and/or recklessly damaging, destroying, defacing, and/or tampering with University, public or private property of another person, is prohibited.

Any damage, whether intentional or accidental, should be reported to Columbia Residential. Damages to items or areas not reported to Columbia Residential will be considered the joint responsibility of all residents in the unit. Repair or replacement costs will be charged to the student accounts of all individuals responsible. When this is not possible, costs will be shared by residents of that room/suite/apartment.

Residents will be charged for costs including, but not limited to:

  • Replacing or repairing furnishings, appliances, or fixtures that have been altered or removed without express written approval of Columbia Residential
  • Additional cleaning of unit after move-out
  • Cleaning violations requiring Columbia Residential corrective action
  • Removing abandoned items after move-out
  • Repairing and restoring unit beyond wear and tear
Damage beyond normal wear and tear may include but is not limited to:
  • Walls: marks, stripped paint, torn wallpaper, excessive number of holes in the walls, large holes in the walls
  • Carpets: tears, burns, blotches, stains, odors
  • Wood and hard surface floors: deep scratches, gouges
  • Furnishings: missing or broken lighting fixtures, damaged furniture
  • Windows and doors: broken or cracked glass, broken hinges, broken or missing door knobs
  • Flea infestation
  • Appliances: damaged stove burners, broken refrigerator compartments, appliances that no longer work
  • Bathrooms: broken fixtures, broken mirrors, missing tiles, clogged drains, drainage issues from misuse 

Changes and Alterations to Your Unit

Residents may not build in, add to, change or alter the unit in any way without advanced written consent from Columbia Residential. The following items are prohibited: dishwashers, clothes washing or drying machines, electric stoves, garbage disposal units, heating or ventilating units, or any electrical equipment which will overload the existing wiring installation in the building, and any water-filled furniture.

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Cleaning & Apartment Maintenance

Residents of Columbia Residential must maintain satisfactory sanitation and safety standards in their unit. Resident rooms and common areas must be kept clean and clutter-free. Trash and recycling must be appropriately discarded on a regular basis. Violation of this policy may result in cleaning charges (minimum $200) or loss of eligibility for student housing.

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Residents must comply with all present and future city, state and federal laws and regulations, with all rules listed in the housing agreement, and any future reasonable rules. You are responsible for the behavior of yourself, your immediate family, and any visiting guests.

Residents are required to comply with the legitimate request of a University official acting in the performance of their duty. Failure to comply may result in the matter being reported to the school's Student Conduct board.

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Couple & Family Housing & Recertification

Columbia Residential is unable to provide housing to accommodate friends or relatives other than, in very limited number, partners and/or dependent children. If both partners are students and are both eligible for housing, only one application will be considered, and one offer given (if approved).

Requirements for Couples & Families in Housing

To move into or renew an agreement for couple or family housing, the following documentation must be presented at the Columbia Residential office at the time of the move-in or renewal appointment:

  • Photo ID for each resident
  • Birth certificate for each dependent child (if applicable).
    Families with dependent children 18 & over must show proof that each child is a legal dependent. A legal dependent is defined as a child under the age of 19 (or under 24 if enrolled as a full-time student).
  • Partner and/or dependent children must be present at the move-in appointment. If partner is not present at move-in, resident must provide proof of partner's arrival within 30 days. If such proof is not provided, student will not be permitted to move in. Only the partner listed in the original housing application may live in the unit.
  • Partner and/or children must move in and complete Housing Compliance within 30 days of resident's move-in date; failure to comply with these regulations may result in a reassignment or the termination of the housing agreement.
Recertification and Renewing the Housing Agreement
  • Residents in couple or family housing must complete the recertification process before becoming eligible to renew their housing agreement
  • Information on recertification is sent at the end of March to all couples and families eligible for a renewal
  • Residents must come to the Columbia Residential office with their partner and/or dependent children & applicable family documentation to recertify
  • Recertification must be completed between April 1 - 30. Residents who cannot make it during business hours should email residential@columbia.edu to confirm a time during business hours when they can come in to recertify
  • Residents who do not complete recertification will not receive a renewal and must move out of housing by the end of their agreement
  • See Renewing the Housing Agreement for more information about the Couple & Family Recertification & Renewal process

