Tenant Information

Tenant Information

General Information


Building Operations and Maintenance

Telephone Numbers Referenced on This Page 


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 ittems, as well as personal liability in the event that someone is injured in your apartment or you damage property that belongs to otherss. Renters insurance can also provide you with the financial means for acquiring temporary living facilities in the event that 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's website.

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 (in the event that 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 in the event that 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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You are responsible for making arrangements with Con Edison for service If charges for gas and electric are NOT included in your rent. 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 us.

If the apartment is shared with other Columbia Residential tenants, please communicate with them. Utility service may have already been established for the apartment.

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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 Spectrum at (855) 243-8892.  

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Most residents who wish to have cable TV service should contact Spectrum at (855) 243-8892.

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 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 the CUIT website.

Tenants in all other units will need to contact an outside Internet service provider (e.g. Spectrum, Verizon, etc.) . For more information on computing and e-mail at Columbia, please visit CUIT.

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

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Residents are responsible for providing rugs that cover 80 percent 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.

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Pets are strictly prohibited in Columbia Residential, 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 unit.

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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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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 31st. Students who are eligible to remain in housing will receive a contract renewal commencing June 1st with a standard annual 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 housing 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 housing 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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Emergency Contact Information

In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, all students residing in on-campus 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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Occupancy Agreement - Beginning May 2017, all students moving into Columbia Residential sign an occupancy agreement and are billed for housing through Student Financial Services. Housing is billed on a semester basis, though SFS offers a monthly payment plan. 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.

Leases - Students who moved into Columbia Residential prior to May 2017 may have received 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.

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Failure to provide proper and timely notice of your move out may cause you to continue to remain liable for payment of rent and may result in a financial penalty. You are billed until all personal items are removed and keys are returned to your superintendent.

Important Instructions

  • Notify Columbia Residential via  the Housing Portal. Log in and select the "Moving Out" tab.
  • Contact your superintendent to discuss your building's specific move-out procedure.
    *Lionsgate (520 West 112th Street) tenants must follow procedures outlined in the
    Lionsgate Move In/Move Out Procedures
  • Remove all personal belongings from the unit.
  • Clean unit: empty refrigerators and cabinets, remove all trash and sweep all floors.
  • File your forwarding address with the United States Postal Service
  • If applicable, officially disconnect utilities with Con Edison and cable services with Spectrum.
  • Return all keys to your superintendent before 4 PM on the day you move out. You will be billed until the day keys are returned.

Moving Hours

Move outs and key returns should be scheduled during business hours: Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 4 PM (excluding holidays). Please note, move outs and key returns that happen outside of business hours will result in a charge of $50 per hour.


If you would like to schedule an inspection of your unit before you move out, please contact your superintendent directly.

Reapplying for Housing

If you would like to apply for housing in the future, you must submit a new application through your housing portal. Kindly note, housing is not guaranteed for continuing students.

Breaking Your Housing Agreement


Student housing contracts may be broken without penalty for the following reasons:

  • Your affiliation is expiring;
  • You will be taking an approved medical leave of absence;
  • You will be transferring to another Columbia Residential unit. 
If you are moving out for any other reason, contact us.

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After you move out, 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 result in a financial penalty.

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

Leased Housing (rent paid monthly by check) 
- Students who sign leases pay security deposits that are held by a bank, and refunds take up to 60 days to process. Security deposits are mailed to the forwarding address listed in your move out notice after your unit has been confirmed vacant and keys returned to your Superintendent.

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Routine 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 is provided when rental agreements are signed and is also posted at buildings. Any necessary repairs will be performed directly by your superintendent, building personnel or by a contractor, such as a plumber or an electrician.


If you have a maintenance problem or request, please submit a service request or call 212-854-2222.


  • MAINTENANCE PROBLEM DURING BUSINESS HOURS If you have a serious leak or other maintenance emergency, please contact your Superintendent. In most buildings, superintendents are on duty from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. 
  • AFTER HOURS OR IF YOUR SUPER IS UNAVAILABLE If you have an emergency or urgent problem, please call the Facilities Service Center at (212) 854-2222. This 24 hour telephone service is designed to handle emergencies and urgent maintenance problems, including problems with heat or hot water, floods, plumbing leaks (not slowly dripping faucets), elevator problems, etc.

See also Department of Public Safety .

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The superintendent for your building is directly responsible for the maintenance and operation of your building and its systems. Responsibilities include building 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 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 through Friday.

Contact information for the superintendent of your building was provided at the time your rental agreement was signed. 

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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.

Email  Phone 
Nelson Falcon
(212) 854-9301
Dion Keene
Jose A. Rosa
Cathleen Ryder
Nicole Thompson

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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 follow the procedures for Emergencies and Urgent Off-Hour Problems.

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

Lockouts & Key Replacements

During normal working hours, there is no charge for lockouts, provided lockouts do not happen frequently. After 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday or anytime on weekends, a charge of $50.00 will be posted to your rent account. 

Should you lose or damage your keys and need replacements, you will be charged $10 per mail key, $15 per apartment key, $25 per key fob, or $150 if installation of a new cylinder is required.


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.


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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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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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 the Director of Residential Services for your building.

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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 Columbia Residential 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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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 when putting them out for pickup.


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 also 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.

See the list of Columbia Residential buildings with Re-fashionNYC bins available.


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

See the list of Columbia Residential buildings with E-Cycle containers available

Organics Composting

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

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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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The University takes special measures to provide a secure living environment for all its residents. Most Columbia Residential 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 Columbia Residential 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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Columbia Residential 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

Verizon Telephone/DSL service  (212) 890-2350 

Spectrum (Cable TV/Internet Service)

 (855) 243-8892  

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