Guide to Living

Any policy violation or failure to comply with any staff request may result in action by GS Housing and/or conduct proceedings with the GS Dean of Students Office and/or conduct proceedings with the Columbia University Office of Judicial Affairs.

General Policies, Terms, and Conditions

An overview of all Columbia Residential Polices as listed in student contracts may be found on the Columbia Residential Website.

Most Columbia Residential units do not have central air conditioning. For information on installing a window unit, please refer to the memo you received when you signed your rental agreement, or contact your building superintendent.

Bed bug infestations can occur in any type of apartment. If you think you may have bedbugs in your unit, it is very important that you contact building staff immediately.

For further information on bed bugs, please review the Bed Bugs section of the Columbia Residential website.

For information regarding billing, leases, and contracts, please review the Billing section of the Facilities website.

Most residents who wish to have cable TV service should contact Spectrum.

GS students living at 600 West 113th Street must contact CUIT for cable TV service.

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

For further information, please review the Cancelling Your Housing section of the Facilities website.

Moving In
Instructions regarding a rental agreement signing appointments are sent via email prior to a student's move-in day. For more information, visit the Moving In section of the Facilities website.

Vacating Student Housing
Students who intend to vacate their room or apartment must provide notice to the Columbia Residential office at least 30 days prior to the planned vacancy date. A notice of vacancy may be submitted via the student housing portal. For more information on moving out, including penalties for breaking a rental agreement, please visit the Moving Out section of the Facilities website.

Students (and their partners) seeking Columbia housing must complete a Housing Compliance Form, which has two parts: Part A is to be completed online with the agreement, and Part B will be completed at the Columbia Residential office. Both partners and/or children (if applicable) will need to be present and complete the second part before they will be allowed to move in. To learn more, visit the Couple and Family Housing section of the Facilities website.

Common areas (living room, kitchen, bathroom, halls, studies, and extra closets, if any) are to be shared equally by all of the unit's residents. Common rooms may not be used for storage or for the exclusive use of one student/tenant. Each student should use their own telephone; a separate phone line is installed in each bedroom. Personal electronics kept in a student's bedroom will be less of a source of potential conflict than those kept in the common areas.

All roommates should make an effort to keep the common areas of the apartment clean, neat, and uncluttered. To avoid problems with vermin and insects, dishes should be washed immediately, and garbage should be removed daily. Students should clean up after themselves on a daily basis, and make a schedule indicating which roommate will do each large cleaning task (i.e., bathroom, kitchen, sweeping, etc.) weekly. Each building has specific garbage and recycling procedures. Students with questions about specific procedures for their building, including maintenance in the apartment, should contact their superintendent.

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

For further information, please review the Housing Policies section of the Facilities website.

“Live” holiday decorations such as wreaths or trees are prohibited.

No resident should engage in behavior that interferes with or compromises the personal safety or well-being of another. Behavior including, but not limited to, any practice that limits students’ rights of equal use and access to room/suite/hall facilities, is not permitted. Residents should not expose others to conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent. Additionally, throwing anything from windows or balconies is prohibited.

As a tenant in the building, residents will not engage in objectionable conduct. Objectionable conduct means behavior which makes, or will make, the apartment or the building less fit to live in for you or other residents. It also means anything which interferes with the right of others to properly and peacefully enjoy their apartments, or causes conditions that are dangerous, hazardous, unsanitary, or detrimental to other tenants in the building. Objectionable conduct gives Columbia Residential the right to end your lease agreement.

Any policy violation or failure to comply with any staff request may result in action by GS Housing and/or conduct proceedings with the GS Dean of Students Office and/or the Columbia University Office of Judicial Affairs.

Placing false alarms, interfering with proper function of a fire alarm system or any other system device, or tampering with or removing fire hoses, extinguishers, or other safety equipment is prohibited.

Candles, incense, and other types of open flames are prohibited.

Fixtures, appliances, and locks provided by the University may not be altered or removed by a resident, unless specific prior arrangements have been made with the University. The University reserves the right to limit the addition of use by residents of any furnishings, fixtures, appliances, or locks not provided by the University and to prohibit duplication of its keys by others.

For more information, please review the Housing Policies section of the Facilities website.

Having guests creates a situation of overcrowding, and causes unnecessary stress to fellow tenants by increasing the noise factor and denying fair use of common areas. Apartment shares are used to house single students only. Occasional overnight guests, staying for one or two nights, may be permissible if all roommates agree. Roommates should discuss the issue of guests and visitors and come to a common understanding and agreement. Spouses, partners, family members, and friends are strictly prohibited from sharing these accommodations with student tenants. Violation of this lease provision and Columbia Residential policy will result in termination of the lease and the student will no longer be eligible for University housing.