Terms & Conditions of Couple & Family Housing

  • Students must notify Columbia Residential immediately of any change in couple or family status and agree to be reassigned or vacate should their status change. Failure to report this change in status could result in a housing reassignment, immediate termination of the housing agreement, and/or other administrative penalties. 
  • Only the partner listed in the original housing application may move into the unit.
  • Students' partner and/or dependent child(ren) must live full-time in the unit immediately upon signing the agreement and receiving keys.
  • Partner and/or dependent child(ren) have no independent right of occupancy and must vacate upon termination of the housing agreement or their relationship to the student, whichever occurs first.
  • Students agree to furnish any further documentation that Columbia Residential may require regarding their status.
  • Any false or misleading statements made may result in the cancellation of the housing agreement.

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Disability Housing Accommodations

Students who require special accommodations must register with the Office of Disability Services for consideration. Students must be otherwise eligible for University housing to be eligible for disability housing accommodations. For complete information regarding this process please visit Disability Services.

Deadlines: June 1st for fall semester; November 1st for spring semester. While applications submitted after these dates will be accepted and considered, Columbia cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants' accommodation needs, including any needs that develop during the semester.

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Residents who choose to participate in a University dining plan should visit Dining Services

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Disruptive Behavior

Residents will not engage in objectionable conduct - any behavior which makes the unit or building less fit to live in for its occupants, or anything that interferes with the right of others to properly and peacefully enjoy their units. Residents may not cause conditions that are dangerous, hazardous, unsanitary and detrimental to other tenants in the building. Violation of this policy may result in the loss of eligibility for student housing.

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Eligibility for Housing

Students in the following schools/programs who are enrolled full-time in a housing-eligible degree program may apply for housing through Columbia Residential:

  • American Language Program
  • Business
  • Engineering (Graduate)
  • Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation
  • Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • School of the Arts
  • School of General Studies
  • School of International & Public Affairs
  • School of Professional Studies (Masters students only)
  • Social Work

Students enrolled in executive programs are not eligible for housing.

  • Students in Columbia Residential must be enrolled full-time in a housing-eligible program to remain in housing. Students who drop below full-time status must vacate within 30 days.
    Students may request an exception for part-time status once throughout their time in Columbia Residential. See Part-Time Enrollment Exception for more information.
  • Postbac Premed students enrolled for fewer than 12 credits are also eligible if they are registered for at least 9 credits and are simultaneously fulfilling their clinical volunteer work requirement of at least 3 hours per week and 42 hours per semester. International students must be taking 12 credits per term to remain full time.
  • At any time during the term of the housing agreement, Columbia Residential may request that you promptly provide proof that you are a full-time housing-eligible student. Failure to provide such proof may result in the termination of your housing agreement.
  • In general, student housing is limited to the length of the degree program. Please review Program Eligibility Terms for more information on length of housing eligibility for each program.
  • GSAS MA students are limited to one academic year of housing, starting from the first date of registration for their program. Students in certain programs may be eligible for an additional semester in housing only with GSAS approval.
  • PhD students are limited to five consecutive years in housing starting from the first date of registration for the program. PhD students may request an additional one or two years for a maximum of seven years. Any extension beyond the fifth year must be approved by the school. Extensions beyond the 7th year will not be granted.
  • You may only be listed as a resident in one University apartment at a time, whether as a resident or partner of a resident. You cannot apply as a new resident if you currently live in Columbia Residential.
  • Students whose affiliation is expiring must vacate housing according to the time frame outlined below: 
    Degree Conferred* Move Out Date**
    May May 31 
    October August 15
    February December 31
    *PhD students must vacate housing within 60 days of the date of defense, regardless of when the degree is conferred.
    **Please review Cancellation for more information about cancellation fees and rent proration.

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Emergency Contact Information

In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, all students residing in university housing must have the option of identifying a person whom the University will notify if the student is determined missing by the Department of Public Safety or the local law enforcement agency. Columbia provides this option to all students. The contact information will be confidential, accessible only to authorized campus officials and law enforcement, and may not be disclosed outside a missing person investigation. More information about the Missing Student Procedure provision is available in the Public Safety Annual Report. Students can update the contact information on SSOL.

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Entry into Occupied Apartments 

During reasonable hours and with reasonable notice, except in emergencies, the housing agreement authorizes Columbia to enter the unit to:

  • inspect the unit
  • for health, safety or emergency reasons
  • to ensure that the resident remains in compliance with the terms of the housing agreement 
Vacant rooms in apartment shares may also be shown to prospective residents during the superintendent's working hours; in such cases, the prospective resident would be accompanied by building staff.

In the event of an emergency, advance notice may not be provided. 

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Extermination Services

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 submit a maintenance request.

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Fire Safety

Fire safety is extremely important in any living environment. It is a resident's responsibility to ensure that safety is maintained at all times. Apartment inspections may be conducted during any fire drill that occurs to ensure that fire safety equipment is in place and not damaged. It is a violation of Columbia Residential policy to:

  • fail to evacuate within a reasonable amount of time during any fire alarm or fire drill
  • tamper with fire safety equipment or engage in the improper use of fire fighting, detection or alarm equipment
  • place false alarms, interfere with the proper function of a fire alarm system or any other safety device 
Residents should learn the location of fire alarms and exits in their buildings, keep all fire doors closed, and report any damaged or missing safety equipment. Residents may not possess items that operate with an operate with an open flame (i.e. grills, lanterns, candles or incesnse), or flammable materials such as gasoline, kerosene or propane.
Fire Safety Tips
  • Do not overload electrical outlets at any time. Only one appliance should be plugged into each socket in the outlet.
  • Do not use extension cords, only surge protectors. Never use multiple extension cords. 
  • Do not operate two or more high-amperage appliances simultaneously (i.e. a computer and a hair dryer).
  • Do use a surge suppressor to protect computers and other sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Do not remove cooking equipment from a kitchen area.
  • Do not leave cooking equipment unattended during use.

Furnishings, Fixtures, Keys & Locks

Residents must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Residents may not remove or alter any of the furnishings, fixtures, appliances or locks provided by Columbia Residential. Residents in furnished units may request bed removal for medical reasons only; all such requests must be approved by the Office of Disability Services.
  • Any damage, whether intentional or accidental, should be reported to the superintendent and Columbia Residential. Damages to items or areas not reported to Columbia Residential will be considered the joint responsibility of all residents in the unit. 
  • For the safety and security of all residents and to keep your personal belongings secure, please keep your suite and/or apartment doors locked at all times. 
Estimated repair or replacement costs:
Sofas $550 - $650
Chairs $250 - $350
Tables $150 - $250
Desks $175 - $300
Chests $250 - $350
Wardrobe $440
Beds $190 - $250
Bed loft kit $50 - $250
Full/Queen sleeper unit cost of replacement
Hourly cleaning charges $50/hr, 2hr min.
Lockouts M-F 8AM-4PM No Charge 
Lockouts M-F after 4PM, weekends & holidays $50
Mailbox key $10 per key 
Apartment key  $15 per key 
New cylinder (incl new set of keys)  $150
Lobby door key  $25 
Laundry card $5 

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Trash and refuse must be disposed of in specified containers. Residents may not sweep or throw any dirt, garbage or other substances out of the windows or into any of the halls, elevators or elevator shafts. Carpets, rugs or other articles may not be hung or shaken out of any window of the building.