Students who would like to host visitors should discuss these plans with their roommate(s) well in advance.

GS Resident Advisors (RAs) provide relevant information and support to GS University Apartment Housing residents. For more information, students should review the Resident Advisor page and/or reach out to their RAs directly.

The superintendent issues each tenant a complete set of keys to the building/apartment. Keys may not be duplicated.

During normal working hours, there is no charge for lockouts, provided lockouts do not happen frequently. After 4 p.m., a charge of $30 will be posted to the student's rent or Student Financial Services (SFS) 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 the student's key, or if staff members are not available, the student must call a locksmith and pay them directly.

For more information, please review the Housing Policies section of the Facilities website.

Lease renewals are automatically sent to residents by Columbia Residential provided that the student will be enrolled for the next academic semester.

  • Students who pay rent by month should expect to receive their lease renewal forms in late April or early May

  • Students who pay rent by semester will receive information on renewing their contract by mail in late April or early May

Students with questions about their lease or lease extension should contact a representative of the Leasing Department at [email protected] or 212-854-9300. Students should indicate whether they are billed monthly (lease) or by semester (contract) so that Columbia Residential may direct their request accordingly.

For more information, please review the Tenant Information section of the Facilities website.

Residents should promptly notify building personnel of any hazardous or other conditions in the building requiring repair or maintenance. For superintendent contact information, please refer to the Columbia University Facilities Information Sheet that was provided when the rental agreement was signed. Residential Services Work Order Requests are also available in the lobby of most buildings.

For off-hour emergency maintenance issues, students should call the Facilities Services Center at 212-854-2222.

Excessive noise that disturbs other residents or neighbors is prohibited.

Students should discuss their working and sleeping hours with their roommate(s). All tenants have a right to a quiet room in which to study and rest.

Do not play loud music or watch television with high volume. We strongly recommend the use of headphones.

For information regarding the New York City noise laws, please review the Department of Environmental Protection's Noise Codes.

A resident may not paint or otherwise alter the assigned space unless written approval is obtained from the Operations Department of Columbia Residential.

Pets are strictly prohibited in Columbia Residential, except for service and assistance animals, and pets kept in aquaria. Students with service and/or assistance animals must be registered with the Office of Disability Services.

For further information regarding service and assistance animals, please review the Service and Assistance Animals Policy.

Public Safety: (212) 854-2797
Emergency: (212) 854-5555

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

Public Safety provides car and foot patrols for the entire Columbia Residential area, and maintains strategically-situated guard kiosks and 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 shuttles as well as escort services to locations throughout the neighborhood are available to all Columbia students.

For more information, please review the Tenant Information section of the Facilities website.

We encourage all residents to cooperate with Columbia's and New York City's recycling programs. Assistance in properly cleaning and separating recyclable material allows building personnel to devote more time to other needed tasks and helps keep buildings and neighborhoods 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 buildings.

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

For more information, please review the Tenant Information section of the Facilities website.

For information on the room assignment and transfer processes, review the Facilities website.

Use of the roof of the building for any purpose other than emergency evacuation is prohibited, and throwing anything from windows or balconies is prohibited.

Sexual Violence Response (SVR) provides comprehensive and integrated education about sexual and intimate partner violence. Through innovative programming and community collaboration, SVR empowers students to heal from sexual violence, make informed decisions, and take action to end sexual and intimate partner violence.

To report an incident or for further information please visit Columbia's online portal about Sexual Respect.

Smoking is prohibited in specific Columbia Residential buildings. For more information contact [email protected] or call 212-854-9300.

Affiliates living in Columbia Residential housing may apply for permission to sublet their housing unit. For summer sublets, students are eligible to sublet their room or apartment beyond May 31, once the lease or contract is renewed. For more information, please review the Facilities website.

Note: Due to a new New York State law, effective April 1, 2015, students may no longer sublet for time periods less than 30 days. 

Any type of weapon, including firearms, explosives, flammables, air pistols, BB guns, or fireworks, is prohibited. University policy and New York Penal Law Section 265.01(3) prohibit possession of firearms on campus without the University's written authorization from the Vice President of Public Safety.

The University's prohibition against possession of firearms on campus extends to all University owned or controlled locations used for residences of affiliated persons, including all housing obtained through the Office of Housing Services and Columbia Residential. Firearms possessed in violation of this University policy will be confiscated. Violators of the policy may be subject to University discipline as well as criminal prosecution.

For more information, please review the University Policy on Possession of Firearms on Campus.

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 a resident or visiting child change, please contact your superintendent or Columbia Residential immediately.

For more information, please review the Facilities website.

Residents are responsible for the rent throughout the term of their lease, including the summer months. Students may wish to make arrangements to sublet their apartment if they expect to be out of town for 30 days or more.