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Gas Service Interruptions & Safety

Residents who suspect that a gas leak has occurred should take the following actions:

  • Quickly open nearby doors and windows and then leave the building immediately. Do not attempt to locate the leak. Do not turn on or off any electrical appliances, do not smoke or light matches or lighters, and do not use a house phone or cell phone within the building.
  • After leaving the building, from a safe distance away from the building, call 911 immediately to report the suspected gas leak.
  • After calling 911, call the gas service provider for the building as follows:
    Con Edison - (800) 752-6633 

If Con Edison detects an issue in the building and they deem it necessary, they may shut down gas service to an entire building so that the issue can be addressed and repairs arranged. Columbia Residential takes such issues very seriously, and we work directly with Con Edison and the New York City Department of Buildings to make sure that safe and appropriate measures are taken to complete necessary repairs and restore service as soon as possible.

We recognize that those affected most significantly by building-wide gas service interruptions are our residents. We want you to know that we are committed to providing support during an outage to make your home as comfortable as possible until services can be safely restored. During a building-wide outage, here's what you can expect from Columbia Residential:

  • If the range/oven in the apartment is gas-powered, we will provide an electric hotplate for use until service is restored.
  • If a building-wide outage lasts longer than one week, residents affected will receive a 20% rent abatement each month until service is restored. At the end of each month, the credit for the previous month will be added to your rental account. The credit is prorated based on the number of days service is interrupted during that month.

Any repairs needed to restore service will be scheduled by Columbia Residential, and once repairs are completed, the work will be inspected by Con Edison and the New York City Department of Buildings. Unfortunately, repairs and required inspections may take several months or longer to complete. Please rest assured that our goal is always to move as safely and quickly as possible to restore the services we know you depend on in your homes.

For more information on necessary steps to restore gas after a service interruption, please review How Con Edison Responds to Outages. If you are experiencing a building-wide service interruption and you have questions or concerns, please contact your building's Director of Residential Services.

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Gender Neutral Housing 

Gender Neutral Housing allows students to reside with other students regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression. This option is intended for students who wish to share a room or apartment with other students who identify differently than themselves.

Columbia Residential is committed to increasing students' active decision-making and engagement in their housing environment, first through enabling self-selection of housing assignments and now through facilitating gender neutral housing. Offering a gender-inclusive housing option to all students allows increased choice in selecting housing.

Students interested in a gender neutral housing assignment must opt in. Those who do not opt in may select from units that are single-gender. The unit list will indicate whether a unit is single-gender or gender neutral.

In apartment shares, gender neutral housing requests may be accommodated in 2-bedroom apartments only; 3-bedroom apartments are not eligible. In dormitories, most suites are gender neutral, but rooms are single-gender. Columbia Residential discourages students who are in a romantic relationship, regardless of sex, gender, gender identity or gender expression, to live together in shared apartments or dormitories; students in romantic relationships are advised to apply for couple housing.

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Residents are permitted to host a guest overnight in their room or apartment if they remain in compliance with the Columbia Residential guest policy


  • Guests must always be accompanied by their host; guests may not access the building or apartment without their host present, and hosts may not give their keys to their guests.
  • Hosts must provide notice to their roommate(s)/suitemate(s) prior to the guest's arrival. Columbia Residential encourages roommates to communicate and complete a roommate agreement at the start of their roommate relationship, to make sure that all residents can express their preferences and agree on expectations of living together. For more information, review Roommate Rights, Responsibilities & Respect for Community.
  • Residents may not accept any payment, service, barter or other remuneration from a guest in exchange for the guest's ability to stay in a room or apartment. The University considers any such payment to be a violation of the housing agreement.
  • It is the expectation that residents do not host a guest for more than two nights. Residents with guests who stay for more than two nights must obtain written authorization from their roommates. Any resident who hosts a guest for more than two weeks will be issued a guest violation, which may require mediation and/or reporting to Student Conduct & Community Standards.
  • Guests must be accommodated in their host's room and are not allowed to sleep in empty bedrooms, lounges or public spaces.
  • Hosts are responsible for the actions of their guests during their stay. Guests must abide by all Columbia Residential policies, Federal, State and City laws.
  • Residents with concerns regarding guests should talk to the host, and then, if necessary, with Columbia Residential.
  • Failure to abide by the terms of the guest policy may result in guest privileges being revoked.
  • Columbia Residential, Public Safety and other University staff reserve the right to revoke a visitor's access to the building if the guest disturbs or creates any difficulties for other residents.
Residents of the following buildings must also abide by their building's guest policy, which may require additional approvals prior to hosting a guest:

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Heat & Hot Water 


Building owners are legally required to provide heat and hot water to their tenants. Hot water must be provided 365 days per year at a constant minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat must be provided between October 1st and May 31st, i.e. "Heat Season," under the following conditions:

Between the hours of 6:00am and 10:00pm, if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am, the inside temperature is required to be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit.

Each building has different devices that monitor both outside and inside temperatures to ensure 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.

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 inform your superintendent.

If you have no heat or hot water and a notice of service interruption has not been posted in the building, please contact the Facilities Service Center at (212) 854-2222.

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Internet, Phone & Cable TV

For many Columbia Residential properties, Ethernet service is provided by Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT). For more information on University Ethernet, including a list of buildings with Ethernet service, see CUIT ApartmentNet.

Tenants in all other units will need to contact an outside Internet service provider (e.g. SpectrumVerizon, etc.), through which phone and cable tv services are also available.

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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Card-operated laundry facilities are available to all residents, typically in the basement or adjacent building. Laundry and dryers are available to residents in the manner and at the times building staff or other representatives of Columbia Residential may direct.

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Lead Information

Local Law 1 of 2004 requires NYC landlords to identify and fix lead paint hazards in apartment where young children live. In buildings covered by Local Law 1, landlords must find out if any children younger than 6 years live in the building and inspect those apartments for lead paint hazards every year. Please review more information about Local Law 1.

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Maintenance Requests & Emergencies

Non-Emergency Maintenance Requests may be submitted online (UNI authentication required), or by calling the Facilities Service Center at (212) 854-2222.

Emergency Maintenance Requests should be submitted by calling (212) 854-2222. The Facilities Service Center is staffed 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

Directors of Residential Services are responsible for overseeing and ensuring the efficient operation of your building. They 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. 

Director Email Phone
Nelson Falcon nf36@columbia.edu (212) 854-9301
Dion Keene dk2974@columbia.edu
Jose A. Rosa jr2365@columbia.edu
Cathleen Ryder cr2238@columbia.edu
Nicole Thompson nt25@columbia.edu

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Mail & Packages

A resident's mailing address is their apartment address. Mail must be addressed directly to a resident to ensure that the carrier is able to complete delivery.

In buildings without a door attendant, please note that package delivery should be arranged for a time when the resident is available to receive it. Building staff are unable to receive packages for residents, as there is no secure package room in most buildings. For more information on steps you can take to keep your packages secure, please review Public Safety's tips. Mail and packages cannot be received for a resident prior to the move in date.

Columbia Residential cannot keep or forward mail received for former residents. Please contact USPS to arrange for mail forwarding after move-out. 

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Media & Filming

Filming is not permitted in Columbia Residential buildings, apartments, suites or any common areas.

Commercial filming, news, documentaries and student photography/film/video projects at some locations may be allowed only with prior approval by Columbia University Facilities & Operations. For more information, please contact us.

Members of the news media must adhere to University News Media and Filming Policy. Contact the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at 212-854-5573 for more information.

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Moving Bins

Residents may borrow a blue moving bin from the Columbia Residential office during regular office hours, Monday through Friday from 9 AM - 5 PM.

Because we have a very limited number, bins may be checked out for a maximum of 2 hours. All bins must be returned before 5 PM on the day they're checked out. Students must leave their ID at the Columbia Residential office while the bin is checked out.

Students will be billed $100 for failure to return the blue bin by the designated drop-off time. If a student loses a bin, the replacement cost ($350) will be billed to their student account.

To minimize rental time and prevent late fees, residents should sign out a bin only when they are completely packed and ready to move and return it as soon as they are finished. Kindly note, because we have a very limited number of bins, we cannot guarantee one will be available at any particular time.

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Moving In

For information on moving into your Columbia Residential unit, please visit Moving In.

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Moving Out

For information on moving out of your Columbia Residential unit, please visit Moving Out

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Residents have the right to live free from any excessive noise or interference, especially during evening/overnight hours. Residents should consider noise that can be heard outside of a room, suite or apartment and be prepared to reduce sound levels that are intrusive to other residents. For more information, please review the NYC Noise Code.

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Part-Time Enrollment

Per the Columbia Residential Eligibility policy, students must be enrolled full-time in a housing-eligible program to remain in housing. Students who drop below full-time status must vacate within 30 days.

Students may request an exception for part-time status once throughout their time in Columbia Residential. Requests are reviewed on a rolling basis until the final deadline for each semester (indicated below), and at the end of each month thereafter. Decisions will be sent by email by the end of the month.

Submit a Request

  • This request cannot be made during your first semester in housing. 
  • If you are planning to be enrolled part-time during your final semester, you cannot request a one-time exception any other semester during your time in housing. 
  • An official request must be submitted regardless of the semester you are requesting the part-time enrollment exception. 
  • You must be enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits to be considered for the exception.
  • Requests are reviewed and decisions sent within two weeks of the submission deadlines indicated below.
  • Students approved for the one-time exception may not be eligible for additional time in housing beyond what their program eligibility allows. Students should consult with their academic advisor prior to enrolling part-time to confirm that their time-to-degree will not be affected by one semester of part-time status.
  • Students approved for the one-time exception must be enrolled full-time in all future semesters in housing. Subsequent requests for a part-time exception will not be considered unless approved by the Office of Disability Services.
Submission Deadlines
Fall August 15, November 1
Spring December 15, March 1

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Pets are not permitted in Columbia Residential. Service and Assistance Animals must be approved by the Office of Disability Services before being allowed into housing. Residents at Teachers College New Residence Hall (517 West 121st Street) are also required to reach out to the TC Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (OASID) for additional approval for assistance or service animals.

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Public Access Ways 

Residents may not block or leave anything in or on fire escapes, sidewalks, entrances, driveways, elevators, stairways or halls. Public access ways may be used only for entering and leaving the unit and building. Baby carriages, bicycles or other property may not be left in halls, passageways, public areas or courts of the building.

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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 minimize the presence of vermin. Please tie up newspapers, magazines, and cardboard/flattened boxes when placing them in your building's designated disposal area. 


Re-fashionNYC clothing reuse bins are available in 18 Columbia Residential buildings. Residents can deposit clothes and other textiles for recycling in these bins, including towels, blankets, curtains, shoes, handbags, belts and other apparel. The Re-fashionNYC program then donates the clothing to charitable organizations, which helps New Yorkers in need and reduces useable waste that would otherwise go to landfills. In 2015 the top 17 buildings have recycled 55,000 pounds of textiles. Since the Re-Fashion program began in 2012 we have recycled over 174,700 pounds of textiles.


Recycling electronic equipment keeps harmful materials out of the waste stream and the environment. In 2015, it became illegal in New York City to dispose of electronic equipment in the regular trash. This includes televisions, computers and peripherals, and portable electronic equipment. Columbia Residential has partnered with the Department of Sanitation and currently has E-Cycle containers in various residential buildings that are used to recycle electronics. Please note that this program does not accept household appliances, loose batteries or light bulbs. For a comprehensive list of what can be placed in E-Cycle bins please visit NYC.GOV.

Organics Composting

Food waste collection bins are available in 18 Columbia Residential buildings.

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Religious Accommodation Requests

Columbia Residential is committed to providing a safe, inclusive and supportive experience for all students. We recognize student observance of their faith tradition may require provision for reasonable accommodation. We will work with students in an effort to meet their individual needs and will engage in an interactive process to determine reasonable accommodations.

To submit a request for accommodation based on religious observance, the following must be submited within 5 business days of submission of the housing application:

  • Religious Accommodation Request Form
    This form must be completed and signed by the student requesting accommodation AND the student's religious leader. Contact information for the religious leader must be included for follow-up.
  • Statement of Support from your Religious Leader
    This supporting documentation must be on the religious leader's organizational letterhead. The purpose of this letter is to affirm for the student's current and sincerely-held religious/faith practice and provide support for their request for reasonable accommodation.

Requests submitted after housing assignments have been made may not be able to be accommodated. If Columbia Residential becomes aware that false information was submitted on behalf of an applicant, we may not accept the forms or may cancel the housing contract. With any questions, please contact residential@columbia.edu.

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Renewing the Housing Agreement 

Most student housing agreements end May 31. Residents eligible to continue in housing will receive a renewal in April or May.

Residents in couple or family housing must complete the recertification process before becoming eligible to renew their housing agreement. 

Renewals are sent through DocuSign, and residents must sign the renewal upon receipt. Residents who fail to sign the renewal by the deadline must vacate housing by the end of the current agreement.

Once the signed renewal is processed by Columbia Residential, a copy of the agreement is automatically sent to the resident.

Kindly note, a rent increase (between 2-5%) goes into effect every June 1. 

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Renters Insurance

During your occupancy in Columbia Residential, it is important that you protect yourself financially against personal property losses by acquiring renters insurance. Renters insurance can provide you with coverage for damaged, lost or stolen personal items, as well as personal liability if that someone is injured in your apartment or you damage property that belongs to others. Renters insurance can also provide you with the financial means for acquiring temporary living facilities if your residency becomes uninhabitable due to severe weather damage or some other form of disaster. Some policies include off-premises coverage. This means that belongings taken outside of your home (phones, laptops, etc.) are covered against the same disasters as listed in your policy.

Columbia University does not offer renters insurance, but you can find information on how to determine your coverage, survey your items, and find a provider, by visiting the Insurance Information Institute

Residents are advised to purchase renters insurance to protect against personal property losses. Renters insurance can provide coverage for damaged, lost, or stolen personal items as well as personal liability (if someone is injured in your apartment or you damage property that belongs to others). Renters Insurance can also provide the financial means for acquiring temporary living facilities if your residency becomes uninhabitable due to severe weather damage or some other form of disaster. In accordance with the housing agreement, Columbia assumes no responsibility for residents' personal property while living in Columbia Residential. Insurance coverage is the responsibility of each individual student.

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Reservation Fee

A $1000 reservation deposit is required to accept a housing offer, payable by credit or debit card only. This deposit is credited to the Student Financial Services account after move-in and goes toward the first semester's housing charge.

If you accept an offer and later decide to not move into the unit, the reservation fee will not be returned unless Columbia Residential is notified in writing before move-in by the following deadlines:

FALL July 15
SPRING December 1

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Residency Verifications

Proof of residence may be requested for current or previous residents in Columbia housing. Requests must be received in writing, and only tenants of record may submit requests. Residents may request proof of residence for partners or family members who reside with them as long as their family members completed the Couple & Family Housing Compliance process.

To submit a request for a residency verification, please follow the instructions below:

Contract / Semester-Billed Housing Agreement
Most residents are billed on a contract/semester basis. Contact us to submit your request for a verification letter. Letters provided by Columbia Residential include dates of residence and rent amount only. Kindly note, because payments for housing are managed by Student Financial Services, Columbia Residential is not able to verify proof of payment or account status.

Lease / Monthly-Billed Housing Agreement
Residents who moved into leased units (prior to 2017) are billed through the Office of the Controller. Residency verifications that include dates of residence, rent amount and proof of payment must be requested directly from that office.

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Rooftop Access

Use of the roof of any Columbia Residential building for any purpose other than emergency evacuation is prohibited.

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Roommate Rights, Responsibilities, Respect for Community & Mediation

Roommates and suitemates have the right to:

  • equal access to the common areas of the apartment or suite. Common areas may not be used for storage, as a bedroom, or for the exclusive use of one resident.
  • cleanliness. All residents must keep their rooms and common areas clean, neat and uncluttered.
  • privacy and personal space. Residents should not enter the private rooms of their roommates or suitemates without their permission.
  • an environment free from any form of harassment.
  • the ability to speak openly.
  • an environment where one is treated considerately and thoughtfully.
  • address problems and concerns in a mature manner.
  • a living space free from any actions that interfere with their rights.
Residents experiencing roommate conflicts are encouraged to communicate in a calm and clear manner to address their concerns. Discuss personal habits, expectations and schedules, cleaning, purchasing common supplies, guests procedures, etc. Misunderstandings create stress and conflict, and communication is the first step at resolving such issues.

Residents who need assistance or advice on addressing community standards are encouraged to reach out to Columbia Residential to discuss options for mediation, the goal of which would be to directly address issues in a neutral environment and find a middle ground. Residents who request to transfer due to a roommate conflict must participate in mediation for their transfer request to be prioritized. Following mediation, there is a 30-day waiting period before a student becomes eligible for transfer priority.

Other Resources 

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Rugs & Floor Covering

Residents are responsible for providing area rugs that cover 80% of the floor area to comply with the terms of the rental agreement. Floor coverings help in reducing the amount of foot traffic and other noises in the apartment or room. Wall-to-wall carpeting may not be installed.

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Short-Term Housing Requests for Graduating Students

Columbia Residential understands that graduating students may need additional time in housing beyond the end of their affiliation with the University. To facilitate the transition out of student housing, Columbia Residential offers the option for graduating students to request additional time for short-term stays (fewer than 30 days) beyond the end of their housing agreement or affiliation.

**Law School residents interested in a housing extension for the New York Bar exam should review Bar Housing Extensions*** 


  • Residents whose affiliation with the University is ending may request up to 30 days beyond the expiration of their current agreement/affiliation
  • NOT ELIGIBLE: Residents with affiliations and agreements that end in any month other than May; residents in International House

Application | Closed as of 4/15/19. Due to overwhelming popularity, the program has reached capacity for this semester. The form will reopen and begin accepting submissions in February 2020.
  • Complete the Short-Term Housing Request form (closed)
  • Deadline to apply: 1 month prior to agreement end date.
    EX: Agreement ends May 31, must apply by April 30.
    Requests received after the deadline will not be considered.
  • Residents may request up to 30 days beyond the end of their agreement.
    EX: Agreement ends May 31, resident may request until June 30.
    Requests for more than 30 days will be automatically denied.
  • Only a limited number of requests may be approved, and submission of a request does not guarantee approval. If the program reaches capacity before the deadline to apply, the application form may close early.
  • Approved residents billed daily rate + rent increase + 20% premium for each additional day approved beyond agreement/affiliation end date.
Cancellations must be received in writing at residential@columbia.edu 
  • Cancellations received prior to end of original agreement: resident must vacate by end of the current agreement and will be billed for rent until the end of the current agreement.
  • Cancellations received during the approved short-term housing period: resident will be billed until approved date even if the resident vacates prior to the approved date.
  • Overstays: residents who remain in the unit beyond the approved date will be billed for additional days at the elevated rate + $1000 penalty fee.
  • Approval or denial notification will be sent to all applicants at the beginning of each month. 

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Any form of smoking, including the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookahs, e-cigarettes or vaporizers, is prohibited in student housing units. Please review the University Smoking Policy for more information. 

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For information on Columbia Residential subletting policies, please visit Subletting

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For information on transfers, please review Transferring

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Heat, hot water and trash removal are always included in rent. Electricity and cooking gas are included in rent for all apartment shares and dorimtory spaces and many single occupancy, couple & family units. Information about whether these utilities are included in your rent is available in the Housing Portal, in the housing assignment, and on your housing agreement.

Residents whose utilities (electricity and cooking gas) are NOT included in the rent must make arrangements with Con Edison for service within 72 hours of move-in. 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 us.

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Window Guards

NYC landlords are required by law to install child window guards in apartments where children less than ten years of age are living. If small children visit your apartment, window guards should be installed. If for some reason you did not receive a window guard notice, or if your circumstances with regard to resident or a visiting child change, please contact us

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